Agenda Item No. 4

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 30TH JULY 2018

 

REFERENCE FROM ENVIRONMENT AND REGENERATION SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 12TH JULY 2018

 

 

“           DRAFT PARKING STRATEGY REPORT (REF) -

 

The Head of Service commenced by advising that the report was for consideration on the proposed consultation strategy and the Consultants’ report which outlined the timetable for the consultation with proposals to be referred back to a joint Scrutiny Committee as a result.  Cabinet had referred the draft Vale of Glamorgan Parking Strategy Report which had been prepared by consultants to the Scrutiny Committee for its consideration.

 

The Committee was also informed of the use of the Council’s Constitution Urgent Decision Procedure in order that Town and Community Councils could be afforded the opportunity prior to the August recess in their respective Councils to give consideration to the contents of the Capita Report immediately following the meeting of Cabinet.

 

Capita had been appointed by the Council in Autumn 2017 to assist with the preparation of a Draft Parking Strategy for the Vale of Glamorgan.  Capita had undertaken previous parking studies for the Council.  In 2013 (updated in 2015) Capita produced a report in respect of proposals for off-street and on-street parking charges in Barry and Cowbridge.  In addition, Capita prepared parking reports relating to Country Parks parking charges in 2016 and Leisure centre parking charges in 2017.  None of the recommendations within these reports had been implemented by the Council.

 

This Commission required the preparation of a Draft Parking Strategy for the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan, including a review of the previous reports prepared, an update to possible charging tariffs, an evaluation of possible charging methods and infrastructure requirements as well as a review of what the impacts might be if parking charges were introduced.  In addition, any Strategy needed to be in accord with the Council's Income and Commercial Opportunities Strategy 2017 - 2020 and contribute towards the Medium Term Financial Plan and Corporate Plan.

 

A Project Board consisting of the relevant Cabinet Members and Senior Council Officers was set up to provide direction to the Commission.

 

Attached at Appendix A to the report was the Draft Parking Strategy prepared for the Council by Capita (June 2018).  The Draft Strategy examined the following areas:

 

Town Centre Car Parks;

Coastal Car Parks;

Country Parks Car Parks;

On-Street Car Parking in Town Centres and Coastal areas and

Enforcement and Infrastructure options.

 

If the proposals for parking charges were implemented there would also be an associated cost for infrastructure and the day to day operation of the parking charges and enforcement.  Committee was informed that the draft Parking Strategy report recognised that there were many different and emerging technologies to manage parking demand and it was expected that as this technology developed alternative methods of parking tariff collection and enforcement may be used.  For ease of implementation the use of pay and display machines had been suggested and costed within the draft Strategy.

 

Given the nature of the proposals set out in the report, a comprehensive consultation programme was being prepared to ensure the wide range of stakeholders who had an interest in these changes could be effectively involved. This programme would be managed by a cross-directorate team and the timetable was appended to the report..

 

Following the Head of Services presentation of the report a member of the public who had registered to speak, made their representations to the Committee. Mrs. Ockerby, commenced by querying the Council’s overall aim for the charges and questioned who was going to monitor?  Many residents did not have a disposable income to pay the charges and many had more than two cars. Who would monitor the cars when parking on streets? 

 

Mrs. Ockerby referred to the fact that currently places such as Ogmore, the pay and display machines were not in operation and the Council, in her view, was losing a considerable amount of money that they could have been receiving as a result of this.  She urged the Council to ask constituents for their views before they made a final decision.

 

The Head of Service advised that the purpose of this report at this meeting was to seek Committee’s views on the consultation strategy and a number of drop in sessions had been included in the timetable.  No decisions had yet been made on the implementation of car parking charges and Committee was requested to consider the consultation process contained as at Appendix B to the report. 

 

Councillor Mahoney, not a Member of the Committee but with permission to speak, considered that the Council needed to look at the views of the public in detail and referred to the fact that in his view, Cosmeston Park should not be part of the proposals.  He stated that Cosmeston Park was an open space that provided a number of benefits for the general public and it was his view they should not have to pay Council Tax and have the imposition of charges.  He stated “that if people did not have driveways, then that was their fault”.

