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Council to trial new charging structure at Chester Street car park

Tuesday, 27 October 2015 22:43

A new charging structure is to be trialled at Chester Street car park, Douglas Borough Council has confirmed.


The Council, which assumed management of the site together with Drumgold Street car park on June 1 this year as part of the government’s policy to transfer services to local authorities, will be trialling ‘free after three’ parking on Monday to Fridays and a flat-rate charge of £2 all day on Saturdays.


Council Leader Councillor David Christian MBE JP explained: ‘The Council is committed to doing all it can to support the local economy by encouraging more shoppers into the town centre and for them to stay longer.


‘We recognise that Drumgold Street car park operating often at near-100 per cent capacity could deter shoppers and give the misleading impression that there is nowhere to park in the town centre. Chester Street is a convenient alternative and this has led to our trialling the ‘free after three’ scheme there, an incentive known to be successful in the adjacent isle and especially popular with parents already out in their cars having collected their children from school. Additionally weekends for many people provide the only occasion for shopping as a family and with this in mind we are introducing a £2 flat rate to park in Chester Street all day on Saturdays when motorists will also be permitted to use the contract spaces on levels 7, 8 and 9 as well as on Sundays.


‘Town centre regeneration has done much to create a more appealing environment for visitors and local retailers. The Council, which has invested significantly in the scheme, is therefore keen to explore whether more “shopper friendly” parking charges for Chester Street car park might help bring about a boost to the capital’s economy. Additionally, Chester Street along with Shaw’s Brow and the Bottleneck car parks continue to be free on Sundays. In short, we want parking to be an attraction, not a deterrent.’


Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce retail committee Stephen Bradley said: ‘For some time trading conditions have been challenging while works to improve the main shopping area were being carried out. The completed regeneration scheme has, however, been welcomed by traders and we believe that those improvements combined with this new fee structure for Chester Street car park will encourage increased footfall. We therefore welcome this trial by the Council which demonstrates that its members share our vision for a shopper and motorist-friendly town centre.’


Environmental Services Committee Chairman Councillor Ritchie McNicholl added: ‘Along with trialling this new charging structure at Chester Street we are improving the signage, and, in partnership with the Department of Infrastructure, the car park is being repainted, the lighting is being improved and there are plans to install new pay and display machines shortly. We are also exploring the possibility of increasing the size of the parking bays. In short the Council in collaboration with government is making every effort to maximise town centre parking capacity and provide a better parking and visitor experience.’


In a further bid to attract shoppers the Council has confirmed that parking will be free on Thursday evenings from 5pm and all day on Saturdays in Chester Street, Shaw’s Brow and the Bottleneck car parks from Thursday November 26 to Thursday December 31 inclusive.