Fringe Box



Countryside Parking Charges To Stay, Says Councillor, As Usage Figures Questioned

Published on: 30 Jan, 2019
Updated on: 1 Feb, 2019

Cllr Mike Goodman

By Rebecca Curley

local democracy reporter

Countryside parking charges are here to stay, according to the councillor in charge of implementing them.

Cllr Mike Goodman said he was “fully committed” to keeping the charges and that the revenue was already “doing something for the environment”.

His firm stance supporting the controversial charging for car parks at Surrey’s countryside estates came as one resident raised a question about a discrepancy in the figures used by Surrey County Council to build the business case for the paying machines.

Sally Blake, from Guildford, tabled a question for this week’s cabinet meeting highlighting a difference in the figures.

She said introducing the parking charges for 16 of the 30 car parks was based on the fact that 446,000 cars a year used the car parks.

But she said a Freedom of Information request to the council has since revealed that the numbers of cars parking at the commons was closer to 900,000.

Speaking to the cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday, January 29 she said: “It’s more worrying that the number of cars using the car parks is dramatically less since the charges came in.”

Cllr Goodman said he did not “support” the figures Mrs Blake quoted and the ones released under the FoI were the “actual figures” but that they were “being cautious with the figures” when putting the business case together.

He said: “The car parks we have got in Surrey where we have charging have been going for the last six months.

“The money we are receiving from revenue is doing something for the environment which is absolutely essential and that is to protect it for future generations.

“The money we are collecting from the car park charges is going directly back into the countryside so my children’s children will be able to enjoy it.

“Without that money, we will struggle to maintain some of the right of ways in the county.

“So I’m fully committed to maintaining these charges to ensure we do have access for all in the countryside in the future.”

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Responses to Countryside Parking Charges To Stay, Says Councillor, As Usage Figures Questioned

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    January 30, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    They could do a lot better to protect the countryside for future generations by opposing the GBC leadership’s plans to concrete over it.

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    February 6, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    It would be interesting to see the actual figures on this issue.

    How much money has the scheme brought in, compared to the cost of maintaining the car-parks, meters and officials?

    I cannot believe that 900,000 cars are still using the pay parking places. Most locals I know have abandoned casual visits and dog walking at them in favour of places that don’t charge.

    The Surrey Advertiser, recently, published a picture of Chobham Common (pay) car park empty except for two cars.

  3. Penny Panman Reply

    February 7, 2019 at 11:51 am

    After 38 years of living near Guildford, and almost as many walking dogs in the beautiful countryside we all enjoy, I too find that I no longer visit the sites that charge for parking, and I haven’t been to Newlands Corner since the charges were imposed.

    I recently found myself wondering why this is so, and realised that it is not to do with the actual money, which I could afford, but more than having to take a credit card on a dog walk somehow changes the whole experience. It takes away freedom and the perception of nature belonging to all of us. “They” have appropriated what used to belong to us all.

    Now when I drive past Newlands Corner I have a feeling of something lost and something tarnished.

  4. Martin Elliott Reply

    February 9, 2019 at 10:36 am

    I’m having trouble interpreting Cllr Goodman’s ‘official’ speak. What does “being cautious with figures” for the business case mean?

    It seems to imply the numbers were either reduced or increased. Which means the whole business case was exaggerated and not honest.

    I have myself prepared project cases where a band of figures as used to show defined levels of uncertainty to demonstrate the risk. But this sounds more like distorting the figures to strengthen a possibly weak case.

    I hope Cllr Goodman can actually answer these concerns about the initial justification, and some accurate accounts for the first few months of operation.

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