Proposal for shoppers’ parking permit scheme trial – Haslemere High Street Car Park

Since January 2012, car parking charges in the High Street (Waitrose) car park have increased by an average of 33.5% in a range from 17% to 58% according to your length of stay.

Mon-Fri SPACES 1 hour 2 hour 3 hour 4 hour 5 hour 6 hour 7 hour 8 hour 9 hour 10 hour
High Street 169 pre-February 2012 £0.60 £1.20 £1.80 £2.40 £3.40 £4.40 £5.40 £6.40 £7.40 £8.40
High Street 169 From February 2012 £0.70 £1.50 £2.50 £3.50 £4.50 £5.50 £6.50 £7.50 £8.50 £9.50
From April 2013 £0.80 £1.60 £2.80 £3.80 £4.80 £5.80 £6.80 £7.80 £8.80 £9.80
% INCREASE from Feb 12 (vs Jan 12) 16% 25% 39% 46% 32% 25% 20% 17% 15% 13%
% INCREASE from April 13 (vs Jan 12) 33% 33% 55% 58% 41% 31% 26% 22% 19% 17%

Waverley Borough Council’s Executive meets tomorrow.

On the agenda APPENDIX Q WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL EXECUTIVE – 02/07/2013: PROPOSAL FOR SHOPPERS’ PARKING PERMIT SCHEME TRIAL – HASLEMERE HIGH STREET CAR PARK
[Portfolio Holder: Cllr Carole King] [Wards Affected: Haslemere] is a Proposal for shoppers’ parking permit scheme trial – Haslemere High Street Car Park.

Summary and purpose:

To present proposals for, and seek approval to proceed with the introduction of a time-limited trial of a pre-payment shoppers’ parking permit scheme at High Street Car Park in Haslemere.

How this report relates to the Council’s Corporate Priorities:

This report relates to the Council’s Value for Money priority by providing customer-focused services at the best value for money.
It also relates to the Understanding Residents’ Needs priority through working with residents and businesses to ensure our services are designed to meet people’s needs.

Financial Implications:

Although it is not possible to state the precise financial implication of this report in advance, because the trial is for a limited period and restricted numbers, the overall parameters are known. Income to the Council of £1,040 will be generated from the sale of the maximum 50 permits. The equivalent value of parking entitlement calculated at normal charges is £5,200. The maximum cost to the Council of this proposal is therefore £4,160.
However, if the scheme is successful and results in additional usage to the benefit of the town, rather than just discounted charges, the cost to Waverley will be proportionately less.

Legal Implications:

The introduction of a new permit at a car park constitutes a minor variation of the Waverley Borough Council (Off-Street Parking Places) Order. The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 allows a local authority to bring such changes into force by simply issuing a Notice of Variation. This notice must be given at least 3 weeks before the changes are due to take effect, through the placing of a formal notice in the local press, and on site. Assuming a decision is made to proceed with the scheme at this meeting, it would therefore be possible to make the permits available for purchase by the middle of August.

Introduction
1. For some time, the Haslemere Chamber of Commerce has been expressing concerns regarding the trading conditions in the town. In an attempt to address these concerns, a number of meetings have taken place over recent months to identify the likely causes of the reported reduction in footfall and to explore ways in which this can be addressed.

2. From these discussions it has emerged that town centre parking is considered one of the main issues of concern among retailers, with the two specific issues being the cost of parking and the inconvenience of having to find the right change for the cash-only pay and display system currently in operation.

3. During the recent discussions a number of suggestions have come forward from the Chamber of Commerce and local Ward Members as to how these challenges might be overcome.

4. The first of these is a ‘refund’ scheme, where retailers could offer to reimburse the cost of parking if a customer spends over £10 with them. Some retailers are exploring this in further detail with a view to possibly trialling such a scheme in the future.

Shoppers’ Permit Scheme

5. The second of these, and the subject of this report, is the proposal that the Council introduces a ‘Shoppers’ Permit Scheme’ on a trial basis, which it is proposed would work as follows:

a. Scheme to apply to Haslemere High Street (Waitrose) Car Park only.

b. To initially be a six-month trial, to gauge take-up, impact on footfall, impact on car park operation, etc.

c. Initial trial to be limited to 50 permits.

d. Customers able to buy a six-month permit at a cost of £25. Permit will allow customers to park without purchasing a ticket between the hours of 3pm-5pm Monday to Wednesday.

6. It is felt that such a scheme would successfully address both of the aforementioned areas of concern expressed by the Chamber of Commerce- namely, cost and convenience.

7. Essentially, the permit would offer the customer a convenient, cashless ‘pre-payment’ option which, broadly speaking, if used for more than a one-hour parking session, once per week, would represent a saving to the customer (to be precise, a customer parking for two hours per week would save £16 through pre-purchasing a permit, whilst a driver who used the full six hours available on a weekly basis would save nearly £100 during the six-month trial).

8. It is of course impossible to predict the level of take-up of such a scheme, how often such a permit would be used, or to gauge whether it has the scope to change people’s shopping and parking habits. It is therefore not possible to predict what, if any impact it will have on footfall in the town centre, or indeed on car parking revenue.

9. However, a site-specific and time-limited trial with a cap on the number of permits being made available is considered a low-risk approach that is worth pursuing. It will also potentially provide the Council with some valuable management information to help shape future proposals for cashless and pre-payment options in our car parks.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive endorses the proposal to embark on a time-limited trial of a pre-payment parking permit scheme at High Street Car Park in Haslemere and instructs Officers to proceed with the issuing of a Notice of Variation to enable the scheme to commence as soon as possible.

Background Papers
There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICER:
Name: Rob Anderton Telephone: 01483 523411
E-mail: robert.anderton@waverley.gov.uk