COUNCILLORS tonight unanimously agreed to call for a report on how parking charging schemes can be made “fairer” for residents.

A motion moved by Labour cabinet member Geraldine Reardon, and agreed by members from all political groupings, asks a report to be drawn up to consider reducing charges for first car permits.

It will also look at scrapping charges for visitor permits and ring-fencing cash made from controlled parking zones (CPZ) to be spent in the immediate area of the zones.

The council has also asked Cllr Terry Wheeler, investment cabinet member, to investigate how the authority can allow more casual customer parking to help small businesses.

Cllr Reardon said: “We do need to re-examine the way the council charges for CPZ.

“We do have a problem with over-parking but in some areas residents are hit three times.

“They have the problem with the inconvenience and pollution caused by too many vehicles, then they have to pay for their permit and visitors permit, and then having paid for the permits there is no guarantee the income will benefit their area.”

The Lib Dems successfully amended the motion to ensure any report will include details of how any reduction in charges will be paid for.

Tonight’s decision follows criticisms of the council for hiking up parking fees in recent years.

The Conservative group has over the past few years continually called for the authority to change its parking policy.

Cllr Matt Davis, Conservative group leader, tonight said: “You can all tell when an election’s coming, can’t you?

“This is the third motion like this which has come to full council, the first two were from our group and were completely ignored.”

CPZ 12-month residential permit charges vary according to the size of a vehicle’s engine and location.

First vehicle permit prices range from £22.50 to £95, with second permits £42 to £170 and third permits £55 to £225.

A book of visitor 30 one hour visitor permits is £15.