Members gave consideration to a report which presented the draft Parking Strategy and Action Plan for approval.
One of the functions of the parking service, operated by the council was to have a Strategy, approved by Members setting out the direction of travel for the service and which guided key decisions.
In presenting the report Officers outlined the process by which the Strategy had been developed using specialist consultants. The Consultants had been provided with a detailed brief and Members noted their report, in response to that brief, had been included as an appendix to the report. The Consultants report included a number of recommendations and observations which, following internal review, had been developed into an Action Plan, which was also attached as an appendix to the report. Members noted that not all recommendations had been included in the Action Plan.
The key findings were detailed in Section 2.1 of the report and where highlighted to the Committee.
The report recommended that any review of the free parking offer should be considered as part of the wider fees and charges review, rather than at this point. It was also being recommended that a joint approach with neighbouring authorities to the roll out EV charge points be further explored and finally that the Strategy be refreshed after a three-year period, as opposed to five, given the significant regeneration planned in the District within that period.
Lengthy and detailed debate ensued and Members sought assurance that the Strategy would be fully reviewed, in coming years, in light of planned regeneration, the investment from Levelling-Up and Shared Prosperity Funding and other heritage schemes in motion. There was real aspiration to transform the use of the Market Place etc and Members considered parking would be an important piece of the jigsaw that needed to align with other key Strategies, Plans and Developments.
Understanding the reasoning for not making changes to tariffs as part of the report Members were keen to see this go ahead, indicating they considered there to be a real need. Many a study had been undertaken regarding the impact of free parking versus parking charges but Members felt it was important peoples’ habits and needs were taken into consideration; people welcomed the opportunity to nip in and out in close proximity to shops and facilities. Improved signage was welcomed, and an offer Members currently considered lacking. Motor Home and Coach Parking did not appear within the Action Plan and it was suggested that this should possibly be reconsidered, at some point in the future. Having formal coach parking, it was considered, would strengthen and encourage the Visitor Economy aspirations and again better align the offer with the future aspirations for the District.
In response to questions, Officers confirmed the Council did employee a Parking Officer, on a fixed term contract basis.
Many Members spoke in support of including Motorhome and Coach Parking provision as part of the District offer, being of the strong belief this was a fundamental part of ... view the full minutes text for item 16