Providing social and financial value

The cost of providing good parking goes beyond what is spent to empty the machines and issue enforcement notices. Other operational costs include making sure a car park remains safe, is lit, cleaned, resurfaced, repainted, has its landscaping and foliage managed, and has significant structural renewal work completed when required.

Parking charges are inclusive of VAT and car parks are subject to rates. Furthermore, land used for car parking may not present the best return for the Council. There is an opportunity cost if the site could earn more for the Council if it was used in another way.

In the same way that bus users pay a commercial fare for their journey to cover all the operator’s costs, the Council will establish a baseline parking charge that ensures the full costs of providing parking are covered. This will apply for each site. Consistent with the primary drive to promote sustainable travel, this baseline charge will be increased where it is deemed by the Council to price a car journey at a lower cost than if the user chose to make the same trip by bus.

Users may choose to drive for a number of reasons, but it should not be because it is the cheapest option. Other charges may also be applied to the baseline parking charge where these support Council policies. These may include further charges applied to reduce peak hour driving, to manage use of town centre roads or ensure availability.

Employment of parking space, variations to parking restrictions and differential charging will support vehicle choice and types of travel, favourable to the Council’s environmental aims. Space will be allocated for Car Club and electric vehicle parking, and charges applied to those using these modes may be varied for a period to support uptake or use.

Concessions for traders to use parking space to undertake commercial operations, such as food trucks or car valet services, will be considered and promoted where these are supportive of town vitality and do not present an unacceptable environmental cost or impact on the facility.

A parking discount scheme for local residents will not be progressed. This is seen to be contrary to, and potentially undermines, measures to encourage those living within the city to seriously consider other means of travel. This is applicable in particular to those living within the town. They may be making relatively short journeys that could be walked or cycled.

The Council’s car parks will be managed to deliver the best value to the community it represents. Any surplus arising from the policies adopted will be available to the Council to support delivery of other critical services and keep other charges lower. The Council may allocate parking surplus in ventures to reduce the costs of alternative travel options supportive of a change in behaviour. Potential uses include generating funds to improve cycle and walking infrastructure, cycle parking or to support bus services.

Page last reviewed: 15 May 2023