Business concerns over Camberley Pay & Display

This is an article in yesterday’s Surrey Advertiser, Business concerns over Camberley Pay & Display.

PLANS to change how motorists pay to use two Camberley multi-storey car parks have been put on hold for further consultation.

Surrey Heath Borough Council was geared up to sign off on plans to make the Main Square and Knoll Road car parks pay-and-display rather than pay-on-foot.

But businesses are concerned that pay-and-display might discourage people from spending longer in the town centre for fear of staying over their paid-for time.

Council leader, Councillor Moira Gibson, said businesses had concerns about the move but she added the pay-and-display system would have perks to help shoppers stay out longer.

She added it would have something similar to the RingGo scheme, where people pay by phone and do not need cash to pay.

She said: “It’s something like you register and then you can pay by phone. You don’t need money. You can pay for two hours and if you decide you want to stay out for longer, you just ring up.”

Cllr Gibson added the pay-on-foot machinery at Main Square was nearing the end of its life and it was cheaper to replace it with pay-and-display machines, which also tended to be more reliable.

The current machines are around five to six years old, she added.

Cllr Gibson said one of the issues that needed addressing was long queues out of Main Square car park onto Pembroke Broadway on busy days.

She said the council believed the current charging system was part of the cause of this, as each vehicle had to stop, take a ticket and wait for the barrier to rise before entering.

She added: “We may be wrong. I don’t think we are going to be.”

Cllr Gibson said the council would continue consulting and the issue was due to return before the executive committee on July 3. According to a report, the annual saving of the pay-and-display machinery would be £40,000 a year more than if new pay-on-foot machines were installed.

This is because of lower maintenance costs, energy savings and “potentially increased income from penalty notices”.

Meanwhile, the council is pressing ahead with a scheme of improvements at the car park.

The authority approved work on two staircases and three lifts, as well as installing shutters to close off upper floors when not in use at night.

The council said this would improve security and save energy costs. The cost of the work will be £343,500.