RESIDENTS living in Stourbridge's Old Quarter and surrounding streets face having to pay nearly £100 to park outside their own homes if plans to introduce a parking permit scheme get the green light.
Dudley Council wants to roll out a 12-month residents' parking scheme in 45 congested side streets to stop visitors and workers using them for parking rather than the pay and display town car parks.
Council chiefs say the scheme would initially run for 12 months on a trial basis but the pilot will only get underway if 80 per cent of residents in the Old Quarter support the idea.
Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley's Conservative Party, however, believes people will be quick to put the brakes on the plan which he has branded a "PR stunt" and "another way to get more money out of residents" as it would cost householders £95 per permit, up to a maximum of two, for the perk of 24-hour parking in their own street.
He slammed the cost of the scheme as "appalling" and added: “I can’t see people wanting to pay nearly £100 for the privilege of parking outside their own properties. Maybe if it was about £30 a year fee to cover administration costs but not nearly £100. It's ridiculous.
“If you’ve got another car that’s almost another £100.
"They’re not offering a solution to parking problems in the Old Quarter of Stourbridge.
“I think a better scheme would be to have an overall look at our parking strategy - looking at long term and short term parking and enforcement.
"We already know what the answer to this consultation is going to be. It’s another example of Labour constantly wasting money."
Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, the borough's cabinet member for transport, however, said the consultation costs would be "minimal" and is urging residents to ensure they have their say.
He said: "This consultation will allow us to look at ways of improving parking availability for residents and we will be issuing letters about this shortly.
“It’s essential that residents respond to the survey, as we require an 80 per cent uptake in order for the scheme to be viable and implemented.”
If the scheme is adopted - blue badge holders with disabled spaces would be able to keep their existing parking space but would have buy a permit to use the designated parking area.
Cllr Ahmed said the the cost of the 12-month permit would fund the installation of road markings and signs as well as enforcement officer patrols but he stressed it was not a "revenue generating exercise".
As part of the scheme which he described as "cost neutral" - householders would also be able to buy two-hour, day-long and week-long visitor parking passes for friends and family -in books ranging from £10 to £22.50.
Any motorists caught parking in designated residents' areas without a permit would be hit with a fine.
The scheme, which was drawn up after Wollaston and Stourbridge councillors highlighted concerns about parking in the Old Quarter, could be rolled out this summer if residents vote to go ahead with the trial.
But cllr Ahmed stressed "it's not compulsory", adding: "I'm merely responding to the concerns of residents. It's up to them if they accept or reject it."
Streets to be consulted are:
Bowling Green Road, Charles Road, Swan Street, Borough Crescent, Lawn Avenue, Mamble Road, Unwin Crescent, Cathcart Road Kohima Drive, Maypole Drive, Agenoria Drive, Green Street, Brook Street, Clark Street, Cleveland Street, Clifton Street, Cross Street, Hemmings Close, Cecil Street, Wheeler Street, West Street, Albert Street, Beale Street, Western Road, Heathfield Gardens, South Avenue, Hill Street, Baylie Street, Greenfield Avenue, Bernwall Close, Heath Street, Pargeter Street, Oxford Drive, Faulkner Close, Worcester Street, Short Street, Hemplands Road, Park Street, Chapel Street, Hanbury Hill, College Road, Pepper Hill, Union Street, Prospect Hill and Danford Close.
Meanwhile plans are also afoot to introduce a similar scheme on streets outside the borough's main hospital.
Residents in 13 streets around Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital will be asked whether they wish to take part in a trial permit-parking scheme which aims to solve the problem of hospital-bound motorists clogging up surrounding residential streets.