Stroud Town Council is objecting to the introduction of car parking charges at Stratford Park.
It follows a survey by the Town Council in which 1,389 people took part in which 49 per cent said they would stop visiting the Park and leisure centre if the charges were introduced. A further 44 per cent said they would visit less often.
Stroud District Council launched the Car Parking Review to look at car parks where it is currently free to park. One of the six free car parks is at Stratford Park.
Of the people responding to the Town Council survey, 1173 said they regularly used the park, leisure centre and other facilities; 985 said they walk in the park and a further 732 said they visit the Museum in the Park.
The Town Council questions the District Council’s research, stating that the evidence is inadequate because it fails to demonstrate the need to manage demand and that the research was not conducted over a wide enough time period.
In its letter of objection the Town Council states “Legislation dictates that charging can only be introduced to manage demand and not to raise revenue.
We understand that there is concern that the Stratford Park car park is being used for long-stay parking by people not using the park. If evidence can be provided to support this, a more practical solution would be to limit the amount of time people can stay in the car park, after which fixed penalty notices could be issued. This would enable people to continue to use the outdoors facilities at the park free of charge.”
Town Mayor Kevin Cranston said: “Our own consultation demonstrates that many people really value the outdoor facilities, which make a significant contribution to supporting Stroud District Council’s Health and Wellbeing strategy, and that they would stop using them if charging were introduced.”
The Town Council is also asking that all car parks be included in a review, not just the free ones.
“The concentration in the consultation solely on charging represents a missed opportunity to review and improve parking facilities across the whole of the town,” said Councillor Cranston. “We invite Stroud District Council to work with us to improve the town centre car parks.”
The Town Council would like to see the parking at Brunel Mall better utilised by opening later and the door to the station opened and revised ticket machines and online payments in all long-stay car parks to allow people to pay on exit.
People can respond to the District Council Car Parking Review until July 29.