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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 28/10/2003
Christmas Parking Concessions 2003



Summary & Purpose
The purpose of this report is to determine whether free parking should be offered in the Council’s Pay-and-Display car parks for periods of one or more Saturdays in December 2003, in support of town centre Christmas trading and social activity. There are financial implications which are described in the report.


Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
Local Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive

The main Quality of Life implications of offering concessionary car parking are the positive contribution it would make in support of town centre trading, social activity and social inclusion. The other Quality of Life implications are likely to be neutral in as much as the concessions suggested are at a time of year when Waverley’s car parks are in any event likely to be particularly busy.

E-Government implications:

There are no e-government implications directly associated with this report.
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Background

1. From 1992 until 2000, the Council provided free all-day parking in all of its Pay-and-Display (P&D) car parks for two consecutive Saturdays in December, for free pre-Christmas shopping purposes. The dates were chosen in consultation with the Chambers of Trade and Commerce. The Director of Environment and Leisure has, under the Scheme of Delegation to Officers, “authority to grant free car parking in Council car parks Borough-wide on two trading Saturdays in December, prior to Christmas each year, following consultation with the Chambers of Commerce.”

2. However, the review of public spending priorities in the January 2001 budget-making process resulted in the recommendation to remove Christmas parking concessions. This was agreed by the former Environment and Planning Committee on 23rd January 2001 and subsequently endorsed by the Policy and Resources Committee and Council. An informal petition protesting against this move was then presented to the Council by the Godalming and District Chamber of Trade. Other traders and shoppers and Town and Parish Councils throughout Waverley expressed their disappointment at that decision.
3. On 4th December 2001, the Executive decided that it wished to offer, on a trial basis, free parking, from 2pm to 6pm on Saturday, 15th and Saturday, 22nd December 2001. The Portfolio Holder also undertook to commission and oversee a customer survey on the relevant Saturdays, in Crown Court Car Park, Godalming, using local school students. The purpose of the survey was to inform any subsequent year proposals for concessionary parking.

Christmas 2001 Concessionary Parking Trial

4. The free parking on two Saturday afternoons’ trial in December 2001 and its associated “snapshot survey” in Godalming, has limited value in informing the strategy for this year. The late decision precluded widespread publicity and evidence from the customer survey suggests that it had little influence on shopping behaviour or length of stay in the car park. The majority of interviewees were pleasantly surprised by, and grateful for, the concessions but few admitted to changing their shopping plans or extending their stays in anticipation of, or as a result of, free parking.

Christmas 2002 Parking Concessions

5. The Executive decided that free parking should be provided in all of the Pay-and-Display car parks on two Saturday afternoons in December 2002 (14th and 1st December) between the hours of 12 noon and 6pm.

Christmas 2003 Parking Concessions

6. Members are asked whether:

7. To have the maximum effect and benefit, parking concessions need to be well publicised, easily understood by locals and visitors alike and simple to implement. The arrangements prior to Christmas 2001, with free all-day parking, met these requirements and were accordingly well received, but had significant impacts on car parking revenue. In 2001 and 2002 some customers were confused by the day arrangements.

8. If free parking is to be offered, it is suggested that officers undertake consultation with the four Chambers of Trade to gauge which is the preferred date(s), with the proviso that the concession will be applied uniformly across Waverley on the same day(s) to minimise confusion for customers and to make the advertising effective.

Free Afternoon Parking

9. The estimated Pay-and-Display income for a Saturday in December is 9,000. The cost of 6 hours of free parking in a 10 hour charging period is difficult to determine definitively. However, experience from the previous 2 years showed that there is a much greater turnover of spaces and, therefore income, in the morning period. Many motorists also purchase time periods in the morning which go beyond the 12 hours free period. The best estimate, therefore, is that the reduced income for each 6 hours period of free parking, on a Saturday in December, would be 50% of the normal daily income.

Financial Implications

10. The estimated loss of Pay-and-Display income is 9,000 for each full day, or for each afternoon:-

50% x 9,000 = 4,500

i.e. the cost of 2 afternoons free parking is estimated at 9,000.

11. Even with the extra income from the increase in car parking charges from December, savings of 353,000 are still required in 2003/04 if the call on balances is not to be increased. As the budget assumes no free Saturday parking before Christmas, a supplementary estimate is therefore required if Members agree to any Christmas concession.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive:

1. determines the extent of the Christmas concessionary parking arrangements for 2003;

2. requests officers to undertake consultation with the four Chambers of Trade to gauge which is the preferred date(s), with the proviso that the concession will be applied uniformly across Waverley on the same day(s); and

3. a supplementary estimate for the current financial year be agreed to cover the anticipated loss of income from the total period of any concession, as set out in paragraph 10 of this report.

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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.
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Robin Ellks Telephone: 01483 523411
E-mail: rellks@waverley.gov.uk

Martin Shorten Telephone: 01483 523434
E-Mail: mshorten@Waverley.gov.uk


comms/executive/2003-04/326 38734