Options for car parking reforms revealed

(Pic: Barry Gem)

After a process that started in 2014, officers have finally drafted a set of recommendations to BCBC’s Cabinet for changes to car park management in Bridgend county (pdf).

The Current Situation

The report states that BCBC currently makes a £385,000 surplus from car parking charges, but the entire car parking management service has a £247,000 deficit. Ticket sales and revenues fell between 2012-2017 and fewer people are using BCBC-controlled car parks; the closure, demolition and rebuilding of the Rhiw multistorey being blamed.

The proposals listed below are expected to raise an additional £78,000 a year in revenues for BCBC but could require an additional £60,000 in one-off capital spending on top of £323,000 which has already been secured.

The Recommendations

Simplified car parking charges – Officers say the goal will be to balance demand with encouraging people into town centres for longer stays. Overall, that means parking under 1 hour will become more expensive, but parking for between 2-4 hours or more will get cheaper or stay the same price – with the exception of Rest Bay where the “all day” charge will be replaced with time-based charges to provide “greater flexibility”.

Here’s a full list of the proposed changes:

Click to enlarge

Extra long-stay spaces – In tandem with changes to parking charges, the Bridgend Bowls Centre and Tremains Road car park would be converted to long stay car parks; at the moment they have a mix of short and long stay spaces.

BCBC staff and member parking – Officers propose that the price of monthly staff parking passes increases by £1-per-month on an annual basis, but staff and elected members with dedicated parking spaces should pay £5-per-month more than other staff. It’s also recommended staff permit use is extended to cover Saturdays in order to encourage BCBC staff to use the town centre at weekends.

Residential parking permits – Proposals to introduce residents-only parking permits and spaces in parts of Bridgend and Porthcawl are to effectively start from scratch. There’ve been legal issues which have held up the proposals for several years.

Free BCBC car parks in Maesteg & Pencoed will remain free – Maesteg town centre car park, Maesteg Hospital, Penprysg Road (Pencoed) and Pencoed Park & Ride car parks will all remain free to use due to complicated covenants on land use as well as lease terms (BCBC were considering introducing charges).

Limited waiting along Porthcawl seafront – BCBC will start a consultation on introducing a maximum 2-hour waiting time (with no return within two hours) along Eastern Promenade, The Esplanade and West Drive to Mallard Way. This won’t apply to overnight parking.

Electric vehicle charging points in the Rhiw multistorey – Officers propose a pilot to provide electric charging spaces in Bridgend town centre; there are currently none at any council-run car park. It’s proposed that 4 charging points be provided at an estimated cost of £20,000, which could be funded by central government grants.

Ticket machine upgrades – 22 ticket machines are near their end-life and will need to be replaced. New machines will enable card/cashless payments and will also be Welsh language compliant. Cashless payment is said to be “one of the most asked for items by tourists visiting Porthcawl”. This will cost £85,000.

Charging for roadwork permits and out-of-hours vehicle recovery from BCBC car parks – Officers recommend charging £10 to issue dispensation notices for vehicles used to undertake work in areas which have parking restrictions, as well as giving consideration to charging owners to release vehicles which are “locked in” to car parks after closing time.

Community asset transfer of free car parks – BCBC is currently responsible for the maintenance of 18 free car parks. It’s recommended work starts of transferring them to town and community councils (where applicable and appropriate).

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