Trust Representations to the Cumbria County Council Consultation on Parking Charges
The Trust is disappointed that it has not been directly consulted on this proposal either at the ‘in-principle’ stage or this detailed stage. There appears very little information available as to the current consultation, indeed, if it were not for one of our members noticing an article in a local newspaper we would have again missed the opportunity as last time. We regard the matter of car parking in Carlisle as very important both for its affect on the vitality of the City Centre and its impact upon the built environment – most particularly the heritage environment. We would like the Authority to consider the following views of the Trust:
(1) The consultation format does not lend itself well to the matters we would like to raise. It seems to require only input in regard to the detail of ticket pricing and payment methods and gives no indication of the impact upon the street scene vis a vis the location and appearance of signage and the ticket machines themselves.
(2) There is, of course, a balance to be maintained between restricting vehicle activity in the City Centre to enable pedestrians and visitors to have a safe and enjoyable experience while maintaining access for short duration visits, meetings, collections/deliveries to service retail, business and leisure activity. The disc parking system with its loading and disabled provisions has its faults and inconsistencies, but overall is an accepted and workable system to relieve congestion and the visual dis-benefit of parking anarchy. The parking charges proposed appears to us to swing the pendulum of this balance too far and introduces clear potential to negatively affect the small and medium retail and business sector to whom the convenience of short duration visits etc. will largely be lost fuelling the exodus to out of town sub-centres directly affecting the vitality of our historic city centre.
(3) The purpose of the scheme is undoubtedly to assist with the Authority’s budget difficulties – matters of parking congestion has been put forward as the justification but we believe this cannot be the case as the existing system is designed and operates already. In our view the Authority should not ‘tax’ the motorist simply because they appear a ‘soft’ target – irreparable damage will be caused to existing shopping visiting ‘habits’ such that they would be difficult to reverse. The scheme should not be used as a short term stop gap to meet current budgetary difficulties as there is a danger far greater losses will be incurred to the City community as a result.
(4) The limited information on the ticket machines proposed – with only red dots on maps and a caveat of ‘final locations may differ’ is unacceptable for a detailed consultation. Appearance and definite siting locations are required and by not doing so renders the consultation ineffective.
(5) Some of the red dots are directly outside or close to listed buildings and the Trust believes this is wrong as they will have a direct negative bearing upon these buildings and collectively greatly reduce the City’s tourism ‘offer’.
(6) It is not clear if the Authority intends to consult again on further details – if not we suggest the current consultation phase has not been fit for purpose and should be repeated, including an appropriate amount of detail.
Carlisle and District Civic Trust