St Edmonsbury BC March 2007

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    St Edmundsbury Car Parking Report 2006-7

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    Car Parking Report 2006-7

    1. Introduction

    Welcome to St Edmundsbury Borough Councils second annual car parking report.This report highlights the developments, both on-street and off-street, in thecouncils parking service during the last financial year, details the impact of theservice and sets out future developments.

    In Haverhill, the main impact has been around additional parking and the start of theimplementation of the masterplan for the town. In Bury St Edmunds, the changeshave mainly related to the Cattle Market development in the centre of the town.There have also been important changes to the administration of the service.

    In addition, the report also contains a section on the principles of charging.

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    2. Off-street parking

    2.1 Background

    The borough council is the main provider of public off-street parking in both Bury StEdmunds and Haverhill. The council operates nine car parks in the centre of Bury StEdmunds and five in Haverhill. All of these car parks operate on a pay and displaybasis for part of each day. The exceptions to this are Risbygate Street in Bury, whichis for disabled badge holders and motorcycles only, and the Rose and Crown inHaverhill, which is free.

    Outside of the town centres there are also charges at Bury St Edmunds LeisureCentre and Hardwick Heath. The council also manages other car parks such asVinery Road, East Town Park, Nowton Park and the staff car park at Western Way.

    2.2 Parking activityThe location, capacity and charges for the council car parks are shown at AppendixA. New charges were introduced across the borough on 3 April 2006. The charges inthe former Prospect Row car park were changed on 1 October so that it could beintegrated with the St Andrews Street South car park. Together, they form the newCattle Market car park. The charges were set after detailed consideration of the likelyimpact of the Cattle Market development and comparison with charges in othersimilar towns. Attached at Appendix B are details of the paid for events at each ofthe car parks and the income together with a comparison for last year.

    The Cattle Market development is being partly constructed on former car parks andhas resulted in the loss of around 520 parking spaces. This accounts for thesignificant change in the pattern of parking events in the St Andrews Street Southcar park.

    The car parks were also renamed as detailed below. These changes were made inanticipation of the introduction of variable message signing (VMS):

    Former name New nameSt Andrews Street South/ Prospect Row Cattle MarketParkway (surface and decked) Parkway

    Robert Boby Way Robert BobySt Andrews Street North St AndrewsRam Meadow Ram MeadowShire Hall Shire HallRisbygate Street/ Nelson Road RisbygateLower Baxter Street Lower Baxter

    2.3 Excess chargesExcess Charge Notices (ECNs) are issued for offences in the car parks. These include

    where no ticket is displayed, a driver has parked outside a marked bay or their tickethas expired. The excess charge increased on 3 April 2006 to 50 (discounted to 20

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    if paid within seven days). Previously the charge was 40 (discounted to 12 forearly payment).

    In 2006-7, St Edmundsbury issued 10,658 ECNs, of which 1400 were waived eitheron appeal or the vehicle owner could not be traced. A new policy on appeals against

    excess charges was introduced and included an important change to the grounds forappeal. ECNs are no longer cancelled if they have been issued for the offence offailure to display and a valid ticket is later produced. Details of the grounds forappeal are set out at Appendix C.

    2.4 New developmentsTown Hall car park, Haverhill

    The new 100 space annexe

    (formerly the Cleales site) to theTown Hall car park in Haverhillopened on 25 September 2006. Thisprovides important additionalparking in the centre of town. Thecontinued growth of Haverhill hasput pressure on the existing towncentre parking resource.

    Ehringshausen Way , Haverhill

    Work started on the Jubilee Walk environmental enhancement scheme in Haverhill.This project includes alterations to the neighbouring Ehringshausen Way car park. Aspart of the project, the disabled bays are being remodelled and the car parkcompletely resurfaced.

    Haverhill Leisure Centre

    Work began on constructing a new 96-space car park on former tennis courts next tothe leisure centre in Haverhill. This was carried out in anticipation of the proposedmulti-screen cinema to be built next to the leisure centre.

    Car park signing

    A programme to roll out new house signs to all thecouncil car parks began with the annexe to the TownHall car park.

    Sunday charges

    Charges for parking on Sunday were introduced tomost car parks in Bury St Edmunds on 3 April 2006(see Appendix A for details). The charges, whereapplicable, are 20p an hour between 10am and 4pm.

    At the same time charges were introduced in on-street areas between 1pm and 4pm.

