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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 23/06/2003
Residents Car Parking Permits



The purpose of this report is to determine the Council’s response to a Motion moved by a Member at the meeting of the Council in February 2003 regarding concessionary parking for town centre residents.
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APPENDIX G
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 23RD JUNE 2003


Title:
RESIDENTS CAR PARKING PERMITS
[Wards Affected: All Wards]


Summary and purpose:

The purpose of this report is to determine the Council’s response to a Motion moved by a Member at the meeting of the Council in February 2003 regarding concessionary parking for town centre residents.


Appropriate management of long-term car parking will support the vitality and viability of the town centres and provides access by ensuring space is available to meet short-term parking requirements. Continuing to apply an appropriate and manageable level of discount for resident motorists is equitable in that the non-motorist and visitor also have priorities to be addressed. Varied methods of providing information and wider publication will help to reach all residents.

E-Government implications:

Web site and IT information databases including “one stop centre” records about the residents parking permits will need to be updated.

Resource and legal implications:

The cost of advertising and promotion that should be contained within the current budget allocations for the production of “The Link”.



Introduction

1. At the meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 18th February 2003, in accordance with Procedure Rule 12.1, the following Notice of Motion was received – “The Council will evolve a scheme whereby residents with no possibility of possessing or acquiring their own off-street parking are given the opportunity to purchase, at a reasonable fee, concessionary parking permits, without time limits, for Waverley owned car parks”. At its meeting in April, the Executive considered the motion and agreed that the officers be asked to include the matter in a report on the Review of the Car Parking Strategy and add it to the Rolling Programme under the Environment Portfolio.

Car Parking in the Borough of Waverley

2. The Council is responsible for the management of 28 car parks operated on a Pay-and-Display basis. These provide a major source of revenue in support of the Council’s spending priorities. Annual income is approximately, 2.5 million. The effectiveness of its car parking operation in financial terms can be measured by the average income per chargeable space. However, the car parking service is also managed in the interests of town centre commercial and social vitality.

Pay and Display Parking

3. Pay and Display parking is operated during the charging hours of 0800 – 1800 from Monday through to Saturday. The car parks are not closed overnight or on a Sunday and drivers may leave a vehicle parked outside of the charging hours.

4. When making use of Pay and Display parking, a driver is required to either purchase a ticket from a ticket dispensing machine situated within each car park, or display in the parked vehicle, a Season Ticket, Contract Permit, Residents’ Permit or one of the Concessionary Permits that have either been purchased or supplied by the Council in advance. A disabled badge holder who is either a driver or is being driven by someone else, may park a vehicle free of charge throughout the charging period.

5. The cost of a Pay and Display ticket is between 35p for up to 45 minutes and 5.00 for 10 hours. The cost of a Season Ticket or Contract Permit which permits parking at all times, is between 350 and 800 depending on the proximity of the car park to a town centre or rail service. A Contract Permit guarantees the holder a space and is, therefore, the more expensive option. The current car parking tariffs are shown at Annexe 1 to this report.

Concessionary Parking and Residents Parking Permit

6. The Council offers all people who live in the Borough, the opportunity to purchase a Residents’ Permit that permits the holder to park during charging hours in any designated car park between the hours of 16.30 – 1800 and 0800 – 09.30 hours, Monday to Friday and all day on a Saturday. The Cost of a Residents’ Permit is currently 175 per annum and provides a significant benefit in that it is considerably cheaper than the equivalent Pay and Display charge. The all-day Saturday charge alone equates to 220 per annum in premium rate car parks. The Council

introduced this concession when car parking space was not as well utilised as it is today. Although car park usage has increased, car parking space in most car parks is available, although limited, between the times permitted by the Residents’ Permit. If the Council increased its Residents’ Permit issue numbers, or extended the time period of the Permit parking times, it may be at the inconvenience of other users who require space and there would be a consequential loss of income to the Council.

7. Despite the heavily discounted parking rate offered by the current Residents Permit, the Council has only issued eleven in the current financial year. This low level of interest may be caused by either a lack of knowledge of the Permit availability or a lack of requirement for parking at the permitted times. It could be argued that the Residents’ Permit is most suited to a person who uses a car on a daily basis to travel and park in another area.

The Council’s Car Parking Strategy and National and Local Policy

8. A Car Parking Strategy for the Borough of Waverley has been adopted for the period 2000 to 2005. The Strategy was developed following consultation with a wide range of community members including residents. This consultation revealed that availability of town centre space is more important to the resident, shopper and visitor than its current cost.

9. The Strategy takes account of parking management that is an essential component of a sustainable movement strategy aimed at reducing unnecessary journeys by car. It is important to the vitality and viability of the four main centres to ensure an adequate supply of conveniently located short-term parking spaces. Policy directs that parking spaces allocated to long-term use should be located on the periphery of town centres and that the level of long-term parking and related permit issue should be reviewed periodically to ensure that sufficient numbers of short-term spaces are available to provide people with access to town centre and leisure amenities.

