Plans to introduce a huge new residential parking system around the Etihad have angered Manchester City fans – who say many of the streets included are in industrial areas and business parks where no one lives . On match days, hundreds of City fans park on the roads of Briscoe Lane and Lord Street North, which are largely surrounded by commercial property or lined with green space.
But, under the council’s new proposal, those streets would be restricted with residences. Kevin Parker, secretary of the Manchester City Official Supporters Club, said: “A scheme that protects parking spaces for residents, we would understand that, but if they change the restrictions around non-residential areas, in commercial or industrial areas, for no good reason, it would seem unfair.”
Parking restrictions are already in place in many housing estates around the Etihad. But the council is considering creating a comprehensive new program for the Eastlands. This was partly prompted by the construction of the £350m Co-op Live arena, which is set to become the largest indoor venue in the UK, with a capacity of 23,500.
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During the consultation period for the arena plans, parking was one of the biggest issues raised by residents of the surrounding areas. They feared dozens more events a year would see the streets outside their homes used as free parking for visitors.
Residents of Beswick who Manchester Evening News spoke at a City game last month said the parking situation was already a ‘nightmare’ and explained how they had resorted to putting wheelie bins in the road outside their homes to keep fans out to park. Under the proposed regime, the restrictions would apply every day of the week.
Some streets would only allow permit holders to park between noon and 11 p.m., while others would limit stays to a maximum of 90 minutes during those hours. Mr Parker said parking on the ground was already difficult for many fans and he feared the new scheme would make matters worse.
He added: “We know that parking has been reduced in the area around the stadium due to the development of the new arena. At the start of the season we had a meeting with the club and they said the number of places parking space around the stadium has been reduced by 20%, but the number of cars wanting to park has increased by 5%.
“They’ve improved daytime parking to some extent. At one point people had seasonal parking, but they weren’t sure if it was used weekly, or if the spaces were left empty, so now it’s is on a game-by-game basis. This has improved things, but it’s still a challenge to find a parking spot.
On the Blue Moon fan forum, supporters have also raised their concerns. JazzyBlue said: “I can understand people not wanting to clog the estates and terraced streets in Ancoats, Beswick, Miles Platting but hang out in the lanes around Clayton Vale, Phillips Park almost to the Newton border Heath, etc. are not the best.”
BandofBlues wrote: “Do they expect 50,000 fans to have to descend on Manchester City Center via various routes and methods each match day so they can all then walk to the ground or do they expect- they have everyone squeeze in a few tube carriages and one so it will have to be public transport to Manchester city center which actually travels the wrong direction for anyone coming from many parts of Manchester , followed by a 2 mile walk to the Etihad and back?”
A consultation on the plans for the parking system is now complete. A spokesperson for Manchester Council said: “A wide-ranging consultation has been carried out to ask a wide range of people their views on the Residents’ Car Park scheme. Through this consultation, the council hopes to gain insight Resident and business priorities for game day and event parking.
“Council cannot comment in further detail as the results of the consultation are still being analysed, however any comments gathered during this will be used to inform council’s future plans for this parking scheme. .”
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