Friday, January 17, 2014

Council to charge extra for under water parking!...

When I saw the headline in today's Courier I almost spat my tea out in shock but the truth is that this is a lot more complex than it would at first seem. As the director of planning at TMBC (the council to you and me) is quoted as having said the review of charges has to take into account the balance of revenue and the vitality of the town centre. Wise words Steve but do you really mean it when it seems quite clear that the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing? Timing in announcements is crucial and this is classic bad timing. Economy still depressed, consumer confidence at an all time low, the rise and rise of internet shopping and, not least, Tonbridge has just had a natural disaster of its own with the floods over Christmas. Maybe the council have decided to charge extra for the novelty of under water parking!!
Parking charges in town centres always seem too high to me and, I should think, to most people. In a way it's just a form of stealth tax anyway. That said the car parks always seem to be spilling over with cars (and sometimes water!) so there's no doubt that they're in demand. I was over at Pembury Hospital last night for reasons I won't go into now and, though I have an major issue with hospitals charging for parking, I have to say that I wish that Tonbridge town centre would use the same system. Barrier entry, no limit to how long you can stay, pay at a ticket machine just before you leave. That way there's no worry about staying longer in that shop, trying on a new pair of jeans in the sale at Beales or meeting a friend and lingering over a second coffee because you're enjoying their company. It works, it would boost trade, it's simple and would avoid the need for the goons (parking wardens) to be hovering over your car when there's a minute left on your ticket. If the brains at the council would change all the car parks to that simple workable system I'd settle for trading that off for paying slightly more for parking. Shoppers would be happy, traders would be happy and I'd be ecstatic....

4 comments:

Paul Bailey said...

"Barrier entry, no limit to how long you can stay, pay at a ticket machine just before you leave."

Definitely the way to go, but how would it work in an open car-park, such as Sainsbury's, where people drive through to get to the petrol station, or stop off to use the recycle bins? I have also seen coaches dropping people off in Sainsbury's car-park and sometimes lorries parking up there for the night.

Perhaps the proposed redevelopment of the Angel Centre/Sainsbury's site, will allow barrier entry, and also some of the smaller car-parks could be adapted in this fashion. The news though, that parking charges are to rise, is very unwelcome, and shows the council to be totally out of touch; despite their platitudes to the contrary.

Dave said...

What a good opportunity the Angel redevelopment will be for the council to get rid of the antiquated pay and display system and put in a pay on exit system together with digit display of how many spaces are available. No cost to the council as Sainsbury's can pay.
This development is supposed to be at no cost to the council but they do have to give up the Bradford Street and the long stay car park in Sovereign way.
And don't believe the press reports this weekend that they will be an additional 842 parking spaces. There wont be any its just that the spaces are being redistributed.
Imagine a Saturday afternoon in 2016 when the development is complete, the 5 new quality retailers are in place and there is a blockbuster on at the 700 seater cinema. You are right nobody in their right mind is going to pay to park to visit the cinema but the town will be gridlocked with cars going through the single entrance to drop of their passengers on the cinema door step. Not that there will be any spaces for them.

But this application could just be a ploy to make sure that Morrison's give up their plans to open a store on the old Seetar sight.

Paul Bailey said...

Does anyone know if Morrisons are still interested in the old Seetar site? My feeling is that Sainsbury's have already scared them off.

Tim James said...

Actually does anyone in Tonbridge give a flying fuck?