I am disappointed that despite the Woodley trial starting in August you are not yet in a position to give details of the income generated compared to the proposals that have been implemented elsewhere in the Borough. We know from last month's Executive that the car park budget has been over achieved by £40K. Regardless of whether the Executive takes a sensible decision or not this evening can I ask you to consider what you can do to help retailers in Wokingham Town, two of whom have already left this year.
Regarding the Woodley trial that commenced in September 2016 we need to analyse a full year’s car parking data across the Borough, including seasonal fluctuations, before making a permanent decision. However I am proposing that this data and a clear recommendation will be brought back to this Committee when it is available.
I have recently set up a cross party Member and Officer working group to review the Borough’s approach to parking. The initial meeting was only this week however I am pleased to report that part of the group’s wide remit will be to review town centre car parking, as well as Borough wide parking. When a new Wokingham Parking Policy is drafted later this year the Council will be engaging with stakeholders by consulting widely, before a new Wokingham Parking Plan is ultimately approved by the Committee. It would be unwise to make hasty decisions about anything based on incomplete data.
With regard to the retailers in the Wokingham Town, which you asked about, apart from the Rose Street car parking being recently removed to enable the new Peach Place development there is considerable parking around the town, both at daytime and evening (both chargeable and free parking) and the brand new Carnival Pool with parking will be opening shortly, and don’t forget that the on-street parking is still operational and is free around various parts of the town centre. Finally, the feedback we are getting from retailers (both existing and potential new ones) is that they are very pleased with the regeneration and are keen for us to continue and we are receiving many enquiries about the new town centre premises including major sign ups.
You have made comments about a longer period. Obviously you are considering this evening that decision. You have not made that decision yet, so I don’t know how you can say that. May I just say to you that obviously Woodley is another town to Wokingham Town and obviously it, like Wokingham, is looking forward to regeneration. I wonder whether you have had any discussions with the Leader of Woodley Town Council with regards to the implication of the parking arrangements while regeneration in Woodley takes place?
The system that we have in Wokingham Town is also Borough-wide apart from the car parks in Woodley. The purpose of doing this pilot system is in order to get comparisons of income and parking patterns and so on, and that is why we are going on for the year. We don’t want to make any decisions and change halfway through until we’ve got the whole periods worth of data.