Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Car-parking FOI

Neil's kindly sent me through the results of the FOI he sent to WFDC regarding the car-parking situation. I'll try to summarise the points.

The installation of two ticket machines cost £3,500; both car-parks are expected to produce a revenue of £7,500 each year which means £11,500 for the first year and £15k thereafter. The cost to change the signs for every car-park is £1,700 (assuming that's £1,700 total and not each).

[Update - just to prove everyone can make a mistake it seems this is £7,500 in total for both car-parks as per the July report

"As part of the financial strategy 2010/11 the Council agreed to undertake a strategic review of car park tariffs, this report sets out the framework for this to proceed and the options by which the anticipated £7,500 additional revenue anticipated for this financial year could be achieved."
So that's £4k in the first year and £7,500 per year thereafter; so £3,250 each or less than £10/day]

For the residents, the impact upon them has been considered and "mitigation introduced to minimise the effects". From context this mitigation consists of allowing them to park overnight during the closed period (18:00 18:30 - 08:00) and allowing them to purchase Restricted Season Tickets. As this first allowance is in place for every district car-park it can't be counted as a specific mitigation. The only call I can make here is the inclusion of the two car-parks in the list for the Restricted Season ticket.

Finally the charges in place are set in February of that year ready to be agreed and implemented in October; ah wait no I added that bit the exact phrase is
"The Council sets its car parking charges in February each year to come into effect on 1st October that year, so charges coming into effect on 1st October 2010 have already been agreed."
Do you see the difference? When are they agreed and BTW who agreed them? If it's the Council in February how can the Cabinet change them in September. If it's the Cabinet in February, where's the justification in changing them. If they're only to be agreed in September why bother to set them in February?

Onto the Basins and Lloyds Garage. Now the plan was to redevelop this area to attract visitors and provide a nicer gateway to the Basin areas, the current situation is to plonk a temporary car-park there. So in response to what are the plans for this area we get the sales pitch - the overall plan. We are assured however that this isn't driven by revenue considerations
"but by achieving the redevelopment of the site that will maximise its importance to the wider basins area by attracting more visitors to the town"
So they haven't found a "development partner" to actually carry out the plan, but they're still going to go ahead and clear the site. Rather than leave a barren waste they're going to put a car-park in for the meantime. As the site is generating both rent and rates and provided local jobs I'm curious as to how this decision could be deemed efficient. Trouble is all dealings with the owner fall under "commercially confidential".

So sure if the owner is ready and wants to move I'd rather the site be cleared than leave an empty building and rather than a cleared site, use it for something. I do wonder where the idea of a car-park originated from though.

As an aside what disruption will the clearing and rebuilding cause? Remember this is on the only road that connects to the Severn bridge due to the lack of a Relief Road. Oh and this also means they'll be two car-parks next to each other where traffic will be trying to turn right onto the only main road. At least there's not a pedestrian crossing nearby and there's never a lot of pedestrians roaming around this area in the tourist season...ah.


Unknown said...

In no way do the specific mitigations amount to a real Impact study. so the short answer here is - No.

Except, I have spoken with the owner and he has not been approached in anyway whatsoever. In the Dog at Dunley meeting, he did say that he would be willing to enter negotiations with the council. I should think to buy it back for less than he sold it, but there will be a delay to this site progressing and I believe that with the right attitude, an interim rental agreement could be reached. still.

Why a car park? Simple, Revenue!

Alternatively, make it an open public space, an area for visitors to sit and relax, to eat take away food with bins & enjoy the scene across the basins once the site is cleared and an attractive barrier installed. Maybe this would attract a development partner more effectively. Use some artwork and interesting landscaping. show everybody the vision, sell it & the district. A new space to sell it to you the public and commerce. Easy. Job done fast, guaranteed.

Planning approval is still required for a car park, though part of it is now and highways also need to approve it. My green space area is best when lloyds goes.

Overall, confirmation the consultation was a sham.

More questions than answers. the pattern continues, the barricades hold.

FlipC said...

While checking for something else I ran into this from the Cabinet report in July

"It is considered that the site will be more marketable with the existing garage buildings demolished and this will also enable detailed ground investigations to be carried out where necessary, and, as a short term measure until redevelopment is ready to take place, the land be used as a temporary car park."

From the same document regarding the VAT changes

"The operational cost of making these changes is estimated to be in the region of £3,500."

So is that roughly £1,700 for yet more new signs and £1,800 to um change the machines?