Friday, January 8, 2016

News: Parking charges set to go up in Rotherham town centre

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Some parking charges in Rotherham town centre could double as the Council considers how to find more than £40m of budget savings over the next three years.

A number of budget saving ideas and ways to increase income are currently going through Council channels as the Authority prepares its budget for next year and beyond. The latest proposals includes those put forward by Parking Services.

The Council has been looking at the issue of parking in relation to the local economy and businesses located in the town centre. Rotherham is a Portas Pilot town and one of the key recommendations in the Mary Portas High Street Review was that high streets and town centres should have the flexibility to introduce local parking initiatives to boost trade. This is particularly pertinent to Rotherham, given the proximity to Parkgate and Meadowhall, both of which have a free parking offer.

A number of parking intiatives have been introduced in recent years in an effort to support the businesses in the town centre. The Council again offered free parking on Saturdays in the run up to Christmas and free, limited stay parking is continuing on Forge Island.

The latest proposals include amending parking charges in the town centre to generate additional income in order to help ensure a more self-financing Parking Service which currently has an "underlying budget pressure" of £137,000.

Two options have been outlined in reports for discussion by councillors and commissioners. Both include increases to some on-street and off-street car parking charges.

If approved, on-street charges would increase by 50p so that 30 mins would go up to £1, an hour would be £1.50 and two hours would be £3.

In Council-owned car parks, charges would be amended so that two hours would increase from £1.20 to £1.50 but longer stay charges would go down. Four hours currently costs £2.80 but this would decrease to £2. All day parking would be almost halved, coming down from £6.50 to £3.50.

This option would boost Council coffers by £130,000 but would still not make the service self-financing.

In meetings with the Council, town centre businesses indicated support for tariff increases only on the basis that this could fund free Saturday parking.

The second option includes the same proposed amended charges but a proportion of the increased income (£55,000) would then be used to offer free Saturday parking aimed at shoppers using Council car parks.

An impact statement in the report states: "An increase in parking charges could potentially reduce the number of visitors to the town centre which could then impact on economic regeneration ambitions. A reduction in medium and long stay tariffs may mitigate this.

"Although parking charges have not increased in the last six years, the proposals are based upon the perceived maximum price increases when considering the tariffs being offered by local private competitors and neighbouring local authorities."

The Council estimates that even a 10% reduction in the number of vehicular visits to the town centre could equate to around 200,000 potential customers.

A report to the Council at the end of 2015 said that introducing free parking across the board would "probably" boost trade in Rotherham town centre, but if it was introduced, a £400,000 surplus generated for the Council would turn into a deficit of approximately £500,000.

Images: Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions

5 comments:

Anonymous,  January 8, 2016 at 11:53 AM  

People will complain but I go in to town at least once a week and I haven't paid for parking for years. Everything I need is two minutes from Tesco or Forge Island where parking is free.

Anonymous,  January 9, 2016 at 12:43 PM  

As for Tesco free parking , this will be changing soon as it is for "Tesco customers only" and for the last few months Tesco have been displaying boards saying " For Tesco customers only " they have worked out that the number of cars parking does not match up to people shopping in store and I think its a good idea to bring a pay & display meter and when you have done your shopping you give them your ticket and get refunded for the parking, this has worked at other Tesco stores I've been to and stops people abusing it. Nothing worse then spending 10-15 mins to find a spot because someone else is abusing it and hopefully this will stop the non disable badge holders parking up in the bays as they employ a warden, Rant over .

Tom,  January 11, 2016 at 9:13 AM  

I've seen the "parking for customers only" boards at Tesco but the applicants had to put a car parking plan together that included details of "the availability of 2 hours free parking for customers and non customers of the store" in order to get planning permission.

Anonymous,  January 11, 2016 at 9:53 AM  

In any case, parking fines issued by Tesco are unenforceable. This applies to any ticket or fine issued by anyone other than police or local authorities.

You might get the letters and the threats but it won't end up in court.

Google it.

Colin Tawn January 21, 2016 at 9:53 PM  

"In any case, parking fines issued by Tesco are unenforceable"

Tesco do not issue 'fines'

Google it.

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