Saturday, 30 March 2013

Cut free parking, council says

COUNCIL bosses want hotels and supermarkets to cut free parking in Solihull – as they announce plans to hike but cut some charges.

Click the headline or link below to read the rest of this story.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council hopes the moves will help it stave off a massive drop in takings at its car parks, which have been hit by a drop in recession-hit visitors.

But traders have said the fall has been made worse by the recent introduction at Mell Square of pay and display instead of pay on foot, where shoppers pay when leaving the car park.

The council has said the introduction of three hours free parking at Morrisons supermarket has hit takings and it should now “review the arrangements Morrisons implement” there.

A new report says the councilwill “explore any further opportunities to work with supermarkets and hotels to try and reduce the current level of free parking within the town centre”.

Meanwhile, it will look at putting up the one, two and three hour tariffs by at least 10p and the night rate by 20p to £1.50.

It admits this could see drivers “seek alternative parking of travel arrangements” or push parking into residential streets.

But it will consider cutting the over six hour rate at Mell Square - £8.20 Monday to Saturday – to £5 in a bid to compete with Touchwood, where eight to 12 hours is £11.

The report says: “This may move existing long stay parkers from Touchwood,  freeing up space for shoppers and may attract long stay parkers from Monkspath into the town centre.”

Other ideas to boost use of car parks include displaying the number of free spaces on
electronic highway signs instead of just whether the car park is open or closed.

The council will also look at better signing to car parks and stronger promotion of the facilities.

The Silhillian this month reported that Lode Lane car park will scrap pay on foot for pay and display from April and the Mell Square trial has been extended to December.

Mell Square bosses said the introduction of the system last April at Mell Square car park had put drivers off. Use at all car parks fell from 690,000 in 2005 to 500,000 in 2011.

But the council said it was facing a £250,000 bill to repair vandalised pay on foot machines while pay and display machines were cheaper and easier to maintain. Drivers can top up pay-and-display by phone.

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  1. My view is that the Council is being arrogant in thinking they can dictate as to how Supermarkets and others set the terms for parking on their own property.

    Their intentions to increase charges and remove 'Pay on Foot' facilities can only result in driving shoppers away to more a enlightened council's area.

  2. If they want to encourage people to pay by phone, how about making it cheaper - not more expensive as it is currently.

  3. Have the council got any businessman amongst them? if you put up charges to save money it does not work! also I have always used the as I call it Beatties Car Park, but now I use Touchwood, I do not have the type of phone to pay and if I did I would not pay extra to do so, the Council thought that everyone would overpay to make sure, but they have not they just do a little less shopping.
    How dare the think they can tell others how to run their business just to suit themselves, if you have paid 100s of pounds to join a club, you do not expect to pay, ditto, if you are staying at a hotel and as for Morrisons, they also want to make a profit.

  4. Many astute elderly people use their cars to shop at Morrisons because of its convenient location and free parking which also allows time for a quick cuppa. They then use their passes for public transport into the town on those days when shopping for less cumbersome items, browsing or socialising.

    Instead of blaming businesses like Morrisons that are providing a much appreciated service for their customers (and probably paying high rates for the privilege) why not levy those businesses that have no customer parking to cover that provided for their customers by the council i.e., us - the rate payer!!!

    As for everyone else, aren't we supposed, when possible, to be leaving our cars at home and using the excellent,readily available public transport? Better for the environment as well as our pockets.

  5. Well said.
    Also many young people dash into Morrisons and get what they want, then rush to M & S and Boots etc. then home after a tiring day at work. They don't want all the hassle of pay machines etc. and why should they. It is good business by Morrisons, nothing to do with Solihull Council, they most sort out their own mess.

  6. Why are Pay on Foot machines more susceptible than Pay & Display? SMBC have just replaced the PoF machines in the M & Car Park, so why not elsewhere?
    Admit it, SMBC, someone thought it would raise more revenue. Admit you're wrong!!!!

  7. I don't understand all the machines have money in them so why take out the Pay and Display and put in another machine that takes money. It is not anything to do with being broken into, you just though you could make more money and save money by not employing someone on site. Admit you got it wrong.

  8. I will not be using any of the Council or Touchwood car parks from now on. I may have used them in a pinch but this is clearly a case of sour grapes. I will where possible walk into Solihull now as it'll only take me 10minutes. Multiply 52weeks by a couple of quid and you've just lost over £100 from me this year. I suspect others will do the same. For those not as close as me... how much is a return bus fare? Sort it out Solihull Council.

    With Mell Sq being put up for sale for £50m lets hope someone can improve the look and feel, and also the silly car parking setup.

    1. Let's hope Sainsburys don't buy Mell Square as well as Forest Court!

  9. I think it about time the council remembered who are paying their wages! when shops are having to cut prices and peoples wages are frozen why do Solihull Council think they have the right to make more money out of shoppers to Solihull, who are all trying to make ends meet, many in fear of losing their jobs, we are not stupid and will either go to other shopping areas where it is free, or walk or go by public transport if it works out cheaper. You won't win Solihull Council we are not stupid.

    1. The Council thinks the people who live in Knowle are stupid. They say there's no parking problem with Waitrose!

  10. Well there will be!! you can't park now and if they stop parking around the green there will be less and where are all the people that work there going to park? What will happen is that Waitrose will make a loss as only the usual people who walk and now go to Tesco will use it, because after others have tried to park and found the can't, after about the 3rd time of trying they won't bother again, then word will spread. Also in Knowle they are going to charge after 3 hours, but not very much, so that the people who could not park for longer now will be able to pay (a lot less than Solihull prices)so all the car parks will be full anyway from 1st thing in the morning. Good one Solihull Council.

  11. I gave up regular shopping in Solihull several years ago as the parking charges became to prohibitive. I now shop in Warwick where I can get two hours on the edge of the town centre for free or Cannon Hill where parking is also free. Now I know about Morrisons I may return to Solihull more frequently.