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Cheap Kendal parking offers to continue

19 December 2018

Cheap car parking offers introduced in Kendal to mitigate the impact of the closure of common land at New Road to vehicles have been extended.

Our Cabinet has agreed to extend the trial tariff arrangements until 31 March 2018 and intends to continue them into the next financial year.

This includes continuing with the popular £1 ‘early bird’ all-day parking offer at Westmorland Shopping Centre, which was reduced from its previous rate of £2.20 as part of the package of offers.

Cabinet members considered an update on the trial, which was scheduled to end in January, at its meeting last week.

A report confirmed that we have seen our parking revenue income drop by £1,500 as a result of lowering ticket prices during the trial period.

Cabinet members agreed that despite the reduction in revenue they should maintain the cheaper deals in order to continue to offer affordable parking options for residents and visitors.

Cabinet also agreed to revert to pre-trial closing times at two multi-storey car parks, after hearing these offers had proved less popular.

The closing time at Westmorland Shopping Centre had been extended from 7pm to 9pm as part of the package of offers but very few drivers had taken advantage of the later opening, with most still leaving the car park before 7pm.

Taking into account this level of use, combined with the additional staffing costs of keeping the car park open later, it has been agreed that, from 13 January 2018, the car park should revert to its previous closing time of 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 5.30pm on Sundays. The Westmorland Shopping Centre car park will open at 7am Monday-Saturday and at 9.30am on Sundays.

It was further agreed that the lower levels of the car park at South Lakeland House also revert to previous closing times, after being kept open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, under the trial to provide overnight parking options for residents.

Security patrols were introduced at South Lakeland House car park once the hours were extended to prevent incidents of anti-social behaviour in the car park after issues in the car park in previous years.

Cabinet heard that additional costs were being incurred as a result and that only a handful of drivers each week had chosen to use the overnight parking at South Lakeland House. With the top, open-air level of the car park continuing to be accessible for overnight parking, there is plenty of capacity to accommodate the numbers of vehicles using the car park for this purpose.

It was agreed that the lower levels of the car park would therefore revert to the previous 6.30pm closure time. This will also come into effect on 13 January 2018. The lower levels will open at 7am Monday-Saturday and by 8.30am on Sundays.

Notices will be put up and leaflets will be handed out to regular users of both the Westmorland Shopping Centre and South Lakeland House car parks to advise them of the revisions to opening and closing times from 13 January.

Councillor Graham Vincent, our portfolio holder for the economy, said: “We said that we would review the interim parking arrangements at the end of the year to judge their effectiveness.

“It’s clear that many of the cheap ticket deals have been well received and certainly the £1 a day ‘early bird’ ticket at the Westmorland Shopping Centre car park has been very popular, which is understandable as it’s a really good offer, the cheapest all-day parking on any council-operated car park in Cumbria.

“Crucially the deals appear to have achieved their goal, which was to provide attractive alternatives for vehicles displaced from New Road so drivers didn’t look to park in residential streets. We have been closely monitoring any impacts on these side streets near the town centre with colleagues at the county council responsible for on-street parking issues, and there have not been any significant problems highlighted.

“In contrast it has become apparent that the extended opening hours at the two multi-storey car parks have not been as well used. When we weighed the costs of these measures against the benefits it was clear that we should revert to the original closing times.

“It is true the council has seen a drop in its parking revenues as a result of reducing the tariffs, but we consider this a price well worth paying to support our residents, businesses and visitors. That is why we have decided to extend these deals until the end of March and why we also intend to continue them into the next financial year, subject to council approval in February.’’

Full list of charges on council-operated car parks in Kendal.