Downham Town Council could hold public consultation on car parks

Downham car park just behind Iceland that has recently become a pay and display. In the past this has been a free car park and was almost impossible to find a car parking space.. ANL-140513-085306009
Downham car park just behind Iceland that has recently become a pay and display. In the past this has been a free car park and was almost impossible to find a car parking space.. ANL-140513-085306009
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Traders and residents in Downham could have a say on the future of the town’s car parking if councillors give the green light.

Downham Town Council commissioned a study of the town’s car parks last year after receiving complaints about spaces being blocked throughout the day.

Inspectors from Alpha Parking reported back earlier this year to suggest that the town needs an additional 40 spaces along with some form of charging.

The firm’s recommendation to hold a public consultation on its proposal will be decided by councillors on the property sub-committee at a meeting today. But any final decision will need to be ratified by the full council.

Deputy town clerk Richard Davidson said: “We are aware of the time line that this has taken place but discussions are continuing at a pace and we have to go through the correct procedures.

“This is one reason why we have engaged a proper car park consultant specialist to go through the procedure.”

Traders in the town have raised concerns about workers blocking the spaces.

The report complied by Alpha Parking found that car parks are either full or at 95 per cent capacity.

It states: “These usage levels indicate that the point has already been reached where action to increase capacity is required.

“In addition, it is not unreasonable to predict car parking demand in Downham will rise by approximately seven per cent to 10 per cent and forecasts indicate that the town council will need to provide between 26 and 37 extra off-street parking spaces over the next five years.

“It should be recognised that without significant capital investment, meeting the extra population and thus potential parking can only be achieved by some form of charging.”

The report recommends introducing a form of charging after the first hour.

Charging periods will run between Monday to Saturdays from 8am to 6pm. The report adds: “It would encourage traffic flow and parking turnover and supports the town council’s objective of maximising free parking; being accountable in terms of revenue and would be commercially viable to a parking contractor.”