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Council Drives Forward Parking Charge Changes

A transformation is planned in the way the Borough Council operates its car parks in Newcastle town centre.

Cabinet members have agreed a raft of changes which they hope will not only protect reducing car parking income while at the same time supporting the town centre economy and encouraging visitors into the heart of Newcastle.

Free parking after 3pm for late night shopping nights in Newcastle in the run-up to Christmas is planned.

There will also be a flat rate charge of £1 for all town centre car parks after 3pm by 1 December.

Other measures include:-

  • Establishing short-stay pay and display in the spaces at the front of the former Civic Offices in Merrial Street.
  • Bringing in a flat rate charge of £1 from April 2019 for bank holidays.
  • Promoting the sale of parking permits to medium to large size businesses and organisations with a minimum 20 employees.
  • Promoting pay by phone and also exploring – following consultation with partners - the possible introduction of “pay on exit” arrangements for The Midway, King Street and Goose Street car parks.
  • During summer 2019 produce – in consultation with Cabinet – a 10-year parking strategy for the town centre.

Cllr. Stephen Sweeney, the Deputy Leader who is also the Cabinet member responsible for car parking, said: “We recognise action needs taking and so we have taken steps to try and tackle this important issue.”

In addition, the Council is working with the Business Improvement District (BID) to:-

  1. Implement BID-supported permit parking targeted at BID members.
  2. Enable discounted town centre parking on up to five occasions in any financial year – usually for special events or celebrations.

iii) Facilitate free parking on all town centre car parks from noon to 8pm on the date of the 2018 Christmas Lights switch-on.

Cllr. Sweeney added: “What we are trying to do is ensure that the right balance is struck between enhancing the attractiveness of the town centre through our management and operation of public car parks whilst optimising income from the charges applied.

“The Council is seeking to achieve an appropriate balance between its charging regime and the relative attractiveness of the centre in the hope of enticing more people to spend their time here whether that is to work, visit, live, shop or eat/drink. Through discussions with partners and interested groups we realise parking is deemed to be an issue and that is why we have asked for a wide-ranging piece of work which will take all factors into account before we decide on a way forward.”

Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “As well as looking at action in the short-term we are also looking to draw together a longer-term strategy which will look at the issue of parking for the next decade.”

The Leader added that the Council has recently approved a new Council Plan which sets out clear priorities up to spring 2022 – and this piece of work fell under the corporate priority of “A Town Centre For All” which confirmed the authority’s commitment to “delivering car parking services that support the town centres”.

Members also referred the matter to the Economy, Environment and Place Scrutiny

Committee for comments and suggestions to inform the proposed 10-year strategy.

Last updated 17 October 2018