The subject of parking is on the agenda again. Torbay Council are reviewing parking strategy at the moment and the opportunity remains to influence the outcome before it becomes final.

These are the issues our research has highlighted with regard to Brixham Central car park which Nigel Makin on behalf of Brixham Chamber has fed back to the council:

Tariffs: have been received with negativity and frustration as they are still directed at maximizing the revenue from the individual visit rather than encouraging and enticing people for multiple return visits. Users are fully aware as to why the council don’t use “rounded” amounts like 50p or £1 increments and hence why the machines don’t give change. It discourages those users from multiple return visits. We encourage those councillors who are brave, visionary and commercially minded, to opt for the correct tariffs for the long term benefit of  all – the council, the users and the traders.

New machines: although a number of “business minded users” fully understand the thinking behind the new machines, users were frustrated that they did not know when they had queued up for the machine that they needed their registration number. Some were heard to say “I can’t be bothered” and subsequently left immediately without paying or shopping. All in all a negative experience for a lot of people which ultimately leads to non maximization of revenue streams. Could we have pay-on-exit which is fairer for all?

Signage: The “welcome sign” as you enter the car park is old, tatty and does not communicate a “Welcome to Brixham, glad you are here” message. The yellow sign underneath it to be honest is just a disgrace and has no relevance. The “Tariff and instruction” sign at the individual car parking machines are confusing, full of stickers, misleading, unhelpful and do not project Brixham as a welcoming destination to which we want people to return. The wardens “hut” again is an opportunity lost, from a welcoming point of view, from an aesthetic point of view, from a brand point of view (Torbay Council & Brixham) and from an environmental point of view. No exit signs directing visitors to alternative car parks if the “central” car park is full. Both on entrance and exit we need to be actively encouraging and directing visitors to alternative facilities. This is a massive opportunity missed.

Lighting: a number (probably 25%) of the main lights are out/broken. (as of April 2016). One of the things we are trying to encourage in the town is the “night time economy”. To do this we need safe secure car parks. Can we have all the lights working to help communicate a safe environment and a caring council, not one that is just interested in taking people’s money. Also additional lighting on the main wall like we have on the harbour wall and hanging baskets in the summer in an effort to maximize aesthetics.

We feel strongly that council should take the long term view, welcoming visitors and encouraging them to return to the town centre instead of focus on maximising revenue from each single visit. We have pride in our town and we would also like the council to have pride. This car park will generate over £400,000 of revenue this year, we would like to see a small amount re-invested.

Let us know what you think.

See also Change of philosophy needed parking for strategy