Car parking strategy
The cost of car parking is important but not the sole factor in a driver's decision to park. Key factors include:
- reason for coming into Newcastle
- closeness to the attraction to which the driver wishes to visit
- reasonable availability of spaces
- ease of use
- payment options
- electric car charging facilities
- security of the car park
There are major plans to regenerate the Ryecroft area of the town centre, including the now vacant civic offices. At present this provides a significant number of parking spaces which will be subject to change once the redevelopment takes place.
We have a policy of 'town centre for all' and encourage development and conversion for housing in the town centre. Student and mixed apartment accommodation continues to be developed. Whilst the Sky Building has stalled, other sites have come forward including the former Savoy Cinema site and former Bristol Street Motors site. This will see an increase in people living in the area and therefore potentially more demand on the evening parking.
As part of the Newcastle sustainable transport group, we are working with Staffordshire County Council to review signage in the town centre to improve wayfinding and provide town centre users with clear directional information. The group is also working on a complete review and renewal of town centre road signage to direct traffic in the most effective way to reduce congestion and improve air quality. This includes clear directions to car parks.
Car parking is seen as a council issue. However, there is a significant private car park operator delivering the Lymelight Boulevard and many supermarkets with substantial parking around the ring road. Town centre businesses believe that car parking should be led by us. For car parking to effectively support the economic development of the town centre a much more joined-up approach needs to be taken with businesses supporting parking initiatives. A communications plan will be developed which actively promotes the car parking, addresses customer concerns and engages local businesses.
Customers do not understand the difference between the county council operating on-street parking and the borough operating car parks. This leads to confusion when we introduce parking concessions with the business improvement district (BID). All three partners will need to work together to have a joined-up approach to car parking charges.