Agenda item

Report of the Head of Commercial and Economic Development - Mote Park Car Park Charging Review


The Head of Commercial and Economic Development presented the report on income generation at the Mote Park car park, and put forward reasons for the projected shortfall in income compared to the original targets set in February 2016.


It was explained that:


·  Charging for parking in Mote Park was one part of a package of measures designed to generate income and reduce the financial impact of the parks service on the Council’s budget.


·  In February 2016, when the decision to implement charges was made, the target income was estimated at £171,400. This estimate was based upon research that anticipated 385,000 cars using the car park in one year.


·  Income had been lower than expected. Officers recognised that the income target should have been lower for the first year of operation in order to monitor performance, and this understanding would be taken forward and applied to new commercial projects. Reasons for the projected shortfall included:


-  The income target required each parking space to be filled twice in one day;

-  The number of paying customers varied depending on the season;

-  The original income calculations did not include free parking before 10 a.m., and subsequently this was not factored into the financial projections.


The Parking Services Manager informed the committee that:


·  There had previously been an issue with the Car Park being used by commuters. Prior to the implementation of charges the gates to the Park were locked until 9 a.m. in an effort to tackle the issue.


·  Advanced ticket purchasing, which would allow someone to buy a ticket during the free period to cover the paid period, would mean that someone could park between 10.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. for £1 even if they originally parked at 7.00 a.m. This would reduce parking availability throughout the day for other visitors.


During discussion Members raised the following points:


·  Altering or removing free parking before 10.00 a.m. would affect early morning park users such as dog walkers and joggers.


·  An increase in the charge for parking would be simple to implement and would raise income. Work should be undertaken to ascertain the most viable charge that could be implemented.


·  Use of the car park was expected to increase with the opening of the Adventure Zone. Further analysis on the relationship between the Adventure Zone and the Car Park was required.


·  Members stated that it had been understood when the decision was made that the income generated would be put back into Mote Park, however it was noted that a contribution had also been budgeted to be made to the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy. The Head of Commercial and Economic Development explained that the contribution prevented the committee from having to make cuts to the Parks budget.


RESOLVED: That the report be deferred to the meeting of the committee taking place on 29 November 2016 to address the points raised, and to be considered alongside a report on the Adventure Zone.


For – 7  Against  - 0  Abstain - 0


Supporting documents: