Sunday, 10 March 2013

Pay and display coming to Lode Lane car park

LODE Lane car park in Solihull is to change to controversial pay and display – as figures show a drop in drivers at another car park that took on the system.

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Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has agreed to end pay-on-foot – where drivers pay just before they leave – as it cuts equipment costs.

But retail bosses have said the introduction of the system in April at Mell Square car park had put drivers off as they have to pay up front.

Figures show a month-on-month drop in takings compared to 2011, though visitors have fallen from 690,000 in 2005 to 500,000 in 2011.

Mell Square Management Team said the changes “has had a detrimental effect on both footfall and trade within the centre, most particularly in Drury Lane North and South”

A council report says: “The impact of this change has come during a particularly challenging time for their retailers, most notably the independents, whose presence in the town is essential to its overall vibrancy and long term prosperity.”

The council got £170,000 less from April to December from the car park, which brings in about £770,000 a year.

The team said the introduction of three hours free parking at nearby Morrisons has not helped.

The report says: “The challenge now is to encourage new people to visit Mell Square car park and experience the advantages of the P&D system for themselves.”

The council this week agreed to trial pay and display at Lode Lane and extend it at Mell Square to December.

It said vandalised pay-on-foot machines at Mell Square would cost £250,000 to replace compared to £60,000 for pay-and-display machines. Drivers can top up pay-and-display by phone.

The report says the Lode Lane plan will save £100,000 a year