Torbay Parking review juggles increasing footfall with keeping cash
TORBAY Council runs 39 car parks as well as 96 pay and display machines on the streets of the resort.
In a year the council expects to make around £1.1million from on-street parking, selling around 760,000 tickets, and car parks make around £3.7million, selling approximately 1.9million tickets.
The review comes after a number of public meetings held with Chambers of Trade, Federation of Small Business, Community Partnership representatives and Torbay Town Centres Company and traders last summer.
The report to tomorrow's transport working party states: "During these constructive meetings it was evident charges were the main concern. In particular they felt charges were too high, inflexible and deterred town centre shoppers and commuters. At these meetings many ideas were presented by stakeholders, some of which are included in this report."
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Councillors also surveyed public opinion during the year.
The review is designed to increase footfall in town centres. It does not deal with parking enforcement or parking strategies.
It aims to offer cheaper parking charges, in particular for residents during the quieter winter months, but also to maintain the council's income at a time when it is facing huge budget cuts over a five-year period affecting front line services.
Income from on-street meters is ring-fenced for traffic management initiatives and Torbay Council is using it to offset some of the rising costs of the concessionary bus fares for the over 60s.
Car park income pays for car parks and any surplus is put back into the council's overall budget and can be used in the same way as council tax income.
Currently all car parks have the same charging structure to make it easier for customers and to ensure tickets can be transferred between car parks.
Income for the wettest year since records began is down across Devon, says the report, because of the impact of the recession and Euro crisis and rising fuel costs with people worried about their jobs.
Last year Torbay agreed to charge for more on-street parking areas which increased its income.
But the use of parking spaces depends on the time of year, the school holidays, and the weather as well as events such as Fishstock in Brixham which led to a huge increase in usage though charges remained unchanged.
The transport working party is being held today at 4pm at the town hall.