To consider the report which aims to raise awareness of the Council's parking management arrangements and responsibilities, work outputs and challenges for the future
Submitted - a report from the Senior Property Manager detailing the Council's parking management arrangements and responsibilities, its work outputs and its challenges for the future. The staffing structure showed that the Service, since 2012, had faced significant savings/ cuts despite responding to the same workload. It was highlighted that the pay and display arrangements that were in place in 60 of the County's car parks, along with Annual Parking Permits and payments from parking enforcement, had led to receiving an income of £2.65m by 2018/19. It was noted that the income was a key part of the Council's annual revenue income and contributed towards maintaining services. In accordance with legislative requirements, any income gathered from parking management would be reinvested in the highway network.
Attention was drawn to future challenges and finding a range of options to guarantee an increase in the parking income. If the effect of inflation was to be met and a contribution of £180,000 made toward the savings targets, by 2022/23 the annual income would need to be £450,000 higher than in 2018/19.
Gratitude was expressed for the information.
In response to an observation regarding losing approximately £45,000 in income from the free Christmas parking offer, individual members highlighted the following observations:
· There was a need to consider the time limits before abolishing the service.
· Possible that it did not offer value for money as it was being used by 9-5pm workers?
· Needed to consider methods to dissuade workers from using it.
· Needed better timings - end of November - to coincide with Black Friday? Weekends in the run up to Christmas?
· Offer free parking evenings when events were held in the town.
· Free parking was a good scheme and supported Local Businesses.
The Senior Property Manager accepted the observations and noted it was intended to review the current arrangement.
In response to an observation regarding the appeals graph included in the report and the need for more detailed information about the numbers that were issued and the numbers that were challenged, it was accepted that the graph was basic and it would be possible to include more detailed data.
In response to an observation regarding how electric car charging facilities would be funded it was reported that the scheme was likely to be funded through grants in its initial phase. It was reiterated that the demand for this type of facility was currently very low, but there was a need to prepare beforehand by undertaking work to assess suitable locations within the County.
During the ensuing discussion, the following points were highlighted by individual Members:
· There was a need to highlight the difference between the ownership of a private car park and the Council's car parks.
· Double machines were needed, offering the facility to pay with cash or card.
· The total increases in parking fees appeared difficult in terms of pennies / cash - needed to keep the amounts straightforward.
· A suggestion to pay for an annual parking ticket in monthly instalments.
· What were the costs for maintaining the 57 free car parks? Would it be possible to transfer the resource for local communities to manage them, this would reduce costs for the Council?
· Needed to ensure that the service was effective. No excuse for the fact that machines did not work during busy weekends!
· There was a need to rationalise parking fees across the County.
· Local Parking Ticket - would it be possible to increase the ticket criteria for parking in long-stay car parks?
· With an increasing demand for enforcement, was it possible to consider installing cameras in some car parks to free up officers' time to enforce at other car parks?
In response to some of the above mentioned observations, the officers noted:
· The use of cameras was impersonal, covert and expensive but was a possible option for the future.
· Officers were under an increasing demand to enforce a wide range of fields. Although it was possible to offer a cross-departmental service, this involved intensive training for the officers in a number of legislative fields. It was reiterated that discussions were ongoing but there was a need to simplify the legislation and weigh up practical issues.
· That ensuring and establishing fairness in setting parking fees across the County had been one of the main considerations in submitting parking management arrangements in 2015. The intention was to continue to establish consistency and fairness throughout the County when considering possible options to increase income from parking in future.
· It was possible to hold 'case by case' discussions with Community/Town Councils regarding the transfer of the responsibility for free car parks within the County.
· It would be possible to introduce a range of possible options once the Full Council had decided on its budget for 2019/20 on 7 March 2019.
RESOLVED to accept the report with a request for officers to consider the observations of the Members when providing an update in due course on the range of options to ensuring an increase in the parking income.