Tuesday, January 26, 2016

News: Free parking set to continue at Forge Island

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With parking charge increases on the way, free parking is to continue at the Forge Island car park in Rotherham town centre, the Council has confirmed.

Rothbiz revealed in November that following the busy festive period, the popular free parking initiative would be continued, with a few refinements. Further free parking initiatives could be on the cards.

Pay and display parking on the site began in November 2014 following the closure of the Tesco store. Operated by the Council, the car park, which has 309 parking bays, also includes free, limited stay parking in the 70 parking bays which form the "Red Zone."

The free parking is now set to continue into 2016: all day at weekends and for two hours in the car park's "red zone" on weekdays. The changes start from next week in a bid to reduce the opportunities for employees and visitors to the Council offices to use the free bays to the detriment of availability to shoppers.

Cllr. Denise Lelliott, Advisory Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy at Rotherham Council, said: "I'm pleased to say that we can continue to offer free parking to Town Centre shoppers at this convenient location.

"The only change we've made is on weekdays, where we will reduce the maximum stay to two hours – this is to allow a quicker turnover of spaces and ensure that local shoppers and our Town Centre retailers get the full benefit from the 70 red zone bays.

"Following Rotherham's recent success in the Great British High Street competition, I hope we can encourage even more people to come along and find out what the town has to offer."

Rothbiz also revealed first that proposals are being put forward to increase parking charges in Council car parks in the town centre. 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.

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

£55,000 of the expected £130,000 of increased income is expected to be used to offer free Saturday parking aimed at shoppers using Council car parks.

The full range of budget proposals will be considered by Full Council at its budget-setting meeting in March.

Rotherham Council, which has been in discussions to acquire Forge Island, had earmarked it as the preferred site for a town centre cinema and theatre development but has been in discussions with developer, Evans regarding a potential office campus that would bring 2,000 new jobs to the town. A Council decision on the site was deferred in December in order that further investigations and information could be received.

Rotherham town centre website

Images: RMBC

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