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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 27 July, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services

Car Park Charging Proposals - Phase 1

Purpose of the Report

1.    To advise Cabinet of the results of 'off-street'/'on-street' parking studies undertaken in the town centres of Barry and Cowbridge and to agree preferred options for charging for parking at these locations for 2015 / 2016.

 

2.    To agree changes to certain existing car park charges and Civil Parking Enforcement arrangements.

 

3.    To inform Cabinet of further potential options for increased revenue from car parking throughout the Vale of Glamorgan area.

Recommendations

1.    That Cabinet confirms the proposals for introducing off-street parking charges within the Barry and Cowbridge town centre car parks as described within this report.

 

2.    That Cabinet confirms the proposed amendments to the off-street seasonal parking charge regime as described within this report.

 

3.    That Cabinet agrees to maintain the current status and arrangements with regards to Resident Only parking and Disabled Parking Bay provision.

 

4.    That authority is granted to employ, through the Civil Parking Enforcement Partnership, an additional one permanent and one seasonal Civil Parking Enforcement Officer, to be funded from increased income from Penalty Charge Notices (PCN's).

 

5.    That further reports are provided to Cabinet in due course detailing all options for increased revenue generation from Car Parking throughout the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

6.    That this report is forwarded to the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee for their consideration and comment.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.    To enable the proposed off-street parking charges to be introduced within Barry and Cowbridge town centre car parks

 

2.    To enable the proposed amendments to the off-street seasonal parking charge regime to be implemented.

 

3.    To clarify the Local Highway Authority policy in connection with Resident Only parking and Disabled Parking Bay provision.

 

4.    To address the increase in enforcement demand arising from this report.

 

5.    To allow Cabinet to take decisions on future car park charging phases.

 

6.    To seek the input of the relevant Scrutiny Committee to any car park charging decisions.

Background

4.    The Cabinet Report of 25th February 2013 entitled 'Final Revenue Budget Proposals 2013/14 and Financial Strategy to 2016/17' indicated a number of proposed savings which included:

  • V1 Car Parking Full - roll out of town centre car parking charges £340k saving for 2013/14.
  • V7 On Street Parking Meters - new initiative to charge for on street parking at several locations. £100k for 2014/15.  However this was subsequently replaced by a different saving proposal.

5.    The implementation of the proposed savings in relation to town centre car parking charges has not yet been made resulting in a shortfall in car park income of some £350k for financial year 2014/15.  This was funded by a 'one off' budget transfer from the Policy and Central Energy recharge budgets. It is anticipated that there will be a further shortfall in 2015/16 as a result of additional works required to update the original Off Street/On Street Parking Study report. This delay to the implementation of charging will therefore only provide a part year effect on the 2015/16 budget which will likely leave a further shortfall in car park income of some £250k-£300k for which a budget will need to be identified. It is essential that the implementation of town centre car parking charges is now addressed to ensure that the proposed savings are realised and identified budget targets are met as soon as possible. This is particularly critical given the increasing financial challenges facing the Council over the next three years over which it is estimated that the Council will need to find savings of some £25 million.

Current Off-Street Seasonal Parking Charge Regime:

6.    The Council currently charges for parking at a number of its coastal car parks but does not charge at its town centre facilities, nor does the Council charge for on-street parking within town centres. The current coastal car parks where charges are made include; Harbour Road, Barry Island; Nells Point , Barry Island; Rivermouth, Ogmore-by-Sea; Brig-y-don, Ogmore-by-Sea; and Cymlau, Southerndown.

 

7.    The daily charges for parking at the above coastal car parks are seasonal and vary depending on the individual car park and month of the year. At present, vehicles displaying a disability badge park for free in all the car parks. The current tariffs for each car park during the summer season are summarised below:-

 

From 15 March to 30 September:

  • Rivermouth, Harbour Road, Cymlau, Nells Point and Brig-y-don:

ALL DAY parking prices (8am - 11pm)

 

0 - 1 hour            £1.00

1+ hours             £5.00

Buses/coaches   £10.00

 

ARRIVING AFTER 4pm parking prices (4pm - 11pm)

 

0 - 7 hour            £2.00

Buses/coaches   £5.00

 

* Blue badge holders are exempt / Solo Motorcycles are free of charge

 

From 1 October to 14 March:

  • Harbour Road and Nells Point:

No Charge

  • Rivermouth, Brig-y-don and Cymlau:

ALL DAY parking prices (8am - 11pm)

 

0 - 12 hours         £2.00

Buses/coaches     £10.00

 

* Blue badge holders are exempt / Solo Motorcycles are free of charge

 

8.    The above coastal car parks are subject to an off-street parking order referred to as 'The Vale of Glamorgan Council (Off-Street Parking Places)(Civil Enforcement) Order 2013'; which enables enforcement of parking charges to be undertaken via the Council's Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) Powers which are explained later in this report.

