One section on car parking caught my eye as it gave a link to a web site called Park Mark, part of a UK wide Safer Parking Scheme.
“The Safer Parking Scheme is an initiative of the Association of Chief Police Officers aimed at reducing crime and the fear of crime in parking facilities. Safer parking status, Park Mark, is awarded to parking facilities that have met the requirements of a risk assessment conducted by the Police. These requirements mean the parking operator has put in place measures that help to deter criminal activity and anti-social behaviour, thereby doing everything they can to prevent crime and reduce the fear of crime in their parking facility.
For customers, using a Park Mark Safer Parking facility means that the area has been vetted by the Police and has measures in place to create a safe environment.
- Quality management
- Appropriate lighting
- Effective surveillance
- Clean environment”
On the web site, you can enter the name of a town and see which of the car parks are accredited. I tried this for a few local towns with results as follows;
- Camberley – 1 – The Atrium
- Farnborough – 2
- Woking – 3
- Bracknell – 3
- Reading – 5 in town centre
- Basingstoke – 12 in town centre
- Guildford – 20 in town centre
The most obvious point to note here is that neither Knoll Road or Main Square car parks are accredited, and when you compare them to The Atrium it’s not hard to see why. It would be good to see SHBC aiming to get Park Mark accreditation to these two car parks.
I also read with interest that the government have commissioned a study into car parking charges and whether Councils use them as a ‘cash cow’ to bring in revenue to the potential detriment of the town, this was discussed in the House of Lords on Tuesday.
You can read the full transcripts here, but I thought the comment from Baroness Stowell of Beeston was very significant;
“My Lords, the Government’s assessment is that town-centre parking policies can have a significant impact on local businesses. If parking is too expensive or difficult, shoppers will drive to out-of-town supermarkets or just shop online, undermining the vitality of town centres and leading to “ghost town” high streets. The Government intend to support local shops in town centres by reforming overzealous and unfair rules on parking enforcement.”
Much has been made of parking issues in Camberley recently – whether it’s the A30 slip road fines, the state of the stairs and lifts or the fact that ticket machines still won’t take coins that came into circulation in 2012 and you can read local blog posts on these;
- Open letter from SHBC on A30 slip road
- My thoughts on this
- Comment from Surrey Heath Residents Network
- Opinions from Camberley Eye 1 and 2
- State of the lifts 1 and 2
- Ticket machines
What is clear is that there is a great deal of concern from traders in the town that the cost and quality of parking in Camberley is a deterrent to shoppers and hence damaging to trade in the town.
The findings of this Government report can’t come soon enough, I hope that they have the desired effect and encourage SHBC to support local business by making shopping in Camberley the pleasurable experience it could and should be.