Parking in Camberley

Now one of the most controversial issues you can get in local government is that of parking and this week sees the Council Exec consider two issues on Tuesday night .

The first item recommends that we replace the Pay on Foot system at Main Square and Knoll Road at a cost of £213k with a newer version.  This is probably a good idea despite the cost as the alternative is to go back to a pay and display system where you have to guess the length of your stay and pay up-front.

The second item recommends that we take over from SCC in doing the on-street parking enforcement as SCC have decided that they don’t want to do it any more.  The interesting aspect of this appears to be that it only seems to make financial sense for Surrey Heath if we get bad parking across the borough and thereby generate lots of penalty notices (i.e. fines!) The worry here is whether parking officers will get a ticket target for their work..

Whilst there is a role for enforcement, I think that most residents when faced with bad parking in their street just want the cars removed and a longer-term solution found.  Issuing a few tickets here and there may deter some but is only one short-term solution.

The real issue here is that the system for parking charges has not been right for a long time.  Last year, the parking income was around £1.6m which sounds great but unfortunately was the lowest level since at least 2001/02.  We also have many people who park in residential roads all day and walk 10 or 15 minutes each way rather than paying to use the car parks.

Perhaps now is the time for a more radical solution used by planes and trains.  Their pricing model involves putting up the prices at popular times and heavily discounting at off-peak times. So for car parks, an option is to put the prices up at Christmas and other times when it is packed but in return on cold wet dreary mornings, we push the prices down instead.  Controversial? Probably…but at least worth considering in technology times.

The other aspect is the car parking income basically pays towards some of the other Council services.  People hate the idea of paying the Council any money but if it clearly goes to services that your parents may use, they might well be slightly less cross – worth a thought….

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3 thoughts on “Parking in Camberley

  1. Paul Deach (@PaulDeach)

    Rodney

    I am delighted you have decided to start a blog. It can only be a good thing for local democracy.

    Furthermore I applaud your stance on moderation and setting out what will be tolerated and what will not.

    As the moderator of this blog you have the final say as to what gets pushed through and what does not and as someone who spends a fair amount of time moderating my own blogs, I fully support that.

    If you ever have any questions about WordPress please let me know. I have spent a great deal of time figuring it out and I have become quite conversant with most if not all its features.

    Well done for taking the plunge.

    I honestly hope we can have a beer after a political debate some day.

    Reply
  2. Tim

    Interestingly, Bagshot has had a pay and display car park now for a while. Close to the town centre, there is a time limit on parking. It will be useful to know (a) how many people ignore the time limits (b) how often a parking attendant is in Bagshot (c) how many tickets have been issued (d) what effect has the pay and display made to the local businesses. You may remember that Railtrack / British Rail in Bagshot decided to charge for parking. Fairly soon after, they had to abandon the scheme, as so few people parked in the car park.

    Introducing a weighted scheme for peak times may radically reduce the numbers of people who are visiting Camberley. I appreciate Surrey Council must generate income, but we already are paying high taxes in fuel duty, road tax … without making the motorist suffer even more financial hardship.

    Reply
    1. rodneybates

      Tim, I suspect that the answers are as follows: (a) Lots of people (b) Not very often as the main focus would be Camberley Town Centre and their car parks. (c) Not many. The interesting answer would however relate to (d) to which I don’t know. The reason it is brought in was because it still costs the Council to run a free car park and also the theory goes that it would encourage more customer turnover to local businesses as the best spots are not taken by people who just park there all day. However, I do agree and have regularly pointed out that people simply do not want to pay for parking and change their behaviour accordingly hence the problem at Bagshot Station and elsewhere. The key is to find the balance where people then rechange their behaviour which means pitching the cost at a value where it makes sense for them to park safely nearby rather than walk 15 minutes each way to their car.

      A weighted scheme at peak time may result in some people not using Camberley but that may not be a bad thing if it means reduced queueing into the car parks and also coupled with reduced daytime charges to reattract those who park for nothing elsewhere. The fuel duty and road tax concerns are fair enough but outside the control of Surrey Heath. Would people really get so upset if we put up parking to £1 an hour on Saturdays rather than 80p without any Christmas discounts? I am not sure many will especially if we reduced the daytime rate to say £2 or £3 a day during the week on our emptier floors rather than the £5/£6 we expect people to pay at present.

      Reply

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