Capturing the serial killer ‘Car Parking’. Business AND Jobs under fire.
What an earth might you think I am saying? Well if you listen to businesses within our town centres one after another will say car parking policies are killing our towns and in May 2nd prices hiking again!
Way back in 2011 our current Mayor promised an end to anti- car policies in his Mayoral Candidate booklet. Yet in 2012 the business community rose up to shout about car parking with John Doherty of Torquay Town Centre quoting ‘car parking policy is killing town centres’ and then move on to 2015 and the same cry is made by Keith Williams of Brixham Chamber of Commerce ‘car parking killing our town centres’.
Numerous businesses have closed in our town centres and others are in this killers sights!
Over and again I am asked about regeneration plans but until the hurdles of business are acknowledged and solutions are found, the footfall will decline and no regeneration will come. We now need the capture of this serial killer and unfortunately some resurrection as businesses have closed!
It is time that business people are heard and a solution implemented. Move in the ‘Welcoming Bay’ plan
In 2013 I actually presented a solution to council named the ‘Welcoming Bay. A solution to the number one complaint by business, residents and visitors. Car parking policy driving out the shopper rather than driving them in.
Unfortunately although given the green light to trial, the scheme was hijacked without proper implementation.
Many of you will know that I have a business in tourism. This is a quote from guests of mine as I’ve carried out surveys on parking within the bay and the effect it was having on business.
Quote: Car parking prices encouraged us to stay in places for limited times and to avoid main areas.
That is simply disastrous for Brixham businesses!!!
I have presented the solution to the Brixham Chamber of Commerce. Taken from ideas from other areas in the country. It has the ability to drive down prices rather than drive the customer out. Indeed the ability to implement a supplementary scheme that can make it feel like free parking. The holy grail – good for business, resident, visitor and council.
In 2013 I visited Eastbourne. I stayed at a B&B who provided me with a car parking pass for my stay. In the morning I asked if I could get another pass, requesting where this could be obtained. The owner said here, at your B&B. I asked how much would it be for the day pass. He replied £1!!!
As I drove home I pondered this concept of purchasing a car parking pass at the accommodation provider. I wondered how this could be implemented and improved for Our Torbay. What if they could be charged an amount that could be used as a ticket to hop around the bay rather than hopping out of it at present?
Returning home I decided to carry out a survey with all my guests. I asked them to speak about the issues of car parking for them – which were high prices, limiting time staying in a place, even going out of the bay, the fear of parking tickets.
I asked them what they thought of the concept of purchasing a ticket that covered the duration of their stay – almost unanimous approval.
I asked them how much they would be prepared to pay for each day – ranging from £6 down to £2.
I contacted our main promoter of the day (ERTC) and asked how many bed nights we sell each year. I found out this to be around 4.5 million.
I wondered if we targeted just one third of these (1.5 million) how much would be raised if we charged 2 pounds out of season and 3 pounds in season. That would amount to £4 million – more than the total raised from the car parking within council carparks at present and not including any from residents or day visitors. As the council makes now profit if such a scheme could be set up, it has the ability to drive prices down for the residents as well for shorter stay – could be as low as £1 and free at times.
I then wondered if businesses would join in with actually offering to pay the small price of the car parking ticket for resident staying for an hour or two. Indeed if you went shopping in Newton Abbott in the new Asda store you pay £1 for the parking there with Asda refunding if you shop with them. Such ideas are already being used in Babbacombe Bay and Brixham to a lesser extent.
That would mean effectively free parking for their shopper – certainly would take on the outer town centres.
So we become THE welcoming Bay -welcoming to visitors – welcoming to residents – welcoming to business.
The serial killer caught. A better Brixham, Paignton, Torquay and Torbay.
If you want these kind of solutions, please vote Brook on May 7th for a fresh new look.