 

Councillor Mrs. Perkes, not a Member of the Committee but with permission to speak, stated that she was concerned about the parking charges on Holton Road and the effect on small businesses.  She also urged the Council to undertake public meetings in order for all members of the public, local retailers and stakeholders to be able to raise issues.  Councillor Mrs. Perkes referred to the 2017 petition regarding the car parking charges at that time and queried whether this would be taken into account under the new consultation.  The Head of Service, in response, advised that a number of drop in sessions would be made available for members of the public.  These were considered to be more effective than public meetings where, on occasions, public meetings had been taken over by one or two people and the remaining members of the public were not able to get their views aired.  The Head of Service referred to the number of ways that the Council would be engaging with the public and referred again to the timetable attached to the report.  The Council would also be taking comments via e-mail and social media etc.  With regard to the 2017 petition, she said the current proposals were fresh proposals and the Council would be seeking views on these proposals.  The previous consultation that had been undertaken had been in relation to car parking charges only for Cowbridge and Barry, the current proposals were county wide.

 

Councillor Burnett, with permission to speak, advised that she did not feel the current Draft Parking Strategy should go ahead as, in her view, it was not a Draft Parking Strategy it was a Charges Strategy and, in particular, the Strategy needed to be inclusive to the area of visitors and residents.  Consultation should also be undertaken in the form of public meetings and residents of the Vale should be asked to provide solutions for the Council and be part of the process in that way.  The report, in her view, also did not mention the use of destination resorts, it appeared that charging residents was an easy target.  In her view the report was flawed, the assessment of parking was incomplete and she urged the Committee to ask Cabinet to reconsider and undertake a full and comprehensive consultation when any future report was presented.

 

Councillor King, with permission to speak, stated that he too was in favour of public meetings and that in his view the consultation exercise was very sparse.  He also urged the department to explain to the public in more detail the enforcement that would be required and that a full explanation be made available. 

 

A number of Committee Members stated that they were disappointed with the report and requested that the report be re-thought.  It appeared in their view that it was the residents who would suffer not visitors. For example, in referring to the proposals fro charging from 8.00am to 8.00pm they stated that visitors were not going to be arriving at 8am only residents.  It was also important to listen to the retailers. 

 

A Member raised concern to the fact that the consultation had appeared on the website before any briefing had been given to Members of the Council and that this had caused concern within their Wards.  They had received an apology from the officer but that had been too late as the “cat was truly out of the bag” by then. 

 

A number of Members also stated that they considered public meetings were vital to the consultation process and were unhappy about the consultation being rolled out in the August month when a number of people would be away and that this was a really inappropriate time to undertake any consultation.  The Head of Service stated that she found in the past that the drop in sessions were more productive than public meetings, but was aware of the Members’ concerns and that the whole idea of bringing the consultation proposals to the Scrutiny Committee was to allow Members’ consideration of the matter. 

 

Reference was also made to the need to have specific traders’ meetings based on geography.  It was also suggested that if a member of the public was walking their dog the first two hours should be free of charge to encourage people to remain in the resorts where they would spend money as they would be likely to remain for two hours and do a bit of shopping.   The effect on retailers was an issue as well as the effect on residents.

 

In referring to future-proofing, it was suggested that a multi-storey car park be provided for Barry Island and in looking at residents parking, where there were streets with houses only on one side for example, residents parking permits could be provided one side with the other being made available for general car parking.  It was also considered that the consultation itself being was an issue and that consultation with Members should have taken place prior to the production of the Draft strategy.  Following consideration of the report the Chairman then put the recommendations to the vote with the following being:

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T Cabinet be requested to rethink the Draft Car Parking Strategy, consider the lessons learned to date from previous car parking proposals, the comments made at the meeting and advised that undertaking a consultation during the summer months was not acceptable.

 

Reason for recommendation

Having regard to discussions at the meeting.”