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Wincanton Town Council's response to SSDC's car parking proposal

Wednesday 28 August 2019, 19:28
By Dave Smith

The Churchfield free car parking sign outside the SSDC office building

What follows is Wincanton Town Council's formal response to South Somerset District Council's car parking charges proposal published recently in the Western Gazette and Blackmore Vale Magazine. Below that is a list of the reductions in services made by the Town Council in order to pay for the compensation scheme that has been in effect for the last seven years.

Alex Parmley
Chief Executive
South Somerset District Council
Council Offices
Brympton Way
Yeovil
Somerset
BA20 2HT

27th August 2019

Dear Alex,

Proposed Car Parking Charges in Wincanton

I am writing on behalf of Wincanton Town Council to oppose the proposed car parking charges being introduced in Wincanton, as per the advertisement in the local press.

Wincanton Town Council gave notice to end the compensation scheme in September 2016, since that date South Somerset District Council have not contacted the Town Council to discuss a solution suitable for both councils going forward. To hear the news via the media and not to be consulted at all is unacceptable.

Recently, South Somerset District Council paid a large sum of money to Chilmark Consulting, Owen Davies Consulting and Robert West Design to produce a strategy for Wincanton, with the underlying objective to boost footfall, create a more vibrant centre and support future regeneration aspirations. Page 39 of the recommendation states the importance of any emerging car parking strategy actively investigates management options. As the Town Council have paid £174,000 over the last seven years, they would have welcomed being involved in the management options and consider car parking charges will hinder the footfall and future aspirations for the Town. The strategy also states the location of car parking and current free cost is considered a major incentive by stakeholders for attracting visitors, by implementing charges this will contradict your commissioned report.

With reference to the Strategy and Action Plan Appendices, it mentions plans to retain and enhance the vitality and viability of Wincanton. The stakeholder feedback identified car parking charges as a focused consideration which would threaten the vitality of the Town and all supported free car parking.

The Town Council would like to ask why Wincanton have not been offered parking permits or season tickets for residents and businesses which pay large business rates to South Somerset District Council. They would also like a copy of the impact assessment, the costs of implementing charges and any predicted income data. Please advise if this will require a request under the freedom of information act?

Appendix 2 (page) 32, general issue/theme of the draft terms of reference presented to the Area East Committee in July shows Removal of parking and car parks charges as the top two concerns of the stakeholders.

It is disappointing the Town Council did not have the opportunity to discuss car parking and be formally notified of the consultation after many years of a good working relationship between councils. We would welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss any options which may benefit both parties.

Yours sincerely

Sam Atherton

Wincanton Town Clerk

 

Cc:

Ian Case, Property Services

Councillor Hobhouse SSDC

Councillor Winder, SSDC

Councillor Colbert, SSDC

 

Reduction in services to pay for car park compensation scheme

2012 No precept, paid by reserves
2013 Cemetery costs cut
Ground Maintenance budget cut
New Equipment cut
Town Hall repairs delayed
Toilets maintenance reduced
Allotments maintenance reduced
Churchyard repairs delayed
Tree Policy maintenance reduced
2014 Grant to Wincanton Sports Ground reduced by £7,500
Grants cut New Equipment cut
Tourism Costs cut
Christmas Lights/Decorations cut
Town Hall repairs delayed
Toilet maintenance reduced
Allotment maintenance cut
CCTV maintenance cut
2015 Grant to Wincanton Sports Ground reduced by £4,000
Youth Work provision cut
Cemetery costs cut
Transport Plan Improvements cut
2016 Youth Worker provision reduced to 0
Community Newsletter reduced to 0
Parish Warden Scheme deleted
Transport Plan Improvements reduced
New Equipment costs reduced
(Houses to claim from increased by 80)
2017 Security Patrols added to Precept £22,000
Property Maintenance reduced
Town Hall and Community Office reduced
New Equipment reduced
Town Hall Repairs reduced
New CCTV delayed
Councillor Training deleted
(Houses to claim from increased by 25)
2018 Cemetery maintenance reduced
Security Patrols deleted
Administration costs reduced
New Equipment reduced
Toilets maintenance reduced
Recreation Ground Improvement reduced
(Houses to claim from increased by 35)
2019 David Sharp Centre maintenance reduced
Recreation Ground Improvements reduced
Tree Policy maintenance reduced
Skatepark Fund reduced
Transport Plan Improvements reduced
(David Sharp Centre income increased)
(Houses to claim from decreased by 1)



Comments

steeplejack
Posts: 1
Comment
Car Parking Charges
Reply #1 on : Thu August 29, 2019, 12:32:07
Footfall in high streets is a national concern, but sadly, just as an imaginative scheme for Wincanton is proposed, it is undermined by imposing car parking charges. I now will have a surcharge of 65p if I shop in the High Street for a newspaper or a pound of sausages, supporting local businesses. I could buy both at a local supermarket with free parking. Those of us in the outlying villages will have less incentive to purchase the odd item from the struggling High Street. Finally, the lack of consultation with the Town Council is inexcusable and high handed.
MichaelJWhite
Posts: 1
Comment
Car parking
Reply #2 on : Wed September 04, 2019, 07:25:04
Agree with steeplejack, yet another death nail to the town even after the rejuvenation plan for the town.

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