2 February 2018

Currently, the car parks in Rickmansworth town centre have 2 hours free parking. 

Three Rivers District Council want to:

  • Introduce 1 hour of free parking in eight car parks in Rickmansworth, changing these car parks from 2-hour to 4-hour maximum stay

  • Introduce charges for parking for longer in those car parks, at £1 for the 2nd hour £2.50 for the 3rd hour and £4 for up to 4 hours.

  • Change the service provided at the Northway (lower deck) car park to long-stay (maximum stay 24-hours) at £4 per day

  • Change the service provided at the Talbot Road (High Street) car park to 4-hour stay, with one hour free parking

  • Introduce new parking payment mechanisms that do not accept the use of cash.

http://www.threerivers.gov.uk/news/three-rivers-reviews-car-park-charges

 

Three Rivers Green Party believe a straight parking charge is the wrong approach towards dealing with the genuine issues involved. To solve the problems of traffic congestion, commuter parking provision, access to shops and air pollution we need a much more ambitious proposal.  

Here are the Three Rivers Green Party's objections to the proposed Rickmansworth Parking Places Order, together with some suggestions that would remove our objections:

1) Existing parking concessions for patrons of Watersmeet
========================================================
According to the Watersmeet web site, at

https://www.watersmeet.co.uk/finding-us

"Car parking vouchers for £1 can be purchased in advance for most events or on the day itself and allow you to park in any of the two hour public car parks for four hours.
For weekend and evening performances only, Watersmeet recommends parking at Three Rivers District Council staff car park, in the upper or lower car park only. Parking for the duration of the show is allowed in these bays after 4.30pm and all day Saturday and Sunday, but please be aware that the lower car park closes at 11pm."

We believe that these arrangements are important for the viability of Watersmeet and so should continue unchanged. However, the current wording of the proposed Rickmansworth Parking Places Order does not allow for this. It is also unclear whether the new system for collecting payments for parking is flexible enough to accommodate this and any future similar concessions.

Note that Watersmeet is already selling tickets and car parking vouchers for December's pantomime and has also hired itself out to a few local entertainment societies for shows. For details please see:

https://www.watersmeet.co.uk/dates-and-prices
https://www.watersmeet.co.uk/shows-and-events

We would like the council to incorporate the existing parking concessions for patrons of Watersmeet into the wording of the Rickmansworth Parking Places Order and to make sure that the new system for collecting payments for parking is flexible enough to accommodate them.

2) Uncompetitive Saturday and Bank Holiday parking charges
==========================================================
The charges for Rickmansworth Station Car Park are
"Sat and Bank Holidays £2 all day".

The Council proposes to charge more than this on Saturdays and Bank Holidays if a car is parked for more than two hours. So the Council's proposed charges are above the market rate.

We would like to see the Saturday and Bank Holiday charges lowered to make them competitive with Rickmansworth Station Car Park.

3) Misleading mapping error could result in people not objecting
================================================================
There are two web pages on the Three Rivers District Council website that advertise this proposed Parking Places Order:

http://www.threerivers.gov.uk/news/three-rivers-reviews-car-park-charges
http://www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/traffic-order-notices

Both encourage people to view the "Proposed traffic order PWP17-1 (pdf)" at:
http://www.threerivers.gov.uk/download?id=41417

A copy of the proposed order (as of today, Sunday 4th February) is attached. The map on page 7 of this file has an error - High Street West Car Park (next to Marks and Spencer), is not shown on it. This error may mislead people into believing that the car park would not be affected when it will be, which we believe makes the public consultation invalid.

We would like the council to fix the error by:
a) Correcting the error on the website
b) Extending the consultation period plus re-advertising the consultation.

4) Review of council staff parking
========================================================
Staff of Three Rivers District Council will retain the right to free use of Three Rivers House and the upper part of the Rose Garden Car Park on weekdays.

Currently, many town centre workers use the two hour free parking to park for the whole day by moving between multiple car parks. Whilst the reduction of the free parking allowance should help to discourage this behaviour and free up short term spaces for shoppers, the new charge should be consistent among council workers too.

We would like to see equal availability of car parking for a) town centre workers, b) commuters and c) council staff by changing the service of Three Rivers House to public long-term parking (maximum stay 24 hours).

5) Cash payment methods should be available for those you need it
========================================================
Residents have raised concerns that some people do not have access to card or phone payments. This is especially important for older people who do not use contactless payments and who may be discouraged from visiting the town centre because of these limitations.

We would like to see the new parking arrangements being inclusive to all residents and visitors by having a selection of parking meters compatible with cash payments.

6) Additionally, Three Rivers Green Party would like to see the proposed car parking charges alongside additional commitments to:

-Workplace travel plans and initiatives to reduce the amount of short term and long term car parking spaces taken up by town centre office workers
-Improved public transport services
-Improved cycle infrastructure
-More local business opportunities, such as market stall days, to help small businesses.