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St Edmundsbury Car Parking Report 2006-7

St Edmundsbury Car Parking Report 2006-7
St Edmundsbury Car Parking Report 2006-7
St Edmundsbury Car Parking Report 2006-7
St Edmundsbury Car Parking Report 2006-7

Car Parking Report 2006-7

1.

Introduction

Welcome to St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s second annual car parking report. This report highlights the developments, both on-street and off-street, in the council’s parking service during the last financial year, details the impact of the service and sets out future developments.

In Haverhill, the main impact has been around additional parking and the start of the implementation of the masterplan for the town. In Bury St Edmunds, the changes have mainly related to the Cattle Market development in the centre of the town. There have also been important changes to the administration of the service.

In addition, the report also contains a section on the principles of charging.

2.

Off-street parking

2.1 Background

The borough council is the main provider of public off-street parking in both Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill. The council operates nine car parks in the centre of Bury St Edmunds and five in Haverhill. All of these car parks operate on a pay and display basis for part of each day. The exceptions to this are Risbygate Street in Bury, which is for disabled badge holders and motorcycles only, and the Rose and Crown in Haverhill, which is free.

Outside of the town centres there are also charges at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre and Hardwick Heath. The council also manages other car parks such as Vinery Road, East Town Park, Nowton Park and the staff car park at Western Way.

2.2 Parking activity

The location, capacity and charges for the council car parks are shown at Appendix A. New charges were introduced across the borough on 3 April 2006. The charges in the former Prospect Row car park were changed on 1 October so that it could be integrated with the St Andrews Street South car park. Together, they form the new Cattle Market car park. The charges were set after detailed consideration of the likely impact of the Cattle Market development and comparison with charges in other similar towns. Attached at Appendix B are details of the paid for events at each of the car parks and the income together with a comparison for last year.

The Cattle Market development is being partly constructed on former car parks and has resulted in the loss of around 520 parking spaces. This accounts for the significant change in the pattern of parking events in the St Andrews Street South car park.

The car parks were also renamed as detailed below. These changes were made in anticipation of the introduction of variable message signing (VMS):

Former name

New name

St Andrews Street South/ Prospect Row

Cattle Market

Parkway (surface and decked)

Parkway

Robert Boby Way

Robert Boby

St Andrews Street North

St Andrews

Ram Meadow

Ram Meadow

Shire Hall

Shire Hall

Risbygate Street/ Nelson Road

Risbygate

Lower Baxter Street

Lower Baxter

2.3 Excess charges

Excess Charge Notices (ECNs) are issued for offences in the car parks. These include where no ticket is displayed, a driver has parked outside a marked bay or their ticket has expired. The excess charge increased on 3 April 2006 to £50 (discounted to £20

if paid within seven days). Previously the charge was £40 (discounted to £12 for

early payment).

In 2006-7, St Edmundsbury issued 10,658 ECNs, of which 1400 were waived either on appeal or the vehicle owner could not be traced. A new policy on appeals against excess charges was introduced and included an important change to the grounds for appeal. ECNs are no longer cancelled if they have been issued for the offence of failure to display and a valid ticket is later produced. Details of the grounds for appeal are set out at Appendix C.

2.4 New developments

Town Hall car park, Haverhill

The new 100 space annexe (formerly the Cleales site) to the Town Hall car park in Haverhill opened on 25 September 2006. This provides important additional parking in the centre of town. The continued growth of Haverhill has put pressure on the existing town centre parking resource.

Ehringshausen Way, Haverhill

town centre parking resource. Ehringshausen Way, Haverhill Work started on the Jubil ee Walk environmental enhanc

Work started on the Jubilee Walk environmental enhancement scheme in Haverhill. This project includes alterations to the neighbouring Ehringshausen Way car park. As part of the project, the disabled bays are being remodelled and the car park completely resurfaced.

Haverhill Leisure Centre

Work began on constructing a new 96-space car park on former tennis courts next to the leisure centre in Haverhill. This was carried out in anticipation of the proposed multi-screen cinema to be built next to the leisure centre.

Car park signing

A programme to roll out new ‘house signs’ to all the

council car parks began with the annexe to the Town

Hall car park.

