A trial increase of the daytime hourly rate in Woodley car parks has been agreed by Wokingham Borough Council’s executive.
The trial, which will run until 31 March next year, was proposed jointly by the Woodley Town Centre Management Initiative (WTCMI) and Woodley Town Council as an alternative to the borough council’s introduction of evening and weekend charges across the rest of the borough.
During public consultation into the then proposed evening and weekend charges across the borough, the WTCMI said it was worried these would negatively affect Woodley’s night time economy and suggested the daytime option. So parking for one hour during the day is being increased from 70 to 80p at Crockhamwell Road, Headley Road, Lytham Road East and Lytham Road West.
The changes will apply between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday.
The trial will see if this approach is financially viable. When it finishes the results will be put before the borough council’s decision-making executive to make a longer term decision on car parking charges in Woodley.
Across the rest of the borough the new evening and weekend charges are due to come into force early August. It is expected the Woodley daytime changes will start in September.
“We know these new charges aren’t popular but in these difficult financial times with cuts in our funding from central government, we still have to maintain and run our car parks,” said Cllr Malcolm Richards, executive member for highways and transport.
“During our consultation into the new charging plans, the Woodley Town Centre Management Initiative expressed concern about the impact it would have on their community so we’re happy to see if this is a feasible solution.
“We will look closely at the results comparing them with those from the new evening and weekend charges in other parts of the borough. It will be a very useful yardstick.”
If the trial is not financially successful in Woodley, the daytime increase will be scrapped and the evening and weekend pricing introduced there in line with the rest of the borough.
The daytime trial is not being run more widely because it wasn’t proposed by other town and parish councils.