Wokingham Borough Council’s decision-making executive will decide this week (22 February) whether to extend Free after 3 parking in Wokingham town centre until 2 April and replace it with the one-hour charging scheme that proved so successful in Woodley.
In Woodley, the one-hour parking rate has recently been permanently increased by 10p, following an 18-month trial, and could now also be tried out for a year in borough-run car parks that offer the one-hour time slot.
In line with this, the Executive will also consider whether to suspend the existing £1 Sunday and evening/ overnight charges on 2 April, for a year, in borough-run car parks apart from Station Road, Earley, and Winnersh Triangle Rail Station.
If approved by the executive, the one-hour parking increase and suspension of Sunday and evening/ overnight charges trial would last for a year, from 2 April, to see if they are economically viable.
“Extending Free after 3 will continue our support for shoppers and businesses in Wokingham town centre during the most challenging part of the Market Place work,” said Cllr Keith Baker, executive member for highways and transport.
“And following the success of the one-hour free changes in Woodley, we’re keen to see if this will work at other locations, although it’s not guaranteed as everywhere is different. If it does work, however, it would also mean consistent approach to car parking charging across the borough, and support the evening and weekend economies in our town centres with free parking.
“These are challenging times for local government. We have to strike a delicate balance between ensuring we have the resources to maintain our car parks safely, and to standard, while also reflecting the local economies surrounding them.”
If members agree, one-hour parking would increase from 70p to 80p at Carnival multi-storey car park (MSCP), Elms Road MSCP, The Paddocks, Easthampstead Road East and West, Cockpit Path, Denmark Street, Wellington House and Rose Street.
At Polehampton Close car park in Twyford, and School Lane car park in Wargrave, the one-hour charge would increase from 40 to 50p.
All other parking charges would remain the same. These charges have not changed for a decade.