Sunday charges

Charges for parking on Sunday were introduced to most car parks in Bury St Edmunds on 3 April 2006 (see Appendix A for details). The charges, where applicable, are 20p an hour between 10am and 4pm. At the same time charges were introduced in on- street areas between 1pm and 4pm.

are 20p an hour between 10am and 4pm. At the same time charges were introduced in

Cattle Market development, Bury St Edmunds

The Cattle Market development has had an impact on the main short stay car park in Bury St Edmunds. Construction began on site in December 2006, but before this, major alternations needed to be made to the existing car parks. Other work also needed to be carried out. This included changing the routes of electricity cables and water mains, integrating the car parks at St Andrews Street South and Prospect Row, making redundant areas available for car parking, changing entrance and exit arrangements and removing unnecessary parking equipment.

During these works as many parking spaces as possible were kept available to the public. As a result, there was some disruption caused to some of the people who use the car parks. The council is grateful for their patience during this time.

Risbygate Street car park, Bury St Edmunds

Around half of the spaces in the Risbygate Street car park were allocated to the Cattle Market development. Because the disabled spaces on the former St Andrews Street South car park were lost, the remaining spaces on the Risbygate car park have been allocated to blue badge holders only, together with an area for motorcycle parking.

Ram Meadow extension, Bury St Edmunds

The coach and bus parking area at the Ram Meadow car park in Bury St Edmunds has been converted to car parking. This new area also includes some larger bays specifically for the use of mobile homes. These have been widely welcomed by touring visitors who have previously had difficulty finding large enough parking spaces and received extensive positive publicity through the specialist press.

Coach parking has been relocated to the lorry park on the eastern side of the town.

to the lorry park on the eastern side of the town. Variable message signs (VMS), Bury

Variable message signs (VMS), Bury St Edmunds

In December 2006 a series of variable message signs were installed in Bury St Edmunds. These cover the main public car parks and give drivers up-to-date information on the availability and location of parking in the town. The data this system records will also help plan future developments in car parking as it will enable the council to monitor peak periods more effectively and trigger appropriate interventions to deal with parking shortages.

In order to introduce these signs in time for the peak Christmas parking demand period a temporary control arrangement was put in place. This resulted in some initial teething problems, but these have now mostly been resolved and the system has proved very resilient in operation.

Seasonal park and ride, Bury St Edmunds

The temporary park and ride service introduced in conjunction with the annual Christmas Fayre was extended to all Saturdays in December 2006 to reflect the extra demand for parking at this time. The service operated from two sites between 10am and 6pm. A single site operation also ran on the two Saturdays of the February school half term holiday and a further operation for Easter 2007 is planned.

The impact of these services is currently being assessed to determine the operational benefit of this provision.

St Edmundsbury House, Bury St Edmunds

The staff car park at St Edmundsbury House in Western Way was under increasing pressure from unauthorised parking. This included use by the staff of other businesses in the area, college students and visitors to nearby sports facilities. This was resulting in inconvenience to staff and visitors. As a result, a traffic regulation order was introduced to prevent unauthorised parking between 8am and 4pm on Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours, the car park is available to the public.

Olding Road Car Park, Bury St Edmunds

The first phase of the Public Service Village at Western Way will result in the loss of most of the existing car parking on this site. To accommodate staff needs, a new car park has been constructed on Olding Road (behind the existing building). This pay and display car park will also be available to the public.

Park Mark award, Parkway multi-storey, Bury St Edmunds

In January 2007, the Parkway multi-storey car park was given a Park Mark award. This is a national award made as part of the Safer Parking Scheme run by the British Parking Association and local police forces. The award is made to car parks which not only satisfy safety criteria, but drivers also say they feel safe using.

3.

On-street parking

3.1 Background

The council looks after three areas of charged on-street parking in Bury St Edmunds. The charges and hours of operation are set out below:

Location

Charging period

Charges

Angel Hill

Monday to Saturday 8am to 6pm

70p for up to 30 minutes

£1.10 for up to one hour

£2.10 for up to two hours

Sunday 1pm to 4pm

20p an hour

Cornhill/ Buttermarket

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8am to 6pm

80p for up to 30 minutes

£1.30 for up to one hour

Sunday 1pm to 4pm

20p an hour

South town centre

Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm

20p for up to 30 minutes

80p for up to one hour

 

£2.00 for up to two hours

Sunday 1pm to 4pm

20p an hour

The number of on-street parking events which have taken place and the income they have generated is detailed in Appendix B.