 

9.    The existing town centre car parks at The Butts and Town Hall in Cowbridge and the Kendrick Road, Thompson Street, Wyndham Street and the Multi-storey in Barry are also included within 'The Vale of Glamorgan Council (Off-Street Parking Places) (Civil Enforcement) Order 2013', however, these car parks are currently identified as free with no legal provision to allow for charging and enforcement via CPE Powers at the present time.

 

10.    The existing car parks located at Porthkerry Country Park and Cosmeston Lakes Country Park fall outside the scope of this report. A separate report will be presented to Cabinet in the near future in relation to the potential introduction of car parking charges at these Country Parks.

Residents Only Parking Scheme:

11.    The Council operates a Residents Only parking scheme which exists predominantly in the town centre areas of Barry and Penarth.  This is currently a free service.  The existing Residents Only parking areas were created by South Glamorgan County Council, the previous Highway Authority.  Although there is a heavy demand from residents for the Council to extend the Residents Only parking facilities, the Vale of Glamorgan as Local Highway Authority has not supported any addition to these facilities due largely to the costs of their introduction.

 

12.    Many local authorities charge for the provision of Residents Only parking permits and officers will now be investigating and reviewing the introduction of charging regimes for both future resident only permits and new Residents Only parking schemes as part of the 'Reshaping Services' programme.

Current Individual Disabled Persons Parking Bay provision:

13.    The Council provides Individual Disabled Persons Parking Bays in residential areas.  This is currently a free service.  The demand for this facility is high but only approximately 10 new bays are introduced annually due to budgetary pressures on the Traffic Management Revenue Budget.  There are currently 11 approved applications awaiting funding.  It should be noted that once installed, an individual disabled persons parking bay is available to be used by any blue badge holder as sections of the highway cannot be designated for parking by a specific individual.

 

14.    The provision of Individual Disabled Persons Parking Bays on the highway is not a mandatory requirement but a number of local authorities do provide this service and where this is the case, the service is provided free of charge. Officers will be investigating the future introduction of a charging regime to address the demand for Individual Disabled Persons Parking Bays on the highway as part of the 'Reshaping Services' programme.

Civil Parking Enforcement:

15.    In April 2013 the Council obtained Civil Parking Enforcement powers from the Welsh Government.  This service is currently provided collaboratively by the Council and Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC).  The Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) are employed directly by BCBC and are managed by the BCBC's Parking Manager who is based in Bridgend.  The Council's Traffic Management team is involved in ensuring that the Traffic Regulation Orders, signs and lines associated with the on-street parking restrictions are correct and fit for purpose.

 

16.    There are currently five CEO's allocated to cover parking enforcement within the Vale of Glamorgan's area on a shift basis. These officers have to cover both on-street and off-street enforcement. A report entitled CPE Efficiency Review was prepared by RTA Associates Ltd. dated November 2013 which made several recommendations for improving the operational effectiveness of the service, including:-

  • Employ 2 more seasonal CEOs for the 6 months from Easter through the summer.
  • Introduce an additional seasonal charge for parking across the Authority. This should apply to off street parking where car parks are currently free and may be extended to on street areas where limited waiting is currently available.
  • Introduce more resident parking schemes as required. It is further recommended that the current free permit should be charged at minimal cost to cover the costs of these schemes.

17.    A report will be provided to Cabinet by the end of the year detailing the outcomes of the CPE collaboration and the recommendations above will be addressed in part by this report and in part by future reports to Cabinet.

Parking Studies and Surveys:

18.    A number of car parking studies have been undertaken in recent years including:

  • Barry Parking Surveys 2003 (Vale of Glamorgan Council)
  • Town Centre Parking Study 2005 (Vale of Glamorgan Council)
  • Cosmeston Country Park Parking Survey Report 2005 (Vale of Glamorgan Council)
  • Council Offices Parking Study 2005 (Vale of Glamorgan Council)
  • Penarth Town Centre Study: Traffic Management Improvements 2005 (Mott McDonald)
  • Cowbridge Off-Street Parking Origin and Destination Study 2012 (Vale of Glamorgan Council).  

19.    Consultant, Capita was commissioned in July 2013 to undertake a study into Off Street / On Street parking. This study included car parking in Barry and Cowbridge town centres with a view to the Council possibly introducing car park charging at these locations at a future date.  Penarth Town Centre was excluded from the study as there is no off-street car park provision within the town centre.  Information from the previous above mentioned studies was made available where appropriate so that comparisons could be made. The commission resulted in the completion of a report entitled 'Off-Street / On-Street Car Parking Study within the Vale of Glamorgan' dated December 2013.

 

20.    An Addendum Report to the original 'Off-Street / On-Street Car Parking Study’ has recently been completed by Consultants, Capita in June 2015 in order to review and update the 2013 Report. This Addendum Report also incorporates a Price Sensitivity Review for the introduction of parking charges within Barry and Cowbridge town centres.

