Bath & North East Somerset Council
Cllr Charles Gerrish, Cabinet Member for Customer Services
On or after 28th June 2008
Evening charges in Council car parks
EXECUTIVE FORWARD PLAN REFERENCE:
All [especially Abbey and Kingsmead]
AN OPEN PUBLIC ITEM
List of attachments to this report:
Appendix 1 - previous and current tariffs and charges
Appendix 2 - proposed tariffs and charges
1 THE ISSUE
1.1 This report sets out changes to be made for off street parking in Bath, following the Cabinet Member for Customer Services' decision (reference E1715) to modify parking regulations.
The Cabinet member is asked to agree that:
2.1 Charges be made for evening parking at Charlotte Street and Avon Street car parks as set out in section 4 of this report.
2.2 An amendment to the Off Street (Parking Places) Order 2007 be advertised to alter the existing tariff charges and periods for Charlotte Street and Avon Street Car Parks as proposed in Appendix 2 of this report and to implement these as advertised.
3 FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
3.1 In 2007/08 the gross external income from off street parking was £4.9m. The introduction of charging in Bath City car-parks from 7-8pm was expected to raise a further £157k per annum.
3.2 The revised proposal set out in this paper is, in the Charlotte Street and Avon Street Car Parks, to introduce a flat rate charge of £1 for all car parking from 6pm to midnight for a trial period, but to leave the other Bath City car-parks unaffected. This reduction in the current income from charges between 6pm and 8pm is expected to reduce income relative to the budget assumptions by c£190k.
3.3 Revenue from the new replacement £1 charge is difficult to predict, as it depends on choices that drivers will make between on-street, and off-street locations. The actual revenue will be kept under review, but a reasonable estimate at this stage is c£140k.
3.4 In addition the council is improving the efficiency of enforcement measures in relation to both on-street and off-street parking. Assumptions in relation to on-street parking have already been taken account of in the budget, but further efficiency in enforcement at off-street locations is expected to raise up to £100k in a full year.
3.5 The cost of re-programming the payment machines at both sites is estimated at £800, which will be met from within the parking revenue budget.
3.6 The overall financial impact of the proposed changes is therefore expected to at least break even relative to budget assumptions, taking account of improvements in the efficiency of enforcement as well as the changes themselves.
4 THE REPORT
4.1 The Cabinet Member for Customer Services considered a report (E1715) "Residents & Controlled Parking (Off Street Parking Places) TRO" and decided on 14th March 2008 that the Off Street (Parking Places) Order 2007 be amended to alter the:
- prices of the various permits and allocations as proposed in 7.1 to 7.4 of the report and if no objections were received, to implement as advertised.
- existing tariff charges and conditions as proposed in 7.5 to 7.8 of the report and to implement as advertised.
4.2 The report informing this decision recommended, in paragraph 7.6.2, "to remove the reduction in tariff for Sundays and introduce a seven day tariff to apply throughout the year from 8am each morning to 8pm each evening." This has been achieved by means of the Tariff Regulation Order.
4.3 The report went on to state (in paragraph 7.6.3) that "In Bath, we do not charge for parking in car parks after 6pm." However, paragraph 7.6.4. recommended that we "change the time at which car park charges cease to from 7pm to 8pm."
4.4 There is an error in the above quoted statements - paragraph 7.6.3 should have stated that "In Bath, we do not charge for parking in car parks after 7pm." Further, the report is silent on what the charges should be after 7.00 pm.
4.5 It would therefore be helpful to now recommend a decision which would clarify the earlier decision in terms of times at which charges will now apply and the tariff for these charges.
4.6 Furthermore, since the above decision was made, a significant number of representations (in addition to the comments made by the Overview & Scrutiny panel which considered the call-in of the earlier decision) have been made asking that the Cabinet Member review the decision to charge after 7.00pm. The earlier consultation process did not accurately identify the concerns of the business and cultural sectors about the impact an extension to charging in the evening would have.
4.7 It should be noted that parking is free of charge on single yellow line restrictions after 6.00pm and that on-street pay and display charging ceases at 6.00pm, providing a good supply of free parking in the evening and residents of the central zone may use their permits to park without charge in these car parks from 5.30 pm to 10.00am (zone 6 resident permit holders may park without charge in Charlotte St from 5.30pm to 10.00am). There are no plans to alter these arrangements.
4.8 In order to alleviate the negative impacts of this change which have been brought to the Cabinet Member's attention and in order to support both social and evening economy activity within the city centre, it is intended to introduce a trial period during which a new approach to parking charges can be assessed.