The council also manages eight residents’ parking zones in Bury St Edmunds and one in Haverhill.

Bury St Edmunds

Zone A – South Brackland area Zone B – Northgate Street Zone C – Nelson Road Zone D – South Town Centre Zone E – Castle Road Zone F – Southgate Street area Zone G – Broadway/ Mustow Street Zone H – Victoria Street area (experimental)

Haverhill

Zone A – Eden Road/ Duddery Road/ Waveney Terrace

Appendix D sets out the charges and number of permits issued for each zone. The charged areas and residents’ permit zones are administered by St Edmundsbury on behalf of Suffolk County Council. The county council retains the income from these schemes, less St Edmundsbury’s administration costs.

Sunday charges were introduced to the on-street charged areas at the same time as the off-street car parks. The charges apply between 1pm and 4pm at a rate of 20p an hour.

As agents to Suffolk County Council, the borough also deals with traffic management issues in Bury St Edmunds. This often involves the introduction of waiting restrictions or other changes to on-street parking arrangements.

3.2 Residents’ parking schemes

Zone A – South Brackland area, Bury St Edmunds

As a result of concerns expressed to the council, a review of the days and hours of operation of this scheme was carried out. The majority of the respondents opted not to change the hours of operation or extend it to Sundays. Permit-only parking will continue to operate on Monday to Saturday between 10am and 4pm.

Zone H – Victoria Street area, Bury St Edmunds

Residents of the Victoria Street area rely heavily on on-street parking for both their needs and those of their visitors. Commuters and students of the nearby college have also been parking in the area. In view of this pressure on parking, residents were experiencing problems parking near their homes during the day. Following detailed consultation with the local community, an experimental residents’ parking zone was introduced to Victoria Street and the neighbouring streets on 1 May 2006. This experimental scheme is being reviewed to determine if residents wish it to be made permanent. A plan of the experimental zone is shown at Appendix E.

North Brackland area, Bury St Edmunds

The North Brackland area of Bury St Edmunds is similar to the Victoria Street area discussed above and attracts significant numbers of commuters looking to park all day for free. St Edmundsbury has been investigating the possibility of introducing a residents’ parking scheme in this area. Early indications are that the residents support such a scheme. A plan of the area is included at Appendix F.

3.3 On-street parking review

Disabled parking bays

In recognition of the increasing number of people with mobility problems who are visiting Bury St Edmunds town centre, additional disabled bays have been provided on Angel Hill. These complement the spaces in the Risbygate car park (detailed in 2.3 above).

Local parking investigations

Parking concerns have been investigated in the following locations (all in Bury St Edmunds):

Alicia Court Barn Lane Beech Rise Chalk Road Cotton Lane (two locations) Dettingen Way Eastern Way Grove Road Hanover Close Hardwick Lane High Baxter Street Hospital Road Kings Road Mill Road Norman Road Oliver Road Philip Road Raingate Street Springfield Road Well Street West Road Westbury Avenue Westgate Street York Road

3.3 On-street funding

For a number of years, Suffolk County Council has invited bids for schemes to be funded from the surplus generated by on-street parking charges. In 2006–7 the borough council was successful in winning funding for the following initiatives:

Christmas park and ride: £4500 towards the cost of operating a seasonal park and ride in Bury St Edmunds at Christmas.

Green travel coordinator: £15,000 contribution towards employing a green travel coordinator to work, initially, on travel issues around the Public Service Village and Cattle Market development.

Kings Road one way scheme: £110,000 to implement the proposal to make Kings Road in Bury St Edmunds one way between St Andrews Street South and Prospect Row.

De-criminalised parking: £10,000 towards a feasibility study around decriminalising parking enforcement in the borough.

Mildenhall Road pedestrian crossing: £20,000 for improvements to pedestrian crossing facilities in Mildenhall Road, Bury St Edmunds, near to the Somerfield supermarket.

Bury St Edmunds transport study: £25,000 for detailed studies around the recommendations arising from the Bury St Edmunds transport study.

4.

Administration

4.1 General

The car parks service is managed by five administration staff (four full time equivalents) supported by ten parking attendants (seven full time equivalents). The service cost £1,628,850 to run during 2006-7 (this includes all costs associated with the car parks, such as asset rent and maintenance) and generated an income of

£2,892,233.

