The authorities are planning to hold a meeting with mayors to discuss residents’ parking schemes, Transport Minister Chris Bonett said on Monday.

He said fresh interest in such parking schemes was raised after a pilot scheme was introduced for several streets in Gudja, near the airport, where residents had complained about travellers leaving their cars there for many days while they went abroad.

The minister said that once the local councils were reconstituted, a meeting would be held with them to discuss parking schemes. He stressed that parking schemes would only be considered for localities which indicated particular, justifiable reasons.

“There will be no blanket parking schemes," he stressed.  

The Resident Priority Parking in Gudja was introduced last week. Non-residents are only being allowed to park in particular streets between 7am and 8pm.

Nationalist MP Mark Anthony Sammut described the Gudja scheme as "a mess" and residents were up in arms about it. This amounted to a curfew, with residents needing to send any visitors away before 8pm.

Sammut asked who the government had consulted since the council was not.

The minister replied that if the MP considered this to be a mess, he should not have applied for a permit to park. The authorities, he said, had consulted and heeded the people whereas other governments ignored them for the past 14 years. He acknowledged it was not a perfect scheme, and said it could be improved.

Parking schemes have long been controversial. In 2013, then Transport Minister Joe Mizzi said that an analysis into Residents' Parking Schemes indicated that they should be abolished.

In 2016, the Sliema council filed a judicial protest after it was stopped from running its own residential parking scheme back in 2013 a few days into its introduction.

In 2007, a court ruled against reserved parking zones for residents saying it was ultra vires the powers of local councils.

But in 2016 the Constitutional Court gave such zones the green light, ruling that they were not discriminatory.

This was the bone of contention in a hard-fought, drawn-out legal battle embarked upon by a Swieqi couple in 2002 when they received a ticket for parking their car in a bay reserved for Pietà residents only.

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