Car Parking in the town does not encourage either residents or visitors to remain in the Town centre for very long.
The longer you stay the more expensive it becomes.
Anyone who knows about marketing understands that the more you buy the cheaper it becomes
Even the signs to Car Parks are poor.
Parking Meters are frequently not working. The one in Sainsbury's Car Park has a permanent sign displayed saying it's out of order.
And this monstrosity right next to one of the town's most historic monuments is a disgrace. The Ruth Pearce Monument was featured in the film "Far from the Madding Crowd" this is an affront to our lovely Market Place.
We need a radical re-think about parking. Granted that we don't like paying for it, but there is not such thing as a "free lunch", it gets added in somewhere.
Some 30 odd years ago Kennet District Council's Transport sub-committee (Chaired by Noël Woolrych) made the following recommendations:
Station Road Car Park - should be designated as Long Term. It should prioritise low cost permits for people who work in the town. This would be in conjunction with Resident Only parking in Victoria Road, Commercial Road & Hilworth Road, to stop workers from parking there all day. Possibly Bridewell Street, Hare & Hounds Street & Sheep Street
Parking for Commercial vehicles, coaches, motorhomes & caravans.
Market Place should be free short term parking -max 30 minutes
The Wharf - should be a mix of long term & medium term
Designate Shoppers Car Parks. Central, West Central, Sainsburys, Sheep Street, Vales Lane & New Park Street. All should include Permit Parking for Residents. Possible up to 4 hours
Roving resident parking permit for use in on street parking.
Rationalise parking charges to encourage visitors/residents to stay in the car park.
Location of Car Park to reflect proximity to town centre. Centre more expensive than further away. Shopper spend incentive £10 1 hour £20 2 hours.
Get parking machines that work. Charging periods in 15 minute time slots.