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Council Agrees £200K investment in Barrier-controlled Car Parks

February 7, 2012 5:20 AM

Epsom Town Hall car parkThe Borough Council's capital programme for 2012-13 will include a £200,000 investment in barrier-controlled car parks. Car parks at Depot Road, Upper High Street, Hook Road, Hope Lodge and the Town Hall will be converted to barrier-controlled with drivers paying on exit.

This is a "spend to save" project, with a payback time of around 4 years. Costs will be recouped from reduced tariff avoidance and enforcement costs. Parking permit cards will be available. Number plate recognition should make car parking much easier for regular users and disabled drivers.

Income from car parks is of strategic importance to the borough council at around £2.5m per year and equivalent to around half the value of income from council tax. Without this income, the council would find it difficult to finance some services, but many of these are discretionary rather than mandatory. Some discretionary services include Route Call, the Epsom Playhouse, social centres and other venues, plus management of some areas of green and open space. Only a radical change in priorities could fund a decrease in car park charges combined with a major reassessment as to which discretionary services could continue to be provided.

The new barrier-controlled systems should help reduce parking enforcement costs in car parks themselves, since evasion of tariffs is virtually impossible. Operation control will come from the Town Hall during working hours and there will be audio and visual communication from all entry and exit pay stations and Town Hall staff will be able to take control of the equipment, e.g. lifting the barrers remotely. Operation control out of working hours will switch to the Parking Office which will be relocated to the Town Hall. There will still need to be a presence on site at some car parks.