Tuesday, April 3, 2018

News: Free parking being introduced near Rotherham Markets

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Free parking spaces are being provided on Drummond Street, between Tesco and the markets complex, under new proposals from Rotherham Council.

Rothbiz has been reporting on how the local authority plans to support existing businesses as they wait for the catalyst projects in the new masterplan to revive the town centre.

These include parking incentives, the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), marketing and promotion and opportunities for "meanwhile uses," window/frontage treatments and potential free Wi-Fi.

New parking incentives have recently been introduced, but the authority has stopped short of offering free parking across the board.

The latest move will see half the current free "red zone" spaces provided in Forge Island transferred to the Council's car park at Drummond Street.

The move comes as contractors QSP Construction Group begin work at Forge Island on a new, temporary bus station for the town. It will provide 12 stands and a covered waiting area for passengers along with new bus stands and shelters located on Corporation Street and Market Place.

The nearby Rotherham Interchange is undergoing a £12m revamp and bus services will cease to use the current interchange this month. Long term plans for Forge Island are for a £40m leisure mixed-use development that could accommodate a cinema, hotel, restaurants and bars, town centre parking, as well as high quality business space and modern residential opportunities.

The Council says that the temporary move has led to a surge in interest in vacant shop units around Corporation Street.

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The Drummond Street "red zone" will be similar to the existing free parking area in Forge Island car park, where customers are entitled to one session of two hours free parking per day in a limited number of parking bays.

The new arrangements will see a split of 36 free parking bays in Drummond Street, with 35 free spaces in Forge Island.

Parking fees have been frozen and previously introduced offers see visitors claim two hours free parking at the expiration of a two hour session purchased in some town centre Council operated off-street car parks on Saturdays.

Parking restrictions were put in place by Tesco at its Tesco Extra store on Drummond Street in 2017. Users here wanting to park for over 30 minutes have to spend £5 in the store and register their vehicle.

Damien Wilson, strategic director for regeneration and environment at Rotherham Council, believs the proposal would give a boost to the other side of the town centre and address concerns from traders in that area.

He said: "We have listened to what traders and businesses have told us and feel now is the right time to offer some free parking in that part of the town centre, particularly following the parking restrictions introduced by Tesco recently.

"There will still be some free parking on offer in Forge Island of course. With the temporary bus station opening there shortly, we have seen a renewed interest in the Corporation Street area with a number of vacant units being let as a result.

"We hope this new move will help local people and businesses benefit from our growing economy at a time of some exciting developments."

Images: Google Maps

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