WinACC presentation to WCC Cabinet 4 December 2013 on WCC Parking Strategy

John Beveridge of Winchester Action on Climate Change told the City Council that the local climate change charity’s transport group was disappointed that the detailed proposals in the draft parking strategy for Winchester Town would not reduce congestion and pollution in the town and seemed to conflict with other Council policies, although he welcomed the overall approach and principles of the paper which was discussed at the Cabinet meeting on 4 December 2013.

 “All the evidence demonstrates that Winchester has more town centre parking than it needs”. This is a quote from the Council’s own Town Access Plan, repeated in the Local Plan which was approved this March. The Council made a commitment in both those documents to explore opportunities to reduce car parking capacity by around 500 spaces.  “This should be the starting point for a car parking strategy”, said John Beveridge. “Why has it been ignored?”

WinACC argues that it is possible to be green and to encourage local shopping. People make the assumption that shoppers want to use the car, but evidence from research doesn’t back this view up. People linger in town if it is clean and pleasant to walk around. An important report ‘The Pedestrian Pound’ published this year shows that more pedestrian priority areas are better for business.  “If we had less traffic in St George’s street so that Parchment street linked to the pedestrian High St, more people would explore the shops of Parchment street” said John Beveridge, chair of WinACC’s transport group.

The local climate change charity took the opportunity to raise car parking again when the report on Winchester station area from the consultants Tibbalds was discussed at the same meeting. After John had complimented the City Council on its decision to encourage people to park just outside Winchester Town at what the Council calls “gateway” car parks, Phil Gagg of the WinACC transport group rejected the suggestion of closing the Cattlemarket / Worthy Lane car park, an ideal “gateway”. Both Phil and John argued strongly against developing the car park at Gladstone St because that would bring unnecessary traffic into the station area.

Phil was pleased that the station development assessment talked about the need for good walking and cycling routes, although he regretted that the report didn’t say more about where these should be.

However, WinACC wants any development at the station to allow space for a transport interchange that makes it easier for buses to link with trains, and regretted that the report had dismissed this idea without analysis.

Notes to editors:

1.         Full text of speech to Cabinet by John Beveridge, Chair of WinACC’s Transport Action Group, is at the end of this document.

2.         See item 8 of the agenda for Winchester City Council Cabinet on 4 December to read the full Council report.

3.         Winchester Action on Climate Change was formed in October 2007 to engage every household and organisation in Winchester district in cutting the carbon footprint of the district by 30% between 2004 and the end of 2015.

4.         WinACC runs regular meetings throughout the year to get the Winchester community engaged in climate change and lowering carbon emissions.

5.         For further information visit winacc.org.uk or call Chris Holloway, Director on 01962 827083 / 07779 283451 or email press@winacc.org.uk

6.         Winchester Action on Climate Change Ltd is a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales with company registration no. 08013043. Our registered office is Room 163, Main Building, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester SO22 4NR. We are also a registered charity in England and Wales with charity no 1150754.

 

SPEECH

"We welcome many of the principles and more general statements in the paper.  I will concentrate on  areas of concern and make 4 points.

 

"1. On policy, the paper accepts the general aims of the WTAP but it curiously ignores the clear statement in the Access Plan (which is repeated in the Local Plan part 1 adopted in March this year), that allthe evidence demonstrates that Winchester has more town centre parking than it needs and opportunities will be explored  to reduce car parking capacity by around 500 spaces.  This should be the starting point for this strategy. Why has it been ignored?

 

"2.  The strategy assumes that a reduction in parking in the town centre is in conflict with a thriving economy.   The important report ‘The Pedestrian Pound’ published this year shows this is wrong. The opposite is true.  More pedestrian priority areas mean more people coming into town centres to the benefit of business.  In Winchester reducing traffic along St George’s street would result in more people crossing from the High Street into Parchment Street to the benefit of the businesses in that street.

 

"3,  WinACC supports the paper’s intention to enhance the gateway car parks.  Sadly some specific proposals are inconsistent with that.  They will cause more congestion on already over loaded roads. For example it is a mistake to increase parking at Gladstone Street.  The Cattle Market/Worthy Lane is the gateway car park and parking should be concentrated there.   Durngate is also a gateway car park well located just outside the congested circulatory system but the strategy discounts this.  It should be considered in preference to adding to parking at Middle Brook Street.

 

"4.  WinACC was pleased some councillors supported our suggestion that the Council should arrange discussions between various stakeholders on car parking during the consultation period.  We are sorry this did not happen.  We ask again this is done before final decisions are made.  It would help to establish the areas of agreement and where there is disagreement it gives a chance to find an agreed way forward.

 

"WinACC made a detailed, extensively researched and evidence based submission during the consultation and believes it would be valuable to address the matters covered in our paper, in stakeholder discussions."