Agenda item

Car Parks Project

The Head Ranger to be heard.

Minutes:

The Head Ranger was heard regarding the Car Parks Project and the following points were made:

 

·         Car parking charges had been introduced at Riddlesdown and Farthing Downs Commons on 25 January 2021 and the target income for car park charges for the 2021/22 financial year was on track to be achieved. The rollout had been supported by on-site rangers who explained the new arrangements and raised visitors’ awareness about the work required to maintain the Commons.  Feedback by members of the public had been varied; however, the introduction of car parking charges had already led to a reduction in anti-social behaviour.  In response to a question from a Member, the Head Ranger confirmed that volunteers would not be charged for parking when undertaking work on site. 

 

·         Members of the Commons Consultation discussed the impact of the introduction of car parking charges. 

 

·         A Member was concerned at the introduction of car parking charges during the COVID-19 period as exercise and access to outdoor spaces were important in supporting mental and physical health.  Riddlesdown Common was sited at the top of a steep incline which may lead to car parking charges having a disproportionate impact on older people and those with limited mobility, such as those joining health walks. The Superintendent confirmed that an equalities impact assessment had been undertaken for all sites prior to the introduction to car parking charges and had identified no issues.  The introduction of car parking charges was part of the wider strategy for increased income generation to support the sustainable management of the Commons and blue badge holders would continue to park for free.

 

·         A number of concerns had been raised around the introduction of car parking charges on non-City of London Corporation social media pages.  Key issues included payment methods for car parking charges and what visitors should do if they were concerned that a penalty notice may have been issued to them in error.  The Superintendent confirmed that car parking charges could be paid via a Smart Phone app or credit card which were increasingly popular methods of payment. Whilst consideration had been given to introducing a cash payment option, this was very expensive and had not been considered feasible.  Visitors were encouraged to contact the Support Services team for assistance with car parking charges or penalty notices where any concerns were identified.

 

·         It was planned to introduce signage highlighting the cost of maintaining open spaces in car parking and the Head Ranger would provide case study information regarding spend on each open space to Members of the Consultation Group following the meeting to share across their networks and communities. 

 

RESOLVED, that the update be noted.