Guildford has just under 5000 parking spaces in and around the town centre. These are split between a number of larger multi storey car parks and smaller surface car parks. Up until 2020, the parking fees were roughly similar around all the various car parks with some subtle differences driven by location and/or size.
In 2020, the council introduced charge and tariff changes to over 50% of the car parking spaces. These were coined the name ‘Shopper’ with the intention to “encourage shoppers to stay longer, hopefully spending more but also increasing confidence in using the town”. These changes brought in a minimum 3hr stay with a fee of £3, if paid by cash, and £3.39 if paid via the ‘Ring go’ App. The average stay time in Guildford’s car parks is circa 2.5hrs. Therefore, on average, the changes mean that more than 50% of users are now being forced to pay for a longer time period than they require. The 2020-2021 Off-Street parking business plan shows no data, evidence or clear rationale behind the 3hr minimum stay.
The only justification for this appears to be that the council wants people to stay for longer and spend more money. However, for local residents who rely on driving to get into the town centre, they are being forced into paying much higher fees to access simple amenities such as Banks, Library, the post office and the market. Whilst the council has maintained some car parks (18% of all spaces) at the lower charges, these are generally the smaller surface car parks which are more difficult to access and generally require travelling further into the town to access them – this drives both congestion and pollution into the already busy one way system.
In addition to the pollution and congestion issue, the council have also increased the cost in all the car parks which have EV charging points. Therefore, any EV users who needs to charge whilst in town, must use the higher cost car parks. Whilst there are plans to increase this, all the EV charging points in the ‘short stay’ car parks are either ‘pending work’ or still ‘establishing best locations’. It’s worth noting that a Renault Zoe EV can charge to 50% battery capacity in 30mins and so there is no argument to restrict EV charging to long stay parking only.
This petition is to request the council return the parking
tariffs to the pre-2020 levels, effectively removing the
‘Option 3’ changes laid out in the 2020-2021 Off-Street
parking business plan and reassess how it wants to attract longer
term car parking users without negatively affecting local residents
who require short term solutions in all locations. The
recommendation is to encourage long term parking in the various
Park and Ride car parks, allowing people to come into the town
centre on EV busses. This will both reduce localised emissions in
the town centre and also congestion. If this is successful, then it
could open up the possibility to reduce the number of town centre
spaces and price them towards short term users to further encourage
users to park and ride.
Started by: Paul Jarvis
This ePetition ran from 16/02/2021 to 19/05/2021 and has now finished.
159 people signed this ePetition.