Relevant Issues and Options

Off-Street/On-Street Car Parking Study, December 2013:

21.    The Capita report entitled 'Off-Street/On-Street Car Parking Study within the Vale of Glamorgan' dated December 2013 is (Appendix A and is available in the Members Room) and covers the following:

  • Barry Town Centre
  • Barry Charging Options
  • Cowbridge Town Centre
  • Cowbridge Conclusions
  • Car Park Charging Methods
  • Car Park Charging Examples and Comparisons
  • Car Sharing and Park and Ride.

Barry Conclusions (Section 4)

22.    The Capita report identifies that Barry has an abundance of parking with ample on-street parking for shoppers and residents close to the town centre. It notes that long-stay parking is available in some car parks and in residential streets, a short walk from the shopping centre.  Data collected from parking surveys in 2003 and 2013 suggested that there was a considerable reduction of short-stay provision between these periods with overall parking reduced by 12%, but long stay parking (over 4 hours) increased by some 81%.

 

23.    The Capita report concludes that introducing parking charges should result in:-

  • Kendrick Road and Thompson Street car parks being used more as a short-stay car park.
  • Wyndham Street Car Park continuing to be used as the main Barry shopper car park comprising of only a small number of long-stay users.
  • The lower levels of the multi-storey car park (levels 1 to 3) will be used as a short-stay car park for the shops nearby.
  • The upper levels being used as free long-stay parking, allowing for long stay parking transferring from other car parks. If charging was to be introduced on the upper floors, they would continue to be empty.

24.    The report considers that there are unlikely to be significant adverse effects caused by long-stay or short-stay parking migrating to residential streets. However, if parking charges are too great, more drivers will avoid paying them, either by finding somewhere else to park or worse, taking their custom elsewhere. Those effects would reduce the number of payments, thus negating the increased income.

Cowbridge Conclusions (Section 6):

25.    There were significant differences, including seasonal variables, between the surveys in 2003 and 2013, which made direct comparisons difficult. However, a considerable increase in parking demand, possibly as much as 18%, is estimated.

 

26.    The majority of the parking spaces in Cowbridge Town centre are provided in car parks. The total is 1100 spaces approximately. 700 of these spaces are in surfaced car parks and most are marked out. Approximately 400 spaces are in unsurfaced areas that serve as car parks.

 

27.    Where spaces are not marked out, their estimate is approximate and may vary from day to day, depending on how people actually park.

 

28.    Approximately half of the car park spaces are under Council control and half are privately owned. There is no control of Council car parks. Private car park control methods include pay and display, rising barriers, gates, time limits with enforcement and information/warning/threatening signs. It is believed that there are private arrangements between the owners of some private car parks and those who parked there.

 

29.    There are 300 on-street parking spaces close to the town centre and many more in fairly close proximity.

 

30.    On Eastgate and High Street there are 92, 1 hour limited waiting, spaces which are used on average by 400 cars a day. Typically they are only two-thirds full, presumably due to the difficulty in using them. Allowing for some long-stay (disabled badge holder) parking, the average stay was slightly over 30 minutes.

 

31.    Detailed surveys were not undertaken of the private car parks but casual observations showed many vacant spaces. The Waitrose Car Park is an exception, being very busy. The capacity of unsurfaced car parks could be increased by providing some form of indication of where to park.

 

32.    The Town Hall (THCP) and The Butts Car Parks are normally full. It was common to see drivers leaving the THCP, having not found a space. It is not known how many of them parked elsewhere in Cowbridge and how many left the area.

 

33.    In total, there appears to be enough parking spaces for the demand. However, there must be some suppressed demand, for short-stay parking, which could be considerable.

 

34.    If charges were introduced into the Town Hall and The Butts Car Parks, there would be a small reduction of demand and a redistribution of parking. It would be reasonable to assume some commuters would change their mode of travel and others would find somewhere else to park, which would free up spaces for shoppers. Some shoppers would be discouraged by the charge but that would be compensated for by those encouraged by the availability of vacant parking spaces. It would be reasonable to assume there would be an increase of shopper parking.

 

35.    It would not be expected that many drivers would be encouraged to park in residential areas further away than they do now. However, there could be some problem areas. If charging is introduced, surveys should be conducted in residential areas such as Middlegate and the possibility of the introduction of resident only parking surveys reviewed if demand significantly increases. If resident parking was introduced, there would be cost implications.

 

36.    The layout of the THCP could be changed to increase the number of spaces and the design of multiple disabled bays could be more efficient in the use of space.

 

37.    The THCP should cater for both short and long-stay parking. The existing “short term” car park is too small to be the sole short-stay car park. Consideration should be given to dividing the “long term” car park into a short-stay car park close to the shops and a long-stay car park to the rear".

Addendum Report to Off-Street / On-Street Car Parking Study, June 2015:

38.    The report entitled 'Off-Street / On-Street Car Parking Study within the Vale of Glamorgan: December 2013: Addendum Report' dated June 2015 (Appendix B available in the Members Room) and covers the following items:

  • Review and Update of 2013 Report
  • Car Parking Charging Methods
  • Charging Structure
  • Price Sensitivity Review

39.    The conclusions of the report generally indicate that the recommendations within the original December 2013 are still valid. However, it recognises there is the potential for regeneration of Livestock Market / Butts area within Cowbridge and makes recommendations should these regeneration proposals be implemented in the future.