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    Cattle Market development, Bury St Edmunds

    The Cattle Market development has had an impact on the main short stay car park inBury St Edmunds. Construction began on site in December 2006, but before this,

    major alternations needed to be made to the existing car parks. Other work alsoneeded to be carried out. This included changing the routes of electricity cables andwater mains, integrating the car parks at St Andrews Street South and Prospect Row,making redundant areas available for car parking, changing entrance and exitarrangements and removing unnecessary parking equipment.

    During these works as many parking spaces as possible were kept available to thepublic. As a result, there was some disruption caused to some of the people who usethe car parks. The council is grateful for their patience during this time.

    Risbygate Street car park, Bury St Edmunds

    Around half of the spaces in the Risbygate Street car park were allocated to theCattle Market development. Because the disabled spaces on the former St AndrewsStreet South car park were lost, the remaining spaces on the Risbygate car parkhave been allocated to blue badge holders only, together with an area for motorcycleparking.

    Ram Meadow extension, Bury St Edmunds

    The coach and bus parking area at the RamMeadow car park in Bury St Edmunds hasbeen converted to car parking. This new areaalso includes some larger bays specifically forthe use of mobile homes. These have beenwidely welcomed by touring visitors who havepreviously had difficulty finding large enoughparking spaces and received extensivepositive publicity through the specialist press.

    Coach parking has been relocated to the lorrypark on the eastern side of the town.

    Variable message signs (VMS), Bury St Edmunds

    In December 2006 a series of variable message signs were installed in Bury StEdmunds. These cover the main public car parks and give drivers up-to-dateinformation on the availability and location of parking in the town. The data thissystem records will also help plan future developments in car parking as it will enablethe council to monitor peak periods more effectively and trigger appropriateinterventions to deal with parking shortages.

    In order to introduce these signs in time for the peak Christmas parking demandperiod a temporary control arrangement was put in place. This resulted in someinitial teething problems, but these have now mostly been resolved and the system

    has proved very resilient in operation.

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    Seasonal park and ride, Bury St Edmunds

    The temporary park and ride service introduced in conjunction with the annualChristmas Fayre was extended to all Saturdays in December 2006 to reflect the extra

    demand for parking at this time. The service operated from two sites between 10amand 6pm. A single site operation also ran on the two Saturdays of the Februaryschool half term holiday and a further operation for Easter 2007 is planned.

    The impact of these services is currently being assessed to determine the operationalbenefit of this provision.

    St Edmundsbury House, Bury St Edmunds

    The staff car park at St Edmundsbury House in Western Way was under increasingpressure from unauthorised parking. This included use by the staff of other

    businesses in the area, college students and visitors to nearby sports facilities. Thiswas resulting in inconvenience to staff and visitors. As a result, a traffic regulationorder was introduced to prevent unauthorised parking between 8am and 4pm onMonday to Friday. Outside of these hours, the car park is available to the public.

    Olding Road Car Park, Bury St Edmunds

    The first phase of the Public Service Village at Western Way will result in the loss ofmost of the existing car parking on this site. To accommodate staff needs, a new carpark has been constructed on Olding Road (behind the existing building). This payand display car park will also be available to the public.

    Park Mark award, Parkway multi-storey, Bury St Edmunds

    In January 2007, the Parkway multi-storey car park was given a Park Mark award.This is a national award made as part of the Safer Parking Scheme run by the BritishParking Association and local police forces. The award is made to car parks whichnot only satisfy safety criteria, but drivers also say they feel safe using.

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    3. On-street parking

    3.1 BackgroundThe council looks after three areas of charged on-street parking in Bury St Edmunds.The charges and hours of operation are set out below:

    Location Charging period Charges

    70p for up to 30 minutes

    1.10 for up to one hour

    Monday toSaturday8am to 6pm 2.10 for up to two hours

    Angel Hill

    Sunday1pm to 4pm

    20p an hour

    80p for up to 30 minutesMonday, Tuesday,

    Thursday and Friday8am to 6pm 1.30 for up to one hour

    Cornhill/ Buttermarket

    Sunday1pm to 4pm

    20p an hour

    20p for up to 30 minutes

    80p for up to one hour

    Monday to Saturday9am to 6pm

    2.00 for up to two hours

    South town centre

    Sunday1pm to 4pm

    20p an hour

    The number of on-street parking events which have taken place and the income theyhave generated is detailed in Appendix B.

    The council also manages eight residents parking zones in Bury St Edmunds and onein Haverhill.

