Tuesday, September 2, 2014

News: Council's car park plan for Forge Island


Rotherham Council is planning to operate Forge Island, the site of the current Tesco store in the town centre, as an off street car park with free short stay parking spaces for shoppers.

Rothbiz revealed last week that the Council's cabinet is set to discuss the strategic acquisition of the site and outline its "short term use to support the town centre and its future redevelopment."

In 2012, the council's cabinet confirmed Forge Island as the preferred site for a town centre cinema and theatre development. The council has an option to buy the site for £1.5m when Tesco vacate and move across town to the site of former council buildings on Drummond Street.

Even before gaining official approval to acquire the site, the council has already given notice of its intent to amend traffic orders and introduce an off street car park on Forge Island, regulated by themselves, to serve as a "Free" and "Pay and Display" car park.

The plan includes a maximum of 70 spaces which will be free for up to an hour with the rest of the spaces available for two hours costing £1, four hours costing £2 and ten hours at £3.

Operating between 8am and 6pm, the planned car park will eventually result in free short stay car parking for shoppers at both ends of the town centre. The current Tesco store has around 300 parking spaces which are free to use for two hours and planners ensured that the new £40m Tesco Extra, which is set to open in November with 540 spaces, will provide free parking for two hours on the site for customers and non-customers.

The Forge Island site, so called as it was home to the Rotherham Forge & Rolling Mills, was severely affected by flooding in 2007 before flood alleviation work was completed. As well as providing spaces for shoppers, it should also provide spaces for workers and visitors to the nearby offices at Riverside House.

A key issue for traditional high streets, retail guru Mary Portas recommended in her report for the Government that local areas should implement free controlled parking schemes that work for their town centres. She said in the 2011 report: "I understand that to offer free parking all day is not the solution. I recognise that this would be potentially open to abuse by local workers and I want more free car parking spaces to be the privilege of local shoppers.

"To go head to head with the out-of-town offering, high streets need to have a more flexible, well communicated parking offer."

The new car park is not the only initiative in Rotherham, which is a Portas Pilot town. Parking Scratch Cards are also currently available for retailers to purchase from Rotherham Council offering two hours parking in designated off-street car parks and can be offered to shoppers to use on their next visit in exchange for their loyalty or based on a minimum spend in store.

The cards are intended as an incentive for shoppers to make a return visit to the town centre. The shopper simply brings it with them on their next visit, scratches off the date and time and enjoys two hours free parking in designated car-parks.

The scheme is currently being trialled and the town team believes that it has potential to be rolled across the whole town centre.

Previous Council schemes have included free Saturday parking during the busy festive period and "Free after Three" afternoon parking.

Rotherham town centre website

Images: Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions


David A,  September 3, 2014 at 1:40 PM  

£3 for ten hours parking in the wider world is a bargain. I would charge more than that for someone to use my driveway. It'll get used by commuters or is that the idea? The council should put a five hour limit on use or shoppers will be unable to use it except at weekends. It will be full by 8am. Won't it be cheaper than the station?

Anonymous,  September 6, 2014 at 1:23 AM  

So still no Cinema for Rotherham, a town with a population of 260,000, most of the Pubs & Clubs shut down, extortionate rents charged on retail units, This town is becoming a joke.

Anonymous,  January 7, 2015 at 12:16 PM  

what is happening to the old Tesco building?

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