An independent report, commissioned by a town centre collaboration, has confirmed that pay on exit would be feasible for two car parks in Bury St Edmunds.
The report was commissioned after an Overview and Scrutiny Committee carried out an in-depth review of every car park in the borough and recommended more entrepreneurial ways of charging should be investigated.
The feasibility study gives advice on pay on exit technologies and identifies Parkway MSCP and Cattlemarket arc car parks as being most suitable due to their high turnover.
Report author, Parking Technology expert Manny Rasores de Toro, said: “Based on my experience in various methods of providing parking, it is quite common for local stakeholders such as retailers and businesses, as well as parking users, to have concerns that Pay & Display is not the best method of parking controls as it makes the parker have to decide upon arrival how long they will be staying and those that misjudge the time required risk the chance of receiving a substantial Excess Charge Notice.”
The group that commissioned the report, which included Our Bury St Edmunds, the arc, Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, will now look at it in detail before consulting with a wide range of parties to establish the viability of introducing any of the options.
Cllr Alaric Pugh, St Edmundsbury’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “Our record of investment in car parks has given an excellent return in support for the local economy.
“The author commented on the ‘high level of customer service’ he observed and it is this quality of customer experience we are looking to build on.
“This report is the first, small step in considering a further substantial capital investment. The impacts have to be thoroughly understood before a viable plan can be developed which will be greatly helped by having the shared interest of the sponsoring group, although no time scales are being committed to at this stage.”
Mark Cordell, CEO of Our Bury St Edmunds, the Business Improvement District covering Bury town centre, said: “Town centre businesses have pushed for pay on exit to be investigated and will welcome the report.
“The independent consultant makes the point that pay on display limits the length of stay, preventing visitors from exploring the wealth the town has to offer. I look forward to taking this to the next stage and contributing to a viability study.”