    Bury St Edmunds

    Zone A South Brackland areaZone B Northgate StreetZone C Nelson Road

    Zone D South Town CentreZone E Castle RoadZone F Southgate Street areaZone G Broadway/ Mustow StreetZone H Victoria Street area (experimental)

    Haverhil l

    Zone A Eden Road/ Duddery Road/ Waveney Terrace

    Appendix D sets out the charges and number of permits issued for each zone. Thecharged areas and residents permit zones are administered by St Edmundsbury onbehalf of Suffolk County Council. The county council retains the income from theseschemes, less St Edmundsburys administration costs.

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    Sunday charges were introduced to the on-street charged areas at the same time asthe off-street car parks. The charges apply between 1pm and 4pm at a rate of 20pan hour.

    As agents to Suffolk County Council, the borough also deals with traffic managementissues in Bury St Edmunds. This often involves the introduction of waiting restrictionsor other changes to on-street parking arrangements.

    3.2 Residents parking schemesZone A South Brackland area, Bury St Edmunds

    As a result of concerns expressed to the council, a review of the days and hours ofoperation of this scheme was carried out. The majority of the respondents opted not

    to change the hours of operation or extend it to Sundays. Permit-only parking willcontinue to operate on Monday to Saturday between 10am and 4pm.

    Zone H Victoria Street area, Bury St Edmunds

    Residents of the Victoria Street area rely heavily on on-street parking for both theirneeds and those of their visitors. Commuters and students of the nearby collegehave also been parking in the area. In view of this pressure on parking, residentswere experiencing problems parking near their homes during the day. Followingdetailed consultation with the local community, an experimental residents parkingzone was introduced to Victoria Street and the neighbouring streets on 1 May 2006.This experimental scheme is being reviewed to determine if residents wish it to bemade permanent. A plan of the experimental zone is shown at Appendix E.

    North Brackland area, Bury St Edmunds

    The North Brackland area of Bury St Edmunds is similar to the Victoria Street areadiscussed above and attracts significant numbers of commuters looking to park allday for free. St Edmundsbury has been investigating the possibility of introducing aresidents parking scheme in this area. Early indications are that the residentssupport such a scheme. A plan of the area is included at Appendix F.

    3.3 On-street parking review

    Disabled parking bays

    In recognition of the increasing number of people with mobility problems who arevisiting Bury St Edmunds town centre, additional disabled bays have been providedon Angel Hill. These complement the spaces in the Risbygate car park (detailed in2.3 above).

    Local parking investigations

    Parking concerns have been investigated in the following locations (all in Bury StEdmunds):

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    Alicia CourtBarn LaneBeech RiseChalk Road

    Cotton Lane (two locations)Dettingen WayEastern WayGrove RoadHanover CloseHardwick LaneHigh Baxter StreetHospital RoadKings RoadMill RoadNorman Road

    Oliver RoadPhilip RoadRaingate StreetSpringfield RoadWell StreetWest RoadWestbury AvenueWestgate StreetYork Road

    3.3 On-street fundingFor a number of years, Suffolk County Council has invited bids for schemes to befunded from the surplus generated by on-street parking charges. In 20067 theborough council was successful in winning funding for the following initiatives:

    Christmas park and ride: 4500 towards the cost of operating a seasonal parkand ride in Bury St Edmunds at Christmas.

    Green travel coordinator: 15,000 contribution towards employing a green travelcoordinator to work, initially, on travel issues around the Public Service Village andCattle Market development.

    Kings Road one way scheme: 110,000 to implement the proposal to make KingsRoad in Bury St Edmunds one way between St Andrews Street South and ProspectRow.

    De-criminalised parking: 10,000 towards a feasibility study arounddecriminalising parking enforcement in the borough.

    Mildenhall Road pedestrian crossing: 20,000 for improvements to pedestriancrossing facilities in Mildenhall Road, Bury St Edmunds, near to the Somerfieldsupermarket.

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    Bury St Edmunds transport study: 25,000 for detailed studies around therecommendations arising from the Bury St Edmunds transport study.

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    4. Administration

    4.1 General

    The car parks service is managed by five administration staff (four full timeequivalents) supported by ten parking attendants (seven full time equivalents). Theservice cost 1,628,850 to run during 2006-7 (this includes all costs associated withthe car parks, such as asset rent and maintenance) and generated an income of2,892,233.

