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Three Rivers Reviews Car Park Charges

12th January 2018

Three Rivers District Council recognises that car parks and traffic management play an important part in promoting the vitality and viability of town centres, assisting residents, visitors and businesses, particularly those in retail. It also recognises that its present combination of facilities and charges is not serving all its users, including commuters in and out of London.

The Council have been reviewing their provision throughout the district and a number of measures have been considered including the introduction of short-term parking charges and provision of long-term commuter parking.

It proposes to introduce one hour of free parking in the short-stay car parks in Rickmansworth with a new fee of £1.00 to park a further hour. Visitors to Rickmansworth will also be able to pay to park for longer: £2.50 for three hours and £4.00 for four hours.

The changes were proposed by a cross-party Working Group including local Councillors from each political party, as part of a raft of measures to address the growing problem that providing free car parking was costing local taxpayers around £180,000 each year.

This proposal is intended to protect taxpayers’ money and increase the turnover of vehicles using short-stay parking, making it easier for shoppers and other visitors to find parking by encouraging shorter stays in short-stay bays to support local retail businesses.

The decision was taken in early 2017 following a detailed study into use of the short-stay car parks in Rickmansworth. Parking specialists Bassleton Woods carried out a study with extensive surveys to show how people use these car parks.

Local Councillors rejected the consultant’s strong recommendation to reduce free parking to only 30 minutes, choosing instead to change the ‘two hours free’ to a ‘first hour free, second hour for a pound’ service.

A further decision taken in October added a new feature, that payment would be accepted only by payment card. New machines that do not accept cash would be introduced in all car parks in the town, making it easier for people to pay for longer stays. A rigorous Equality Impact Assessment was carried out after concerns were raised by local Councillors.

To make the Northway lower-level car park easier to use, it is proposed to change it to a long-stay car park. The short stay bays it provides would be replaced by converting the Talbot Road (High Street) car park to short-stay. This would also increase the number of long-stay bays in the town, which are in short supply.

The changes are part of a traffic order consultation that starts this week and ends on the 5 February 2018. If the proposed scheme goes ahead it is likely to start in late Spring 2018. The PROPOSED PARKING PLACES order can be viewed below or see the Public Notice page. Any responses must be put in writing and posted to the District Council or emailed to parking@threerivers.gov.uk.

Proposed traffic order PWP17-1 (pdf)