Wokingham Borough Council is seeking to change the way it runs its car parks to make it easier to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) in them.
There have been complaints of late-night ASB in some car parks and the council is consulting on changes to the way they are run (through revised Traffic Regulation Orders - TRO) so it can tackle these.
There would be no change to any parking charges or when drivers have to pay as a result of the proposals.
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways said: “We need to find ways to help the police tackle the ASB that has been happening in some car parks. At the moment we can’t do that because, technically, the car parks are not technically ‘operational’ at night – so we don’t have powers to kick people out of them. The proposed new TROs would make the car parks ‘operational’ 24/7 – so we could take action when needed. It is important to point out that this does not change car parking charges at all – either in terms of when people have to pay or how much.”
The proposed new TROs would replace a now out-of-date TROs and so would also tidy up some anomalies (see below).
Residents can give their views by emailing the council’s traffic management team on TM.email@example.com. The statutory consultation is open until 7 October 2021 and the council will continue to accept comments until midnight 10 October.
Changes to Car Park Management
The new TROs will remove a number of off-street car parks no longer run by the council including the Ems Road multi-story and The Paddocks Wokingham car parks.
The council is creating a separate TRO to manage the borough’s four park and ride sites at Coppid Beech Park and Ride, Mereoak Park and Ride, Thames Valley Park and Ride, and Winnersh Triangle Park and Ride.
The new TROs will also allow the council to designate electric vehicle charging parking bays in any offstreet car park.
Changes to Operating Hours
The changes will enable the Council to take action against anti-social behaviour and misuse of car parks by extending the operating hours to ‘at all times’ Monday to Sunday (including bank holidays).
Changes to Off-street Parking Costs
There will be no increases in car parking charges at any council car parks as part of the new TROs. The council is introducing 15 minutes of free parking at Dinton Pastures Country Park Activity Centre Car Park as well as 30 minutes of free parking in the visitor bays at the council offices in Shute End (Mondays to Fridays 6am to 6pm).
New Car Parking Controls
Other improvements in the new TROs include making it easier to see how much you need to pay for different times of day, making it easier to pay for parking with a ‘check in/check out system’ which means there is no requirement to display a ticket.
To support the local shops in the California Cross area, a new 1 hour maximum stay restriction will be introduced to ensure the spaces are used by local shoppers rather than by longer stay visitors.