4.2 Automated call handling

To improve customer service an automated call handling system has been installed to enable 24 hour access to the payment system to settle excess charges. This has also significantly reduced staff call handling needs.

4.3 Decriminalised parking enforcement

Decriminalised parking enforcement involves the local authority taking over most of the police parking enforcement powers. A business case for the borough council to take on this role is currently being prepared and will be considered in detail by the council shortly.

5.

Principles of charging

The provision of accessible, high quality car parking is an important factor in the economic success of the town centres of both Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill. The council recognises this and has invested significant capital resources in the acquisition of land and the construction of car parks in the town centres.

As a result, it is appropriate that a suitable return on this investment is recovered from the people using the facilities. These people are not always residents of the borough. It is also important to note that many of St Edmundsbury’s Council Tax payers are not car owners and would get no direct benefit from the provision of free parking. A recent survey showed 87 percent of people think the car parks should be funded by those using them and not from Council Tax.

be funded by those using them and not from Council Tax. Charging also allows the council

Charging also allows the council to manage the available car parking more efficiently. Free parking would see the commuters, office and shop workers, who access the town earliest in the morning, taking the most prized spaces closest to the town centre for the majority of the day. This would leave the less convenient car parks for shoppers and others who wish to visit the town for shorter periods. St Edmundsbury’s charging scale is calculated on the basis that the most convenient car parks have the highest prices for long periods and the less convenient the lowest. This encourages those who work in the town, and other long stay visitors, to use the less convenient car parks, leaving the car parks which are closer to the town centre for shoppers and visitors who may be staying for shorter periods. Similar principles are also applied to the charges for on-street parking which are set in consultation with Suffolk County Council.

Charging also encourages people to use other modes of transport, such as buses.

The council offers discounted season tickets in its long stay car parks in both Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill for the benefit of those who may work in the towns.

The surplus raised through parking charges is used to fund services such as closed circuit television (CCTV), which St Edmundsbury would otherwise have to fund from additional Council Tax or not be able to provide.

The charges for residents’ parking permits are set to reflect the cost of setting up, administering and enforcing the zones. These charges are regularly reviewed to make sure that deficits do not occur. As there is no benefit to the wider community, residents’ parking zones are not subsidised from the general Council Tax fund.

6.

Future initiatives

Park and ride, Haverhill

Alongside partners at Cambridgeshire County, Suffolk County and South Cambridgeshire District councils, work into the travel patterns along the A1307 between Haverhill and Cambridge has been carried out. Developing an express bus service is a possible initiative which would reduce traffic along this corridor. A study into the potential benefits and impact of such a service has been commissioned.

Park and ride/ shuttle bus, Bury St Edmunds

As a result of the Bury St Edmunds Transport Study, an investigation will be carried out into the feasibility and implications of introducing a shuttle bus service. This service would operate between key destinations (for example the town centre, West Suffolk Hospital and the Public Service Village in Western Way) and dedicated car parks on the edge of the town near to the A14 interchanges.

Back office systems

New software to improve administration will be introduced early in the new financial year. This will integrate existing systems into a single system and provide more detailed management information. As part of this programme, parking attendants will be given new hand held devices to help with their enforcement activities. These will mean more detailed information can be recorded about the offence. This additional evidence will assist in dealing with excess charge appeals. New digital cameras will also be issued to also help capture evidence of offences committed.

Pay and display machines

A number of the council’s pay and display machines are reaching the end of their useful life. A programme of machine replacement has been approved and the roll out will begin in Haverhill. Most of the council’s machines will be replaced over the next year.

Rose and Crown car park, Haverhill

The Rose and Crown car park in Haverhill is currently free. Areas are allocated to the public, customers of the adjacent public house and staff at the nearby council offices. An investigation into the use and management of this car park will be undertaken with a view to improving the way it is used and the turn over of spaces.

St Andrews car park, Bury St Edmunds

As part of the car parking strategy adopted by the council in response to the Cattle Market development, the St Andrews car park will be converted to short stay. Currently it is a hybrid medium/ long stay car park.

New car park next to Haverhill Leisure Centre

The proposed multi-screen cinema in Haverhill will mean some of the existing leisure centre car parking will be lost. A new car park is being constructed on redundant tennis courts and will open early in the new financial year.