A successful car park charging trial in Woodley has been made permanent by Wokingham Borough Council’s decision-making executive.
Car parks in Crockhamwell Road, Headley Road, Lytham Road East and West were trying out a 10p daytime parking increase on the one hour charge - from 70 to 80p per hour.This was suggested by Woodley Town Council, Woodley Town Centre Management Initiative (WTCMI) and local councillors as an alternative to evening/ overnight and weekend increases being introduced at council-run car parks in the rest of the borough.
The borough council agreed to trial the daytime increases in Woodley to see if they were financially viable. Figures show they have been, so the new 80p one-hour daytime parking charge will stay.
All the new charges were introduced after it became increasingly difficult for the council to keep pace with rising costs to run and maintain its car parks, as there hadn’t been across the board increases since 2008. The new scheme designed for this was evening/ overnight and weekend charges, introduced during summer 2016, in council-run car parks across the borough excluding Woodley. The Woodley trial ran from September 2016 to January this year.
Since the introduction of the evening/ weekend and overnight charges, income outside of Woodley has gone up by just over 11%. In Woodley, the daytime trial has seen charges income go up by nearly 16 percent. Any surplus from this income for car park maintenance is ring-fenced for highways projects.
“The WTCMI was concerned that evening/ overnight and weekend charges would not be the best fit for Woodley town centre because there isn’t an established vibrant nightlife,” said Cllr Keith Baker, executive member for highways and transport.
“The trial has shown that it worked in Woodley, and evidence suggests that daytime town centre visitors and sales in Woodley haven't been affected.
“These are challenging times for local government. We have to strike a delicate balance between ensuring we have the resources to maintain our carparks safely, and to standard, while also reflecting the local economies surrounding them.”