4.9 During the trial period, the charge periods for both Avon Street and Charlotte Street Car Parks will be amended so that after 6.00pm a £1.00 tariff will apply until midnight (7 days a week). The expected benefits of this are that it will increase the availability of low cost off street parking from an earlier point in the evening thereby providing social and economic benefits. The £1.00 charge is to cover the cost of parking enforcement patrols and to offset the loss of revenue caused by lowering the tariff between 6pm and 7pm.
4.10 The expected start date for the trial is 1st September which is the earliest available date after allowing for adequate consultation, the democratic decision making process, the changes to the pay equipment and for adequate publicity of the change to take place. The actual date will be determined by the date of any decision and will be confirmed in publicity provided prior to the start of the trial. It is proposed that the trial will last until 31st March 2009 to enable data to be collected about summer and winter parking patterns and so that consideration of the future tariff can be made as part of the emerging strategy (see paragraph 6.2) and a decision can then be made whether to apply the revised regime across all car parks in Bath.
4.11 The original and recently introduced (current) tariffs & charge periods are stated in Appendix 1 to this report. If approved the changes to the Off Street (Parking Places) Order 2007 will be as stated in Appendix 3.
5 RISK MANAGEMENT
5.1 The report author and Cabinet member have fully reviewed the risk assessment related to the issue and recommendations, in compliance with the Council's decision making risk management guidance.
5.2 The Council operates a "six month rule" (PART 4(D) - rule 17) which states that the Cabinet will not consider any matter which it has already considered within the previous 6 months unless:
(1) the matter is coming to the Cabinet as part of a report from an Officer, an Overview and Scrutiny body or a Committee of the Council;
5.3 This matter is coming to the Cabinet as a report from an Officer.
6.1 The recent decision (E1715) sought to address the anomaly of Sunday car parking charge reductions and evening parking demand against a background of increased Sunday and evening trading activity. It is however clear from recent representations that the changes introduced may be better dealt as part of a longer (medium) term review of the overall parking strategy. It is therefore proposed to amend the evening charge period for Charlotte Street and Avon Street car parks to better reflect the needs of businesses and other organisations who feel they may be adversely affected, pending consultation on the wider parking strategy (which is required under the recently introduced Traffic Management Act).
6.2 The Council is constantly seeking to correct any anomalies and seek improvements to the management of parking demand within the area. As part of this on-going process a review is underway, assisted by specialist parking consultants, which is examining the role and strategy for car parking in relation to the medium and long term objectives of the Council.
6.3 A fundamental feature of the Council's emerging parking strategy is that it should underpin Community Strategy and Corporate Plan objectives. The objective of this trial is to ensure that the Council identifies solutions to parking demand management within the sustainable economy and sustainable transportation objectives of the Council and to ensure that this is achieved within a stable financial environment.
6.4 In accordance with good practice recommended by Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004, consultation is planned on the overall parking strategy for the authority and the findings of the trial will be evaluated as part of that process.
7 OTHER OPTIONS CONSIDERED
7.1 To continue as now (i.e. no change) - this would be likely to have an adverse effect on the evening economy of Bath.
7.2 To revert to the previous charging regime (i.e. full rate up to 7.00pm, then free parking) - this would conflict with the rationale that informed the decision to extend the hours of charging at Council car parks (see paragraph 6.1) and would fail to respond to representations made to the Council since the introduction of the new charges.
7.3 Charge a nominal (e.g. less than £1.00) tariff after 6.00pm - this would place a financial pressure on the Council and not be consistent with long-term transportation objectives of encouraging a modal shift in vehicle use.
8.1 Cabinet members; Overview & Scrutiny Panel (call-in of earlier decision); Other B&NES Services; Service Users; representations by Local Residents and Businesses; Other Public Sector Bodies; Section 151 Finance Officer; Chief Executive; Monitoring Officer
8.2 Consultation undertaken with respect to the original decision was set out in the report for that decision. Representations made by local businesses and residents have influenced this decision which follows discussion by the Cabinet.
8.3 Consultation on this proposal is planned with a range of representative organisations.
9 ISSUES TO CONSIDER IN REACHING THE DECISION
9.1 Customer Focus; Corporate; Health & Safety; Other Legal Considerations
10 ADVICE SOUGHT
10.1 The Council's Monitoring Officer (Council Solicitor) and Section 151 Officer (Strategic Director - Support Services) have had the opportunity to input to this report and have cleared it for publication
Matthew Smith, 01225 39 6888
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