COUNCILLORS are set to review on-street parking schemes across Dorset.

A policy development panel set up by Dorset County Council examined the issue following feedback from towns that were being considered for the scheme.

And now a new set of criteria will be used to consider whether on-street parking is right for an area, on a case-by-case basis.

The county council is responsible for all public roads, streets and pavements, except for the major trunk roads that are managed by the Highways Agency.

The council claims on-street parking schemes can help to reduce congestion and increase the number of spaces available for visitors in busy town centres.

The cross-party panel of councillors established that there were benefits from well designed schemes in appropriate locations.

But they have agreed a number of principles for the county council to use when looking to apply on-street pay and display parking in a particular area.

The main condition is that paying for parking on the street will be used only when there is a clearly defined problem to solve. This could be traffic congestion, or issues with the availability of parking in the town.

Another key step is to make sure that local communities and councils are involved in the process, and that their needs and concerns are met by the scheme.

Cllr Bill Trite, chairman of the policy development panel, said: “On-street pay and display will not be introduced purely as a source of income for the council. There must be a distinct problem to solve, where pay and display would be an appropriate solution.

“To produce a scheme that solves a local issue, we need to understand local needs, conditions and concerns. One size does not fit all.”

Each scheme will be reviewed after a year to make sure it has achieved the desired result. Alterations can be made at this stage to fine tune the scheme.

Towns will now be evaluated and prioritised using this new set of criteria.

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