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Elmbridge car-parking strategy 2022-2030

Elmbridge car-parking strategy 2022-2030

Supporting a sustainable and thriving community

On Wednesday 16 November, Elmbridge Cabinet will consider the 2022-2030 off-street parking strategy for the borough.

Our 28 car parks represent a vital aspect of a thriving Elmbridge, supporting our high streets and villages, as well as community connectivity. They are important for a sustainable Elmbridge through electric vehicle charging points that contribute to our net zero ambitions, as well as supporting our financial sustainability; car park net income is invested in environmental services such as recycling, street cleaning, and recreational open space, and this is to the benefit of all.

We have a wide range of car parks across town and village centres, almost every car park has a different issue, and to support each community we have determined is that our car parks need individual consideration. The requirements for Hollyhedge car park in Cobham for example are not the same as those of Hersham station car park. We need to understand what purpose car parking fulfils and what patterns of usage individual car parks have. We also need to understand what influences parking choices, and to promote more sustainable modes of transport.

Councillor Robin Stephens, Portfolio Holder for Enterprise and Local Economy explains the fundamentals of the strategy: “The overall aim of this car parking strategy is to provide and manage a range of safe, secure, well-maintained and affordable off-street car parking that meets the needs of residents, shoppers, businesses, visitors and commuters in a way to ensure the long term economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the borough.” 

What did residents and businesses tell us?

A parking consultation survey was undertaken between 20 July and 13 September 2022, with over 4,600 surveys completed.  Satisfaction with our car parks was generally high with the majority of respondents satisfied or very satisfied with our car parks, 87% of customers are happy with cleanliness, 82% with lighting, 79% with safety and security and 85% with markings and signage.

Views received on tariff pricing were varied by demographic location and length of stay.

The survey also helped us to establish the following information around car park use:

  • The impact of the COVID pandemic has reduced the use of the borough’s car parks by approximately 20%
  • Location and then price were the top two factors for customers when choosing where to park
  • Nearly 80% preferred to pay by electronically
  • 27% either owned or planned to buy a ‘plug-in’ electric vehicle in the next year, with 24% expressing that they would use EV charge points in car parks

Full results of the consultation survey.

Four strategic pillars of success

The 2022-2030 Elmbridge car parking strategy establishes four strategic pillars of success.

Customising            Digitalising             Sustainability           Utilisation  

  1. Customising: We want our car parks to support and improve the vibrancy of their local town or village. To achieve this, we will undertake more analysis for each car park, while always listening to residents and businesses.
     
  2. Digitalising:  With ever changing technology, we can implement easier-to-use payment methods, as well as providing customers with parking space information, availability, restrictions, and tariffs, enabling easy access to park and pay. 
     
  3. Sustainability: While Sustainable Elmbridge promotes the increasing the use of sustainable transport, in some instances, customers have no alternative but to use cars. This strategy in also promoting more suitable modes of transport is not an anti-car strategy.  We are taking a flexible approach, subject to the developments in demand, technology, and user habits. We will continue to develop an EV charge points strategy for both on and off-street parking (with Surrey County Council).
     
  4. Utilisation: The aim is for each of our car parks to cover its costs. Not all our car parks currently break even, and underused car parking is a wasted resource which needs to be addressed as car parking space is an asset for the local community. Where car parks are underutilised, initiatives will be developed to improve utilisation such as car valet services, drop boxes, local markets, and space for affordable housing.

The need for pricing solutions that best meet the particular circumstances of each car park in the medium to long term is key to our strategy. Recognising the new working patterns post COVID-19, more flexible season tickets will also be considered.

Three Pilots: turning a strategy into actions

The strategy sets out the three pilot programmes we will conduct:

1. Walton-on-Thames to support footfall in the town centre

2. Cobham to reduce parking stress issues

3. East Molesey to focus on underutilised car parks

Each pilot will be specifically designed in collaboration with local ward Councillors and could include:

  • Tariffs to encourage use of cleaner vehicles.
  • Review permit/season tickets pricing to encourage alternative modes of transport           
  • Explore options for expanding overnight EV charging infrastructure for those residents without off- street parking

 

The Elmbridge car-parking strategy 2022-2030 will be considered by Elmbridge Cabinet on Wednesday 16 November at 7pm and if agreed will be referred Elmbridge Council 7 December for approval.

You can watch these meeting via webcast.

 

 

 

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