Venue: Conference Chamber West (FR1-09), West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3YU
Contact: Christine Brain: Democratic Services Officer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Simon Brown, Simon Cole, Diane Hind and Lisa Ingwall-King.
Any Member who is substituting for another Member should so indicate, together with the name of the relevant absent Member.
The following substitution was declared:
Councillor Pat Hanlon substituting for Councillor Diane Hind.
Councillor Victor Lukaniuk substituting for Councillor Lisa Ingwall-King.
Members of the public who live or work in the District are welcome to speak and may ask one question or make a statement of not more than three minutes duration relating to items to be discussed in Part 1 of the agenda only. If a question is asked and answered within three minutes, the person who asked the question may ask a supplementary question that arises from the reply.
A person who wishes to speak must register at least 15 minutes before the time the meeting is scheduled to start.
There is an overall limit of 15 minutes for public speaking, which may be extended at the Chair’s discretion.
Prior to hearing from public speakers, and receiving the report, the Chair outlined the procedure for this particular Extraordinary Overview and Scrutiny meeting.
The following members of the public then spoke under this agenda item:
1. Frank Stennett, a local businessman from Bury St Edmunds and as a West Suffolk resident, made a general statement in connection with the Parking Review Report. He stated that due to climate change the owners of all environmentally friendly vehicles should be allowed to park for free, as well as blue badge holders.
2. Mark Skinner, a local businessman representing Brandon traders,addressed the Committee in connection with the Parking Review Report. Mr Skinner owned a funeral business for over 30 years and he believed bringing in parking charges would be the final nail in coffin for Brandon. He identified that Brandon did not have national brand traders and understood traders were struggling to pay bills. Mr Skinner raised concern that parking charges would also reduce footfall to the town and if people had to pay £1 to park in the High Street they would not stay in the town. Whilst Mr Skinner welcomed traffic wardens in the town, he asked the Committee to please reconsider proposals to charge and suggested speaking with the people of Brandon. He summed up by stating a petition had been set up, which had over 2,000 signatures which was against charging in Brandon.
3. Eddie Stewart, a resident from Brandon, addressed the Committee in connection with the Parking Review Report. He had lived in Brandon for over 30 year and was a District Councillor for Forest Heath District Council for 12 years. He explained that bring in parking charges would not improve the viability of Brandon. He believed staff working in Brandon would be affected by parking charges and asked the Committee to consider the potential displacement of traffic to side roads.
4. Mark Cordell, Chief Executive Officer from Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District who represented over 400 business in Bury St Edmunds, made a statement in connection with the Parking Review report. He acknowledged there had not been any parking increases over several years and the reduction of Government grants but highlighted that 2019 was the worst footfall in the town for several years. He felt parking tariffs discriminate against the low paid and that some of the proposed increases in rates in the report were 50-60%. He believed the proposal to remove the free from 3 parking initiative was disappointing. Mr Cordell highlighted the flexi park trial and had been in regular conversations with the Cabinet Member for Operations, Councillor Peter Stevens, about this. He felt there were some good proposals in the report but would suggest deferral or that they were gradually introduced over a three-year period.
5. James Sheen, founder of We Love Bury St Edmunds, made a statement in connection with the Parking Review Report. He advised that a petition was running asking for two free days parking across West ... view the full minutes text for item 46.
Report and Recommendations from the West Suffolk Parking Review Group
The Chair of the Review Group, who was also the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee gave a general introduction into the work which was carried out by the Review Group. The group had met nine times and at the conclusion of its remit, produced the attached report for the Committee’s consideration and onward recommendation to Cabinet.
The Committee received Report No: OAS/WS/20/003, which provided the findings of the Parking Review Group set up by the Committee on 11 July 2019 with the following Terms of Reference:
1) To review national/local trends and evaluate the current performance of the parking service across all locations including usage, condition of the car parks, the quality of service delivery, enforcement, parking incentives and customer feedback.
2) To develop strategic aims and objectives for parking in West Suffolk with local parking plans aligned with on-street provision.
3) To consider the imminent service changes arising from the implementation of Civil Parking Enforcement and the impact on parking behaviour.
4) To consider current levels of occupancy, future capacity projections and any interventions that may be needed now and over the long term.
5) To assess park and walk and the flexible payment system currently being trailed in Bury St Edmunds.
6) To review car park tariffs for the period of the Medium-Term Financial Strategy, backed by consultation
7) To identify service improvement and efficiencies
This review had been commissioned by the Cabinet Member for Operations to review parking in West Suffolk.
The report set out in detail the background and context; user research; stakeholder engagement; benchmarking; usage and financial profiles; parking capacity; on-street parking; aims and objectives for the parking service and key principles.
Attached to the report were a number of appendices, namely:
- Appendix 1 – List of car parks
- Appendix 2 – User research
- Appendix 3 – Tariff comparisons
- Appendix 4 – Car parking cost by town
- Table 1 – Draft Town Plans and recommendations
- Table 2 – Proposed tariff charges to leisure and community car parks
The recommendations of the Review Group were contained in Section 10
of report and tables 1 and 2.
The Chair invited Councillor David Palmer, Ward Member for Brandon West to address the Committee in respect of this item. Councillor Palmer thanked the Committee for allowing him to speak. His presentation to the Committee was backed by a petition to not introduce parking charges in Brandon. He explained that only 28 responses were received as part of the consultation in Brandon out of 10,000 residents. He felt there was no correlation with parking charges and the health of the town centre. Two shops had recently closed in the high street and there was no longer a bank in Brandon. Brandon was the most deprived town in West Suffolk. Councillor Palmer welcomed the provision for two electric vehicle charging points in George Street car park but believed any parking tariffs introduced would adversely affect Brandon and local residents by reducing footfall. He ... view the full minutes text for item 47.