 

40.    The report recognises that the Car Park income tables in section 5.6 of the original report require updating to reflect rises in car park charges since the 2013 report and this update is provided in table 2.2 and 2.3 of the Addendum Report. It is clearly identified that the update of these tables does not impact the conclusions in the 2013 report.

 

41.    The review of car parking charging methods considers the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, but identifies that investment in such equipment and ongoing operational costs are likely to prove economically ineffective given the general small size of most car parks in Barry and Cowbridge. The recommended option being the introduction of coin with card payment pay and display meters as well as the option to pay by phone and 'app' system as is currently available in the Council’s seasonal car parks. Estimated implementation costs are provided in table 3.1 of the report. It is further recommended that it would be an opportune time to review the use of cash in pay and display machines prior to the introduction of the new £1 coin in 2017 when machines would need to be adapted.

 

42.    The charging structure and tariffs for car parking are reviewed and compared with comparable towns resulting in a recommended charging regime for the Vale’s town centre car parks. This charging structure is generally aimed at discouraging all day parking and turnover of spaces in short stay car parks, however, the report also recognises the need to support an element of long stay usage in both Barry and Cowbridge. It identifies the car parks at Cowbridge Town Hall and the multi-storey in Barry where provision should be made for long stay usage.

 

43.    The report recommends a revised lower parking tariff for over 4 hours within long stay car parks to address such demand and to help in avoiding displacement to residential streets. For the THCP, the addendum report recommends that the lower tariff is applied throughout for consistency and because there is no control or separation between long and short stay sections meaning enforcement of two different tariffs would be difficult. It is further recognised that the original 2013 report outlines the short stay provision in the THCP should be increased and recommends that when work is undertaken to implement this proposal, work can also be carried out to clearly define short and long stay spaces and enable a different tariff to be implemented in each respective short and long stay sections.

 

44.    The report considers that the provision of free long stay parking on the upper floors only of the multi-storey in Barry is a sensible approach and recommends against the whole of the multi-storey car park being provided free of charge. The report estimates the loss of revenue between £7k - £14k per annum if the multi-storey in Barry were to operate free of charge on all levels.

 

45.    The price sensitivity review identifies that there is a demonstrable need for the introduction of parking charges in Barry and Cowbridge town centres to manage the use of parking spaces efficiently and effectively. Charging will ensure that spaces are available for use by short term users. It is likely that the introduction of parking charges will be beneficial in terms of encouraging sustainable transport, increased availability of parking and managing congestion and town centre vehicle movements.

Proposed Structure for the Implementation of Parking Charges:

46.    In general, the Capita report (December 2013) and addendum (June 2015) identifies that there is significant benefit to introducing off-street parking charges in terms of managing and controlling the turnover within individual car parks to obtain the optimum usage. However, it is acknowledged that Barry and Cowbridge are two very different towns from a parking perspective. In Cowbridge, the introduction of parking charges is likely to lead to a small reduction in demand and a redistribution of parking but this will inevitably provide an increase of shopper and visitor parking. In both Barry and Cowbridge, it is not considered that there will be significant migration of parking to nearby residential streets; however, this will need to be monitored.

 

47.    The Capita report identifies that, particularly for Barry, the set up cost for on-street parking will be significantly higher than those for off-street car parks (irrespective of the charging structure).  This is due to the higher number of on-street parking spaces within Barry Town centre as opposed to Cowbridge and the number of Pay & Display (P&D) machines required.  In this regard the report recommends one in every street or within a 40 metre safe walking distance requiring up to 100 P&D machines in Barry alone. The income from any on-street parking in both Barry and Cowbridge will also likely be low when compared to the income that can potentially be generated from off-street parking in both areas. The actual income will be ultimately dependant on the charging structure, however, the principle of comparable return between on-street and off-street parking will not change.

 

48.    Based on the above information and probable outcomes identified in the Capita Study, it is considered appropriate to not proceed with on-street parking charges at this time. Furthermore, it would be beneficial to delay the introduction of any on-street parking charges until such time that the introduction of a charging regime for both future resident only permits and new Residents Only parking schemes is implemented in order to adequately deal with any redistribution of parking which may occur within residential areas.  As previously advised, this will be the subject of a future report to Cabinet.

 

49.    However, it is considered significantly advantageous to instigate off street parking within existing car parks in both Barry and Cowbridge as identified in the Capita report so as to optimise parking availability, to generate income and to ensure the effective management and control of off-street parking facilities in the future. It is therefore anticipated that a charging regime for both on street and off street parking can be implemented as a phased approach in the future with the introduction of town centre off-street parking charges forming the first phase. After a suitable monitoring and bedding in period this could be followed by a second phase with consideration given to both on street parking alongside a consideration to further extend both off street and on street parking charges in subsequent phases as required.  This will include the possible future introduction of new Residents Only parking schemes as mentioned above.

