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'More affordable' parking on its way for Torbay

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 09, 2013

Comments (8)

PARKING in Torbay should be run on more businesslike lines, with incentives and promotions to attract shoppers back into town, councillors have been urged.

Business people who have been campaigning for a fairer parking scheme in the Bay welcomed a recommendation to introduce a more affordable regime from April.

A major review was carried out by Torbay Council after traders said last summer that people were being driven away by charges and Draconian enforcement.

Councillors agreed to recommend Mayor Gordon Oliver to introduce some changes to the scales of parking charges, including a new monthly car park permit for all car parks at £40, and a residents' permit for free parking between 3pm and 10am for £50.

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The recommendations also include new on-street parking permits and cheaper winter parking.

Members of the transport working party also agreed to reintroduce half-hourly and hourly charges as people found the 20-minute, 40-minute, 80-minute time bands were confusing.

James Cross, chairman of Torquay Chamber of Trade, told members: "Thank you for listening. But I was disappointed that the review has just looked at cheaper charges.

"We were looking to create a win-win situation for us all, with parking working for us as a town and for you as a council, with your income going up. We would like to see it reviewed every six months.

"Let's work together and be more ambitious about where we can go with this."

Matthew Clarke, from Paignton Business Improvement District (BID), made several further suggestions including keeping Paignton Esplanade open except for the peak six summer weeks, reducing meter charges in areas such as Sands Road to £2 all day, delaying turning meters on in certain areas at 10am rather than 8am and increasing the areas where meter parking is free on Sundays.

He said the council should actively promote the residents' permit and make it easily available.

He wanted the 'no return' time limits removed from meters and motorists allowed and encouraged to feed the meters if they wanted to stay longer.

He said a designated commuters/workers level could be created in Victoria Square car park for £2 a day for permit holders.

He also called for that car park to be given priority for pay-on-exit equipment.

Arthur Christian, of Babbacombe Bay BID, said local businesses would applaud the moves to reduce charges and making charges less of a 'barrier' to visitors, commuters and shoppers.

He said: "By viewing off-road parking not primarily as a source of income but as a business proposition, it opens up significant prospects for all."

John Doherty, of the Torquay BID, said spaces in car parks needed selling and constant management.

"Nothing is sold without effort. Where is the option to pay by card, where is the option to top-up tickets, what is being done to remove the fear factor where people are intimidated and don't want the pressure of shopping in town because of the fear of an enforcement ticket?

"Where is the option for traders to contribute to customers' parking based on customer spend?"

The meeting agreed there should be quarterly meetings to review the system further.

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  • spindleshanks  |  February 13 2013, 2:45PM

    Having studied the proposals being put before council tonight 'd put money on tomorrow's headline in the Herald Express being "Torbay parking charges rise". The only thing proposed to go down is the cost of on-street parking during the Winter months.

  • sl4bber  |  February 10 2013, 11:10PM

    If the town car parks were free there wouldn't be a single space available for shoppers - every space would be taken by shop & office workers, and in town residents.

    |   1
  • iainwilliams  |  February 09 2013, 3:03PM

    You lot are deluded and when your local shops have been closed and turned into flats you will look back and see where it went wrong.

  • spindleshanks  |  February 09 2013, 12:28PM

    When is free not free? Doesn't anyone realise that it actually costs money to drive to an out of town retail complex where you can park for free? As fuel prices rise people will start waking up to that fact. So where's the real problem? Two words spring to mind - "convenience" and "necessity". I see both of them in play every week at Torbay Hospital where around 2pm most afternoons people are queuing in their cars to park in too few parking spaces and pay handsomely for the privilege when they do. The fact that people are there in their cars rather than using public transport is the "convenience" and the fact they are there at all is because they have to be, for whatever reason, out of "necessity". The problem with our town centres in Torbay is that there is little in the way of the necessities of life for people to have the need to visit them (like decent supermarkets for starters). Parking charges in that scenario are just easy thing to blame for each town's decline. Just be grateful we benefit from tourists who aren't that bothered by parking charges (or surprised if they get a parking ticket if they park on a double yellow), don't see the empty shops (they have them back home too) are still happy to spend their money in the ones that are still open and who are glad to get away from home where any number of mainstream employers are announcing redundancies and closures. Torquay town centre is a town of two halves and I'd put money on the bit serving tourism (i.e. harbourside and Fleet Street) weathering the demise of the high street far better than that serving the resident population. A case of "use it or lose it" and think twice before spending £5 in fuel driving to the Willows and back. If the council wants parking incentives how about free parking in the town centres November to February and charge for the other 9 months?

    |   2
  • ThatsYourWife  |  February 09 2013, 10:02AM

    Because businessmen don't like paying for things when they don't have to (they are not stupid either) they would each argue over who was really benefiting and who should pay more.

  • Cweed  |  February 09 2013, 9:44AM

    Out of town cars parks are not "free" someone somewhere has to pay for them. They are part of the overheads of the stores that operate there, in effect a small levy is put on every item sold to pay for the upkeep etc of the car park. Why can't town centres operate on the same principal where the car parks are put under the control, and paid for, by all the businesses that would benefit from the concept of "free parking".

    |   -2
  • Bleach  |  February 09 2013, 8:53AM

    Fine, you clean it, pay the electric bills then. For free. Then they'd *know* you're stupid.

    |   1
  • iainwilliams  |  February 09 2013, 7:33AM

    "Run more businesslike" really means make more money. Do Torbay council think we are stupid? Make it free, we demand it, it's the PUBLICS car park not the councils!!!

    |   -13



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