A good idea – but one that needs careful monitoring

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Urging drivers to ditch cars and vans for greener transport can hardly be argued against.

So the city council’s initiative to attach a £510 price tag to a third parking permit is perhaps welcome.

The thinking most likely assumes the fee will present as a no-brainer decision, with businesses and residents opting to save the cash and survive without a third vehicle. But, as we report today and revealed yesterday, parking zones are set to change.

Scrutiny panel members are taking a look at the issue, which deputy leader Luke Stubbs says is one of the biggest the city faces, while council officers are reviewing schemes. That project will take until 2020 to complete.

While just 139 households currently pay for a third permit in existing zones, that number could rise if schemes are brought back in or new ones are created.

Fewer cars and vans on the roads is surely vital for this busy but space-restricted city.

The council’s own report into the price hike warns: ‘With increasing pressure on residents’ parking zones this number is not sustainable in the longer term as it reduces the overall capacity within the zones.’

Driving around trying to find a space in your street, before turning to scouring neighbouring streets, and finally desperately looking for a 14ft gap in your neighbourhood, can be, as most will know, incredibly frustrating. Anything to reduce this is good.

Yet the new cost of a third permit may have unintended consequences.

Moving out of the family home is now tough for young adults, who are struggling to save for a mortgage or agency fees.

Many in those situations will be living almost separate lives under the same roof as their parents.

So to sting the family with a £510 fee to park in their neighbourhood may be counter-productive.

Forking out for a first permit – for which a £30 charge only recently came into force – and £60 for a second now looks like small fry compared to the new cost. So while the initiative is welcome, we urge the council to keep a careful eye on the impact on the ground.