    4.2 Automated call handlingTo improve customer service an automated call handling system has been installedto enable 24 hour access to the payment system to settle excess charges. This has

    also significantly reduced staff call handling needs.

    4.3 Decriminalised parking enforcementDecriminalised parking enforcement involves the local authority taking over most ofthe police parking enforcement powers. A business case for the borough council totake on this role is currently being prepared and will be considered in detail by thecouncil shortly.

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    5. Principles of charging

    The provision of accessible, high quality car parking is animportant factor in the economic success of the towncentres of both Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill. The council

    recognises this and has invested significant capitalresources in the acquisition of land and the construction ofcar parks in the town centres.

    As a result, it is appropriate that a suitable return on thisinvestment is recovered from the people using the facilities.These people are not always residents of the borough. It isalso important to note that many of St EdmundsburysCouncil Tax payers are not car owners and would get nodirect benefit from the provision of free parking. A recentsurvey showed 87 percent of people think the car parks

    should be funded by those using them and not fromCouncil Tax.

    Charging also allows the council to manage the available car parking more efficiently.Free parking would see the commuters, office and shop workers, who access thetown earliest in the morning, taking the most prized spaces closest to the towncentre for the majority of the day. This would leave the less convenient car parks forshoppers and others who wish to visit the town for shorter periods. StEdmundsburys charging scale is calculated on the basis that the most convenient carparks have the highest prices for long periods and the less convenient the lowest.This encourages those who work in the town, and other long stay visitors, to use theless convenient car parks, leaving the car parks which are closer to the town centrefor shoppers and visitors who may be staying for shorter periods. Similar principlesare also applied to the charges for on-street parking which are set in consultationwith Suffolk County Council.

    Charging also encourages people to use other modes of transport, such as buses.

    The council offers discounted season tickets in its long stay car parks in both Bury StEdmunds and Haverhill for the benefit of those who may work in the towns.

    The surplus raised through parking charges is used to fund services such as closedcircuit television (CCTV), which St Edmundsbury would otherwise have to fund from

    additional Council Tax or not be able to provide.

    The charges for residents parking permits are set to reflect the cost of setting up,administering and enforcing the zones. These charges are regularly reviewed tomake sure that deficits do not occur. As there is no benefit to the wider community,residents parking zones are not subsidised from the general Council Tax fund.

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    6. Future initiatives

    Park and ride, Haverhill

    Alongside partners at Cambridgeshire County, Suffolk County and SouthCambridgeshire District councils, work into the travel patterns along the A1307between Haverhill and Cambridge has been carried out. Developing an express busservice is a possible initiative which would reduce traffic along this corridor. A studyinto the potential benefits and impact of such a service has been commissioned.

    Park and ride/ shuttle bus, Bury St Edmunds

    As a result of the Bury St Edmunds Transport Study, an investigation will be carriedout into the feasibility and implications of introducing a shuttle bus service. Thisservice would operate between key destinations (for example the town centre, West

    Suffolk Hospital and the Public Service Village in Western Way) and dedicated carparks on the edge of the town near to the A14 interchanges.

    Back off ice systems

    New software to improve administration will be introduced early in the new financialyear. This will integrate existing systems into a single system and provide moredetailed management information. As part of this programme, parking attendantswill be given new hand held devices to help with their enforcement activities. Thesewill mean more detailed information can be recorded about the offence. Thisadditional evidence will assist in dealing with excess charge appeals. New digitalcameras will also be issued to also help capture evidence of offences committed.

    Pay and display machines

    A number of the councils pay and display machines are reaching the end of theiruseful life. A programme of machine replacement has been approved and the roll outwill begin in Haverhill. Most of the councils machines will be replaced over the nextyear.

    Rose and Crown car park, Haverhill

    The Rose and Crown car park in Haverhill is currently free. Areas are allocated to the

    public, customers of the adjacent public house and staff at the nearby counciloffices. An investigation into the use and management of this car park will beundertaken with a view to improving the way it is used and the turn over of spaces.

    St Andrews car park, Bury St Edmunds

    As part of the car parking strategy adopted by the council in response to the CattleMarket development, the St Andrews car park will be converted to short stay.Currently it is a hybrid medium/ long stay car park.

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    New car park next to Haverhil l Leisure Centre

    The proposed multi-screen cinema in Haverhill will mean some of the existing leisurecentre car parking will be lost. A new car park is being constructed on redundanttennis courts and will open early in the new financial year.