 

50.    The Capita report recognises that having an approach which provides for free parking for the first 2 hours will result in a significant loss of income and will not make the necessary savings within the service to address the significant financial challenges facing the Council over the next three years as described above. It is therefore proposed to implement off-street parking facilities with a charging regime that will generally discourage and reduce long stay use, which in turn will benefit shoppers and town centre businesses. The possible tariffs to be set as part of the proposed off street parking proposals and net income yield achievable are set out in more detail below.

 

51.    A recent study undertaken by MRUK research in March 2015 on behalf of the Welsh Government has identified that the general availability of spaces in Town Centres is more important to visitors than the cost of parking.  Further details in relation to this report are provided in Section 5.3 'Evidence of Impacts' within Capita Addendum report to 'Off street / On Street Car Parking Study within the Vale of Glamorgan' dated June 2015 available as Appendix B to this report.

Proposed Off Street Parking Charges:

52.    In accordance with the implementation structure for parking charges for Barry and Cowbridge identified above it is recommended that phase 1 be implemented prior to the end of the current financial year to address the current savings and budget targets required to be met in future financial years. This will involve the implementation of parking charges in the following Town Centre car parks;-

  • Kendrick Road car park, Barry - approx. 15 spaces
  • Thompson Street car park, Barry - approx. 20 spaces
  • Wyndham Street car park, Barry - approx. 111 spaces
  • Butts car park, Cowbridge - approx. 30 spaces
  • Town Hall car park, Cowbridge - approx. 149 spaces

53.    Phase 1 will exclude all floors of the Multi-storey car park in Barry so as to provide a free alternative to all the long stay parking diverted from the other car parks in Barry where charges are proposed. This situation will be monitored and reviewed when considering future phases of car park charging.

Proposed Additional Parking Charges:

54.    Although not included within the Capita report and addendum, there are several additional areas within the Vale that could be considered for future parking charges.

 

55.    It is anticipated that a further detailed study will be required to consider and analyse the potential parking income and other relevant implications of future proposals to increase car parking income and it is again proposed that this work will be progressed as part of the current 'Reshaping Services' programme and will be fully detailed in a future Cabinet report.

Proposed Off-Street Seasonal Parking Charge Regime:

56.    It is proposed to make a minor revision to existing off-street seasonal parking charges to achieve a consistent and fair charging regime for all seasonal car parks. This will require an additional tariff for 0-1 hour of £1.00 for parking between 4pm – 11pm for all seasonal car parks. It is also proposed to end the variation in winter and summer charges in favour of a single consistent charging regime based on summer tariffs only. It is anticipated these changes will have a positive impact on income and that the additional tariff 0-1 hour of £1.00 for parking between 4pm – 11pm will encourage additional visitors to use the car park facilities. The proposed new all year round tariffs are summarised below:-

  • Rivermouth, Harbour Road, Cymlau, Nells Point and Brig-y-don:

ALL DAY parking prices  (8am - 11pm)

0 - 1 hour            £1.00

1+ hours             £5.00

Buses/coaches   £10.00

 

ARRIVING AFTER 4pm parking prices (4pm - 11pm)

0 - 1 hour            £1.00

1+ hour               £2.00

Buses/coaches   £10.00

 

* Blue badge holders are exempt / Solo Motorcycles are free of charge.

Recommended Off-Street Car Park Charging Methods:

57.    The original Capita report of 2013 discusses a number of off street car park charging collection methods (refer to Section 7) and this is updated in their Addendum Report of June 2015 (refer to Section 3). Based on the information provided, it is considered that the most advantageous option for the implementation of off-street parking charges for the car parks within the Vale would be Pay & Display machines.

 

58.    It is likely that the initial cost for these would be significantly less than other methods, however, this method would require enforcement to be undertaken by the CEO's in line with current enforcement of parking charges for existing seasonal car parks as previously explained . This will require a Notice of Variation under Section 35C of the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 to amend the existing legal order referred to as 'The Vale of Glamorgan Council (Off-Street Parking Places) (Civil Enforcement) Order 2013'; to implement off street parking charges in the relevant town centre car parks and to enable enforcement of parking charges to be undertaken via the Council's Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) Powers. To address the additional workload associated with this enforcement it will be necessary to reassess the existing number of CEO's allocated to cover parking enforcement within the Vale.

 

59.    At present there are 5 CEO's allocated to the Vale. The previous year’s annual income generated by CPE was approximately £248k from a total 8547 PCN’s, which means that as an average each CEO generated approximately £50k in income and issued approximately 1700 PCN’s. The actual cost to operate the CPE service per CEO is built up from £36k salary and o/heads; £6k payment processing via WPPP; £3k office staff; and £1k for the tribunal service which gives a total cost per CEO of £46k per annum. The actual cost of each existing CEO is therefore covered by the income generated from the issue of approximately 1700 PCN’s which equates to circa 4 PCN’s per day. Given there will be a total number of 457 new spaces within the six off street car parks in Barry and Cowbridge Town Centres identified , it is considered likely that at least 4 PCN’s per day will be generated from the implementation of car park charging if the car parks are patrolled appropriately.

