Agenda item - Small Business Saturday - Parking Tariffs

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Agenda item

Small Business Saturday - Parking Tariffs

Report of the Executive Director of Environment, Development & Housing (copy attached).


That Option 1 as detailed in the report be approved.


2.1             The Executive Director for Environment, Development & Housing introduced the report which had resulted from the approval of a Notice of Motion at the Council on the 24th October, in relation to the introduction of reduced parking tariffs at certain city centre car parks in December 2013.  He noted that there was a need to publish a traffic order giving 21 days notice of the proposals should they be approved, which was why the urgency sub-committee had been called.


2.2             The Lead Commissioner, City Infrastructure & Regulation stated that the report set out two options in relation to the aims of the notice of motion, with Option 1 setting out the proposals as required by the Notice of Motion; whilst Option 2 set out an alternative proposal for reduced parking at the specified car parks.  The report detailed the associated costs with both options and highlighted the environmental impact and concerns from local businesses.


2.3             Councillor Morgan referred to Option 2 and sought clarification in regard to paragraphs 1.2 and 4.5 of the report and whether the continued reduced rate at London Road outlined in paragraph 4.5 had been costed.


2.4             The Lead Commissioner, City Infrastructure & Regulation confirmed that the proposed tariff reduction for London Road in paragraph 4.5 of the report had been costed.


2.5             Councillor A. Norman queried whether the estimated cost in paragraph 7.4 of the report for reduced tariffs at London Road car park took into account that it was likely more people would park there if costs were reduced.


2.6             The Lead Commissioner, City Infrastructure & Regulation stated that a 20% increase in use of the car park had been allowed for in the proposal for Option 2.


2.7             Councillor A. Norman stated that she wished to move an amendment to the recommendation with Option 1 being the preferred solution and in addition, a further recommendation to approve the changes to Sunday tariffs at London Road as detailed in paragraph 4.5 of the report and appendix 2.


2.8             Councillor Morgan formally seconded the amendment.


2.9             The Chair noted the amendment and called on the Monitoring Officer to confirm the constitutional position in regard to the proposed recommendations.


2.10         The Monitoring Officer stated that the change to approve Option 1 was valid, however the additional recommendation had not been fully costed and the information was not available to the Sub-Committee at this time.  In this regard, the Sub-Committee were not in a position to be able to approve such a recommendation and his advice would be that a further report should be brought to an appropriate committee meeting for determination as soon as possible.


2.11         Councillor Morgan sought clarification on the advice given as the text of the amendment had been taken from the report itself and in that respect he queried whether the Sub-Committee was in a position to approve Option 2 as detailed in the report.


2.12         The Lead Commissioner, City Infrastructure & Regulation stated that an assumption had been made in relation to operating reduced tariffs in December and this was reflected in the financial implications, however the information in appendix 2 did not take into account the continued reduction at London Road and therefore needed to be adjusted.


2.13         The Chair stated that it appeared that the reduced rates had been accounted for Saturday 7th and Sundays in December, but should a reduced rate be sought for London Road from January onwards, then a further report was necessary.  In this regard he suggested that the amendment could be altered so that Option 1 was put forward and he was happy to give his assurance that a further report would be brought to the appropriate committee to determine whether a continued reduced rate should operate from January onwards.


2.14         Councillor A. Norman noted the advice from the Monitoring Officer and the Chair’s suggestion and stated that she was unhappy with the situation.  She noted that both Regency and Norton Road Car Parks were listed with specific dates in paragraph 7.4, whilst London Road stated that the reductions would be for December onwards.    She felt that the necessary information should be available and should a further report be required that it should come to the Policy & Resources Committee meeting on the 5th December as both she and Councillor Morgan were members of that committee.


2.15         The Executive Director for Environment, Development & Housing stated that there was an error in the report and he wished to apologise to the Sub-Committee for that.  However, it was not possible to provide the required financial information at the current meeting but he would ensure a report could be submitted to the Policy & Resources Committee on the 5th December.


2.16         The Chair stated that he would take the amendment to the recommendation so that Option 1 was put forward rather than Option 2 and that he would ensure a report was brought to the Committee meeting in December.


2.17         Councillor A. Norman thanked the Chair and stated that she believed a number of other authorities offered free or reduced parking rates in the run up to Christmas and that the proposals in Option 1 would benefit local businesses and trade.  She believed that the car parks listed were underused and that the argument that more traffic would be generated resulting in increased congestion was inaccurate.  She welcomed the proposed reduction in rates for London Road car park and hoped that this could be taken forward.


2.18         Councillor Morgan referred to the debate at the council meeting and the points listed in the report which outlined reasons why Option 1 was not favoured and questioned the evidence used to support the reasons.  He believed that there was a need to go ahead with the proposals outlined in Option 1 and to gain the evidence of the impact these have for consideration of similar arrangements in future years.  It was not possible to determine the impact without testing it out.  He stated that a reduction in bus fares on the same days would be welcome but noted that was something for the bus companies to consider.  He also noted that proposals for temporary park & ride sites as listed in the City Plan had yet to come forward and therefore felt that it was only appropriate to test whether the offer of free parking would have a beneficial impact for local businesses.


2.19         The Chair noted the comments and stated that whilst reference was made to other authorities offering similar schemes, they were quite different to Brighton & Hove.  He noted that the city had over 8.5 million visitors each year and that the pubic transport system was recognised for enabling people to move around the city.  There were question marks in regard to whether a car parked in a car park all day would result in increased business and consideration had to be given to the effect on congestion and air quality.  He did not believe that Option 1 was the right approach and felt that Option 2 was a more preferable one, and queried whether it would be better to have reduced parking rates in January and February when business was traditionally quiet etc…  He noted that the amendment had been revised so that it only changed the recommendation from Option 2 to Option 1 and put it to the vote, which was carried.


2.20         The Chair then put the recommendation as amended to the vote.


2.21         RESOLVED: That Option 1 as detailed in the report be approved.


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