Car parking review brings suggestion to move skate park

May 03 2018
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WELLS Chamber of Commerce and Tourism has suggested that the skate park near Waitrose be moved to Wells Recreation Ground to create room for more parking spaces.

It would also like to see the provision of a park and ride scheme at peak times and cycle parks to encourage the use of bicycles in Wells.

The chamber’s comments come in response to Mendip District Council’s draft car park strategy for the district for 2018-2022, which has been circulated to key stakeholders such as town councils and chambers of commerce for their comments before it is considered by the council’s Cabinet on May 21.

There are six district council-owned car parks in Wells providing 381 spaces, and council data shows that there are no surplus spaces at peak periods.

Of the 1,071 spaces provided by independent car parks such as the supermarkets and the Quarter Jack, the council has found that there are 159 surplus spaces at peak times.

“Wells has a parking problem which can only be solved by the provision of new parking capacity. The problem is felt by residents, businesses and visitors and if Wells is to grow it can only be in line with increased parking provision,” says the chamber in its submission.

“Suggestions include relocating the skate park to the Recreation Ground.”

The chamber is also keen to see the fees waived for coaches that park at the coach station, which amounted to £700 in 2017.

“Wells Chamber of Commerce and Tourism would like to see coach parking free of charge to encourage the use of the coach station, prevent on-street parking and increase the time passengers spend in Wells,” it says.

“There would be significant economic benefit across the whole year if coaches were encouraged to stay longer which would greatly outweigh the loss of £700 revenue from the coach station. Coach drivers are often keen to minimise the time spent in Wells because they are offered free parking at Clarks Village.”

There was some discussion of the car park review at a Wells City Council planning committee meeting on April 19. Committee members agreed that at the next full council meeting on April 26, the chairman would invite members to contribute their views. The council’s response will then be drawn up at the planning meeting on May 3.

Mendip District Council said in statement: “The ‘draft’ Car Park Strategy 2018-2022 looks at ensuring the long term sustainability for the car parks in the district. This four-year strategic review not only looks at parking charges but the much wider picture. We expect people to understand that both financial necessities are important and there are challenges around available parking in the best places.

“A detailed car parking charges review forms just part of this strategy and has been informed by looking at the utilisation of each car park, levels of occupancy at peak times, comparisons across neighbouring authorities and taking in to account the need for revenue to support the required investment in parking services for the future.”

Rise in car park charges proposed

CAR parking charges will go up at every Mendip District Council car park in Wells in line with inflation if the council’s draft car park strategy is implemented, though the proposals would see the three-hour rates jump by 50p from £2.10 to £2.60 in Princes Road and South Street.

The suggested new tariffs are:

• Market Place: 1/2 hour, 80p (currently 70p); 1 hour, £1.60 (£1.40).

• Princes Road: 1 hour, £1.10 (£1); 2 hours, £1.60 (£1.50); 3 hours, £2.60 (£2.10); 4 hours, £4.80 (£4.50); 6 hours, £5.90 (£5.60); 9 hours, £7.10 (£6.70).

• South Street: 1 hour, £1.10 (£1); 2 hours, £1.60 (£1.50); 3 hours, £2.60 (£2.10).

• Tucker Street: 4 hours, £1.90 (£1.80); 9 hours, £3.10 (£2.90).

• Union Street: 1 hour, £1.10 (£1); 2 hours, £1.60 (£1.50); 3 hours, £2.60 (£2.40).

The Market Place one-hour increase would be greater than inflation, the document says, to reflect the car park’s location and utilisation, and it recommends that the three-hour price on South Street and Princes Road should be increased in line with Union Street to reflect similar usage patterns.

The price of a parking permit in the Tucker Street car park is proposed to be increased from £270 to £372, phased in over three or four years.

Wells county councillor Tessa Munt criticised the proposed increases. She said: “I’m really concerned that the administration at Mendip hasn’t set out a strategy at all, it has written a report to justify hiking its car parking charges. If car parking costs rise, our residential roads will become more choked with cars, then shops and businesses will suffer as people go elsewhere where parking is cheaper or free.”