DORSET County Council has started to gather evidence about parking problems in its town centres – six months after announcing it wanted to charge for on-street parking The authority has sent a questionnaire to town, district and borough councils who were given seven working days to respond.

The proposal, announced last August, to charge motorists for on-street parking in Lyme Regis and Bridport, caused a storm of protest. Faced with such strong opposition the county agreed in October to go away and think again. A policy panel is now considering on-street pay and display parking and has sent out a questionnaire as part of an informal consultation with councils and businesses.

A Dorset County Council spokesman said the panel was looking at whether the scheme could help with congestion.

He said: “Feedback from this survey will be considered by the panel at its next meeting in March and used to help write an informative report to go to the county council’s cabinet in April.”

Sarah Price, county council senior traffic engineering technical officer, said the questionnaire did not imply on-street pay and display is to be installed.

She said: “On-street pay and display is only one measure that the county council can use to assist communities maintain the vitality of their centres, but the results will help inform the panel of issues that may be impacting on the attractiveness of town centres for residents and visitors.”