 

60.    Based on the above, it is considered justifiable to take on at least one additional CEO on a permanent basis to control parking with Barry and Cowbridge Town centre car parks, the cost of which will be offset by the PCN's issued to enforce the new off street parking restrictions implemented. The implementation of such an arrangement will need to be discussed and agreed with the Council's shared service provider, Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC), and will need to be monitored to ensure that such an arrangement is cost neutral to the CPE service model both after implementation and in the future. Additionally, the whole CPE Service Agreement with BCBC will need to be reviewed as part of the proposals to implement the proposed off street car parking charges to ensure effective operational and financial control is consistently achieved.  This review will be detailed in a future report to Cabinet.

 

61.    Furthermore, it is considered appropriate to implement the recommendations for an additional seasonal CEO for the 6 months from Easter through summer at the earliest opportunity as described in the CPE Efficiency Review which was prepared by RTA Associates Ltd. dated November 2013.

Car Park Charging Implementation and Maintenance Costs:

62.    Car park charging methods have been reviewed and analysed within the Capita report and addendum with a recommendation that pay and display machines be used in Barry and Cowbridge.

 

63.    The specification for pay and display machines will need to ensure compatibility with existing CPE provision in the Council's seasonal car parks and should consider a number of factors to ensure optimum performance is achieved from the installation.

 

64.    In this regard,  the preferred method of implementing car park charging within Barry and Cowbridge is the use of pay and display machines with a coin and card payment facility. All the new town centre car parks implementing the new charging regime will also provide the ability for customers to pay by phone as is currently the case in the existing seasonal car parks.

 

65.    The cost of providing the preferred pay and display machines and the associated signage has been analysed within the Capita report and addendum. The cost of cash collection, annual maintenance and tickets has also been identified.

 

66.    It is estimated that the pay and display machines will cost approx. £5,000 each to purchase and install with necessary information signs costing up to £1,000 each. However, the cost of the installation of pay and display machines is subject to final detailed surveys to establish suitable location and electrical connections. Additional lining works within each car park could cost between £500 to £1,500 depending on the size of the car park. Therefore, the estimated implementation costs in each of the car parks, where it is proposed to introduce charging, will be as follows:-

  • Kendrick Road car park with 1 No. P&D machines and sign/lining, approx. £6,500
  • Thompson Street car park with 1 No. P&D machines and sign/lining, approx. £6,500
  • Wyndham Street car park with 4 No. P&D machines and signs/lining, approx. £25,000
  • Butts car park with 3 No. P&D machines and signs/lining, approx. £19,000
  • Town Hall car park 4 No. P&D machines and signs/lining, approx. £25,500

Total estimated cost for pay and display machines and signing/lining is therefore circa £82,500.

 

67.    The current system for the emptying of coins from the pay and display machines and counting of income is undertaken in-house by Council staff.  The means of collecting from seasonal car parks has been fully analysed and this includes the frequency of collection as well as the time taken for counting income.

 

68.    The inclusion of the proposed new town centre car parks will require an approximate 50% increase in the staff time for collection and based on the current position, this represents an average increase of 7.25 person hours per week to empty coins from the new pay and display machines required within the proposed town centre car parks at an estimated cost of (7.25hrs x £35/hour) £253.75/week or approx. £13,195/ year.

 

69.    As an alternative arrangement, the viability and cost effectiveness of employing an external company to undertake the emptying of the pay and display machines has also been investigated.  The analysis has been based on regular collections and the costs of administering collections.

 

70.    The analysis reveals that the difference between the estimated cost for in-house staff and external arrangement means that it is slightly more cost effective to manage the cash collection and counting arrangements in-house, however, it is recognised that existing resources will make it difficult to undertake counting of the additional income as this is only a minor part of the current support staff duties and responsibilities. The use of an external company will also be advantageous in reducing the risk to individual employees from undertaking large cash collections from remote sites and it will enable council staff to generally concentrate on their substantive roles. It is therefore considered advantageous to use an external resource at an estimated cost of £15,078.96 per annum to carry out the cash collections and counting of income as part of the implementation of proposed town centre car parking charges with the potential to supplement this arrangement on a reactive basis using in-house staff.

 

71.    Additionally, there will be an approximate £500 annual maintenance charge per pay and display machine which is estimated to cost (13No. x £500/machine) £6,500/ year. There will also be a maintenance cost for the replacement of tickets in pay and display machines equivalent to 1 person hour / car park / week or (£35 x 5 x 52) approx. £9,100.  Therefore the total annual maintenance costs associated with the implementation of car park charging at the proposed new town centre car parks (assuming cost of £15,078.96/year for emptying pay & display machines via external company) is £30,679/ annum. This cost will have to be deducted from the income generated by the proposed new car park charging regime which is discussed in more detail below.

