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Joint Committee Agrees Changes to On-Street Parking in Guildford

Published on: 17 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 20 Mar, 2022

A motorist pays to park in North Street

By Emily Coady Stemp

local democracy reporter

On-street parking charges in Guildford will go up from July, with drivers also being offered more payment options.

The Guildford Borough Council Joint Committee discussed changes to parking arrangements in the town, which included a price rise, changes to the length of stays and gave an update on the park and ride scheme.

At the meeting on Wednesday night (March 16), councillors agreed the rise from 80p per half hour to 90p per half hour in the two-hour maximum stay spaces, and from 60p per half hour to 80p per half hour in the three-hour maximum stay spaces.

Councillors also approved extending the maximum stay in the current 30-minute spaces to one hour, with the price remaining at £1 per half-hour in these spaces.

Council documents note that the vast majority of on-street pay and display machines are now more than 20 years old and only accept coins, but pay-by-phone was introduced last year and a future upgrade will change some machines to card payment only. The council hopes this, along with increasing the length of stay in some spaces, will encourage more use of them.

Cllr Matt Furniss

Surrey county councillor Matt Furniss (Con, Shalford) said he would not be supporting the price rise because he didn’t think they should be increased until there was some recovery in the high street.

He said: “The economy is recovering. I think the town centre has been particularly hard hit, as we do see from the number of empty shops in the high streets.

“I don’t think we should be putting up [prices] until we actually see some recovery there, people actually moving back to more normal transport habits, which we aren’t there yet.”

Documents also showed that despite incremental price increases in off-street car parks, their use had not been greatly affected, but that on-street parking had performed less well, even though prices in most spaces had not changed since 2014.

This was likely to be due to a reduction in the number of on-street spaces, vacant shops closest to them, limited payment options and restrictions on their use (such as in the 30-minute bays).

The council aims to increase the amount of money it takes from on-street parking to help pay for the town’s Park & Ride and other highways schemes.

The Park & Rides have been heavily impacted since the pandemic, with the Onslow Park & Ride site being used as Covid test site since summer 2020 in an arrangement expected to continue during this year.

Stagecoach, which operates the services, has also experienced driver issues which led to the temporary suspension of services at the Guildford Spectrum and fewer buses from the Artington and Merrow sites.

Council documents said the Park & Ride bus services should also be operating more normally by July, and councillors heard that officers were continuing to look into the option of another site to the north or north-east of the town.

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test 5 Responses to Joint Committee Agrees Changes to On-Street Parking in Guildford

  1. Martin Elliott Reply

    March 17, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    Well said Matt Furniss, even if ignored.

    As for the GBC car parks policy, why this intent to squeeze the ‘cash cow’ dry? Income from the biggest budget stream (car parking revenue not council tax) has fallen dramatically.

    Was there any discussion about a return of car numbers? No, the council has simply increased fees by over 20 per cent to recover the income stream.

    And what about the Park & Ride? Has income gone up or down over the past two years? Some sites were immediately closed for Covid “Test & Trace” and then vaccinations. But others were still closed. So talk of increases there seems to have been subject to little planning or even review.

    Even before Covid, Park & Ride never covered its own operation costs. It was always subsidised, effectively from town centre Car Parking by ~£0.5 million a year.

    So is the council aiming to increase, massively, the subsidy, despite the reductions in car park income?

    It seems that an appendix to the Town Centre Master Plan might be needed to clearly set out the business policy of street parking and Park & Ride for all Guildford and Surrey residents and vistors and also explain the real effects of dogma like “Modal Shift” for all.

  2. Peta Malthouse Reply

    March 18, 2022 at 8:58 am

    It’s funny how two people can read the same piece and take such different messages from it.

    I don’t think I see it the same way as Mr Elliott and I am not sure how accurate he is.

    But my point is this, on-street parking is used by people who might have appointments with their doctors, dentists or others on the mid/outskirts of our town. An increase of 10p a half-hour is neither here nor there. Cash only machines are a complete pain. Sadly, I need to use them frequently.

    The reason that our council is having to increase income streams from sources other than council tax is because the present Tory government controls the amount by which council tax is increased whilst loading ever more responsibility on them. Our resident controlled borough is performing so much better than previous administrations.

    Park & Ride is the way forward. I was an enthusiastic user of Onslow Park & Ride but Covid still prevents a service there. This is jointly funded by SCC.

    A recent post on the Guildford Town Past and Present Facebook page reminded us that the long-abandoned Shuttle Bus Service took all our residents with (and without) walking difficulties to various spots in the town.

    A coordinated approach, including both services, would make visiting Guildford more of a pleasure. Come on Chamber of Commerce, Guildford Vision and our High Street stores. A bit of subsidy would make this work for the private sector. Experience Guildford does a good job. Perhaps this is how it could be coordinated?

    • Martin Elliott Reply

      March 19, 2022 at 5:59 pm

      Maybe Peta Malthouse doesn’t have the same interpretation of the facts. figures, decisions I’ve put forward.

      Could I suggest downloading the appropriate business cases from the appropriate GBC committee meetings and the SCC/GBC Guildford Joint Committee.

      Those are the sources from which I presents facts decisions.

      Unfortunately too many people rely on vague thoughts and their own opinions, which is fine if it’s not documented and verified as my comment was. The questions and thought were obviously my own.

  3. Robert Douglass Reply

    March 18, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    The fare for the Artington Park & Ride for those of us with bus passes has increased from £1.10 to £1.50, at a time when the number of buses per hour has decreased. The reason I use the Park & Ride rather than the Stagecoach bus service is because of the better frequency, and the fact it is a shorter distance to walk with shopping etc; as the bus stop is some distance from my home. The net result is less inclination to go into Guildford which does little to help the town’s traders.

  4. Peta Malthouse Reply

    March 21, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    Mr Elliott seems irritated by my “vague thoughts and opinions”. None of the statements he made were illustrated by reference to the reports he relied on. My opinions were merely based on my own experience.

    I see nothing in his piece that tells me he is an “expert” in such matters. As such, my and anyone else’s opinion is valid. It is called debate.

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