10. On-street parking is an increasing area of concern in residential areas throughout Waverley. The Police have given on-street enforcement a low priority. Changes in the law now permit local authorities to take over the enforcement of on-street parking regulations from the Police. One of the benefits of controlling both on-street and off-street car parking is that local parking problems can be addressed in a coordinated way. Officers are already working with Surrey County Council to ascertain detailed information about how the function could be administered and financed. If an authority elected to adopt on-street enforcement, it is likely to be up to three years before on-street parking controls could be in place. Officers are currently preparing a more detailed report on Decriminalised Parking Enforcement, which will be presented to a future meeting of the Executive.

Planning Policy and Parking Provision

11. National planning policy guidance on parking provision for new development in town centres where sites offer good accessibility to public transport states that maximum parking standards should be set for all forms of new development. The guidance therefore sanctions and encourages residential development with limited or no dedicated parking provision in town centres, with the aim of restricting car use and achieving higher residential densities where appropriate. The Council’s planning policies support this strategy, and will be given due consideration in the drafting of

Town Centre Parking Management Plans. Funding of the local highway and transportation infrastructure is contingent upon such Parking Management Plans being in place, which support Government Local Structure Plan objectives. It is likely that encouraging car ownership and use in the town centres by offering discounted parking to residents without limit of time would be seen as undermining these policies.

Parking Problems Experienced by Residents

12. Results of the 2001 Census, showed that there were 6,479 households in the Borough that have no car at all, 8,125 households with 1 car and 22,572 households with 2 or more cars. The Council is aware that there is a significant number of properties throughout the Borough without off-road parking space and/or no opportunity to park on-street. Officers do not know the total number of properties that have insufficient parking space for the number of vehicles associated with the household, although it is clear in some areas such as Farncombe and Godalming, that a substantial number exist.

13. Officers are aware that residents who live within close proximity to the rail stations, and have no off-road parking facility, are experiencing difficulties in parking because the off-road parking space outside their home may become occupied by commuters. This problem may only be fully addressed by appropriate control of on-street parking and the introduction of an effective Pay and Display pricing policy by the Council that provides a differential between long-term and short-term off-street parking.

14. A small number (approx. 20) of residents who have no private off-road parking space and, in some cases, no opportunity to park on-street, have queried their private parking situation directly with the Council. It is their opinion that as their property is situated adjacent to a Council car park they should be able to park within a Pay and Display car park either free of charge or at a reduced daily rate. Under such circumstances, it could be argued that parking costs in town centres may be beyond the financial means of some people, perhaps the retired or a person with mobility problems but who is not a Disabled Badge holder.

Financial Appraisal

15. The financial model shown at Annexe 2 indicates the discount per space in a range of car parks and the effect of this discount with a possible take-up of between 100 and 600, all being possible with the figures shown in this report. The model compares the cost of a residents’ permit at an assumed rate of 500 with the cheapest payment option available. The number of Season tickets for use in High Street in Haslemere and Village Way in Cranleigh is restricted and therefore not included in the financial model.

Conclusions

16. The Council has already acknowledged the parking difficulties experienced by residents by offering discounted parking through its existing Residents’ Permit. Although not widely publicised, free parking is also available between the hours of 1800 – 0800 and all day on Sunday.


17. The Council has sold only eleven Residents’ Permits in this financial year, which could either be due to a lack of demand or, more probably, a lack of awareness of its availability. The demand for a Residents’ Permit is likely to increase dramatically if the permitted parking times were extended as it would become more attractive to all persons who do not travel elsewhere to work and either work from home or who are not employed on a daily basis. If a greater discount was applied to the existing permitted parking hours it would again make it more attractive to a larger number of people. The Council would therefore not only incur a loss of income in either or both cases, but the number and availability of spaces for visitors, shoppers and commuters would also be reduced.

18. It would be difficult for the Council to offer further discounts to residents on the premise that they live in a property that does not have its own off-street parking facilities. The value of a property that lacks parking space is likely to be reflected in its market value. Many households now have more than one car but only one off-road parking space. Other households do not have a car at all. The reduction in car park income that would result from any expansion of residents parking benefits would impact on the Council’s ability to meet the priorities of the non-motorist or council taxpayer who has no use for a Residents Permit but regularly uses the Council’s car parks.

19. Parking space is already at a premium in town centres. Any increase in the number of vehicles parking on a long-term basis in town centres would reduce the availability of space for the shopper and visitors. The economic viability of the town centres could then be affected and national as well as local parking policy undermined.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Residents Parking Permit should continue in its current form and be more widely publicised via the Council’s magazine delivered to all households in the Borough, on the Waverley Web site and in the provision of information to personal enquiries.



Background Papers (DoE&L)

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



CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Margaret Jerome Telephone: 01483 523402..

E-mail: mjerome@waverley.gov.uk

comms/executive/2003-04/135