 

72.    When the additional maintenance activities in relation to the checking and monitoring of pay and display machines as well as the maintenance of the car park asset itself (which currently undertaken by in-house staff) are factored in, then the person time involved in managing the Council's pay and display car parks is likely to take up to 37 hours per week or the equivalent of a full time employee. As such, it is intended that during the forthcoming restructure within Highways and Engineering consideration will be given to creating a full time Car Parking Officer post to undertake these duties on a full time basis. It is proposed that a detailed analysis will be undertaken to substantiate the viability for such a position, however, such a post would relieve pressure on existing staff in Highways and Engineering and allow them to focus on important highway maintenance matters. The cost of employing a full time Car Parking Officer at Grade G level on the Council's Collective Agreement Pay Scales is estimated to be circa £35k per annum.

Alternative Car Park Charging Methods:

73.    The use of alternative technology such as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and ANPR as methods for charging at the Council's existing pay and display car parks and those proposed to be introduced as part of this report was considered. This would require external engagement with private sector car parking partners.

 

74.    ANPR is a surveillance technology which uses optical character recognition on camera images to read a vehicle's number plate. This technology is currently used in private car parks and offers significant advantages to standard charging methods:-

  • System links directly to pay and display machines.
  • No car park staff or CEO's required to control parking.
  • 24 hour car park monitoring is achievable.
  • Optimises use of parking facilities
  • Copes with banded charging periods, including free parking.

75.    The potential for the use of ANPR technology has been considered in detail in the recent Capita Addendum Report and discounted for use in any of the Council's car parks due to the investment required and ongoing operational costs proving uneconomical for smaller sized car parks.

 

76.    However, the status of ANPR technology and the possible involvement of private sector car parking partners will be closely monitored with the potential for reviewing this decision in future phases of the implementation of parking charges within the Vale of Glamorgan.

Recommended Off-Street Parking Charging Regime and Income Generation:

77.    The Capita report and addendum identifies two charging structures for either short stay or long stay parking in Barry and Cowbridge town centre car parks which is considered comparable to other towns in South Wales. Furthermore, the report suggests that some element of long stay parking usage should be encouraged within both the Cowbridge Town Hall car park and multi-storey car park in Barry to accommodate users’ requirements and discourage displacement parking in nearby residential streets/ areas.

 

78.    Whereas, the multi-storey car park in Barry is proposed to remain free of charge and will provide a feasible option for long stay or all day users, the layout and segregation between long and short stay users in Cowbridge Town hall car park precludes such an arrangement. It has therefore been suggested that, for consistency and until work at Cowbridge Town Hall car park can be conducted to segregate long-term and short-term users, that a long stay charging structure be implemented with a reduced tariff for over 4 hours. This is specifically not in line with the Council’s current requirement to facilitate and achieve a parking strategy to benefit shoppers and tourism by encouraging short stay use as well as implementing a consistent 'off-street' parking charge structure within town centres.

 

79.    Furthermore, from previous survey works the requirement for short to long-term parking requirements in the Town Hall car park is 2 to 1, putting the emphasis significantly on a short stay parking. It is therefore suggested that the Cowbridge Town Hall car park can be made available for short-term parking by transferring the long-term parking element to an alternate site. It is considered that the existing parking availability of approx. 105 vehicles within the Sheep Market could accommodate the majority of transferred parking as an interim position (as discussed in section 5.5 of the original Capita report) albeit that restrictions in parking times may apply in accordance with licence agreement with Glamorgan Marts. This will enable the Cowbridge Town Hall car park to be designated and charged as a short stay car parking facility thereby providing increased parking benefit to shoppers in the Town Centre.

 

80.    Based on the above considerations and principles, it is recommended that the standard charge levels and tariffs as identified in table 2 below are introduced to encourage and promote short stay parking in Kendrick Road car park, Barry; Thompson Street car park, Barry; Wyndham Street car park, Barry; ; Butts car park, Cowbridge; and Town Hall car park, Cowbridge.

 

Table 2:

 

Duration of Stay All Car Parks
Up to 2 hours £1.00
Up to 3 hours £1.60
Up to 4 hours £2.20
Over 4 hours £5.00

Off Street Parking Possible Income Generation:

81.    An analysis of the income generated from the proposed charging structure identified above is provided in the table 3 below. This analysis makes the following assumptions:-

  • Duration of stay (No. of cars per day) as identified in Capita report.
  • Pay and Display machines are used in all car parks.
  • Parking charges are applied in the town centre car parks identified in this report.
  • Blue badge holders will be exempt from charges in line with the current seasonal car park charging regime.

Table 3:
 

Car-Parking-Table-3

82.    No PCN costs are built into this income as it is assumed that any monies generated from enforcement will be used to fund the additional CEO's required.

 

83.    Clearly from the income analysis provided there is a significant range of potential income generated for the charging structure identified and this estimated income is very much dependant on the level of usage and turnover within the car parks and the assumptions stated. As identified in the Capita Report the forecasting of income is very imprecise, however, it is the case that the level of income generated is very much dependant on the tariff charged for the first 2 hour period.

 

84.    The recommended charging structure in table 2 above is considered to offer affordable and proportionate tariffs to meet the needs of the town centre environment whilst achieving the maximum income to offset the significant savings and challenging budget constraints that the Council will have to address in future years. The income generated from car park charges and the level of parking in town centre car parks will need to be reviewed annually and adjusted to ensure the optimum charging structure and usage of individual car parks is achieved in future years.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

85.    The recommended charging structure in table 2 above requires up front funding of circa £82,500 to cover the cost of pay and display machines and new signing / lining works and it is suggested that this be provided from the Visible Services reserve. This advance work will take up to 3 months to implement and will be undertaken primarily in-house within Visible Services. It is possible that this work could be completed by the end of the current calendar year. A summary of the possible income from the recommended charging structure is provided below:-

 


 Total



Max

Min Mid
Net Income (Estimate) £148,462 £234,943 £321,423
Annual Maintenance Costs (Estimate) £30,679 £30,679 £30,679
Actual Income (Estimate) £117,783 £204,264 £290,744

86.    A Notice of Variation under Section 35C Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 will be required to amend the existing legal order for each Town centre car park to implement off street parking charges. The cost for this will be circa £2k which can be accommodated within existing Asset management budgets for this financial year and will likely take up to 3 months to implement. The Notice of Variation will require an advertisement to advise of the Council's intentions, however, there will be no right of objection under this process.

 

87.    It is estimated that net income of circa £204k (mid value) will be realised per annum should the above charging structure be approved and this will be used to offset part of the current £350k budget shortfall and future budget challenge facing the Directorate. It should be noted that this estimate is based on a number of assumptions and that the forecasting of income from car park charging is understandably imprecise.

 

88.    There may be opportunities to increase income in the future by engaging with the private sector in relation to the use of ANPR technology. If this is the case then a further report will be presented to Cabinet at that time.

 

89.    On-going maintenance costs have been estimated in the above report circa £30,679 per annum although this does depend on the final arrangement for emptying of the pay and display machines. This will have an impact on the net savings made as identified in the table above.

 

90.    It is proposed to review the overall costs and income associated with the implementation of Phase 1 of car park charging in Cowbridge and Barry after an initial monitoring and bedding in period with a view to considering implementing additional car parking charges to achieve further savings to help off-set operational budget reductions over time. Further Cabinet reports will be submitted in relation to the subsequent phases for the implementation of proposed car parking charging throughout the Vale as alluded to in this report.

 

91.    A separate report will also be presented to Cabinet in the near future in relation to the potential for the introduction of car parking charges at Porthkerry Country Park and Cosmeston Lakes Country Park.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

92.    The implementation of off street car parking charges will allow improved management and control of parking within Barry and Cowbridge town centres which will encourage the free movement of vehicles and assist in keeping roads free from congestion and, in so doing, assist in addressing climate change implications.

 

93.    The optimisation of car parking through the introduction of car park charges in town centres will ensure adequate provision of sufficient and safe affordable car park facilities that will provide infrastructure to support local businesses and attract the shopping public thereby increasing town centre economic activity and growth as well as encouraging future investment within the local communities.

 

94.    The charging regime identified in table 2 is considered to represent the most advantageous solution balancing the need to generate income from pay and display car parks with the need to secure and ensure a sustainable level of town centre activity.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

95.    The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 allows highway authorities to make and vary Orders to regulate the movement of vehicular traffic and to improve the amenities of an area.

 

96.    The Council is responsible for enforcing parking restrictions under powers provided by the Traffic Management Act 2004.

 

97.    There are no Human Rights Implications with regard to this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

98.    The proposal to implement town centre car park charging has the potential to increase parking availability for shoppers and visitors which will in turn improve highway safety and the management of the highway network and will reduce the potential for incidents of disorder.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

99.    The proposals will have the potential to benefit all sections of the community by improving highway safety and reducing congestion. They will also provide improved short-term parking opportunities within Town centres which will benefit existing shops and businesses as well as encouraging new visitors and footfall.

 

100.    It is anticipated that the charges proposed and exemptions identified will not preclude or disadvantage any sectors of the community from accessing the services provided.

 

101.    All signs, pay & display machines, parking tickets and associated documentation relating to car park charging and CPE will adhere to the requirements of the Council's Welsh Language Scheme.

Corporate/Service Objectives

102.    To improve our highway infrastructure and manage the effects of climate change on the built and natural environment.

Policy Framework and Budget

103.    This report is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

104.    This is a Council wide matter and therefore no individual Ward Member consultation has been undertaken as part of the process.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

105.    Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Appendix A - Capita Report "Off Street / On-Street Car Parking Study within the Vale of Glamorgan" dated December 2013 (Available in the Members Room)

Appendix B - Capita Report 'Off-Street/On-Street Car Parking Study within the Vale of Glamorgan: December 2013: Addendum Report' dated June 2015 (Available in the Members Room)

Contact Officer

Michael Clogg - Operational Manager, Highways and Engineering

Tel: 02920 673 200

Officers Consulted

Visible Services Account

Section 151 Officer

Legal Services

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing.

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