Parking charges could be introduced at all coastal car parks in the Borough of Fareham to help close the projected funding gap, made worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. But parking charges in Fareham town centre would continue to be frozen and new app-based systems to pay for parking could be introduced alongside cash and credit card payments if proposals are agreed.
A report to go before Fareham Borough Council’s Executive on Monday 7th September recommends the introduction of charges at all coastal car parks at Swanwick Shore, Warsash Shore, Meon Shore, Hill Head beachfront and Portchester Castle.
If approved the decision will bring Fareham into line with all other councils along the south coast from Cornwall to Kent.
One recommendation on the table is for a £3 charge for a four-hour stay between 10am and 6pm. Other options to charge by the hour will also be considered.
The proposed rates are in line with neighbouring Gosport where charges range from £3.50 to £4 for a four hour stay and considerably less expensive than Hayling Island where the charge is £5.80. It is hoped the charging will encourage a greater turnover of users at busy car parks in the peak months, allowing more residents to enjoy easy access to the Fareham coast.
The new charges could generate up to £900,000 income for the Council each year which would offset some of the losses the Council has made during the pandemic, cover the costs of upgrades and improvements to the car parks and new payment machines. It could also be used to help fund a much-needed £5.5M refurbishment of the Osborn Road multi-storey car park in the town centre which will make it more attractive and user-friendly. The proposals for this will also be considered at the September Executive meeting.
Enforcement in the car parks will be conducted by the recently formed General Enforcement Team , which is also taking a more proactive role in tackling environmental issues such as littering and fly tipping.
It is also proposed to have:
•new pay-on-foot machines for Osborn Road, Fareham Shopping Centre and Market Quay car parks;
•new solar powered pay-and-display machines for the coastal car parks;
•Meon Shore car park upgraded with improved surfacing and marked bays;
•dragons’ teeth and height barriers in Monks Hill and Salterns car parks;
•consultation on a Traffic Regulation Order outlining any required changes to parking restrictions;
•consultation on free car parks where the time waiting limit is deemed too long.
For some time Fareham Borough Council has been the only local authority on the south coast of England that has not charged people to use our coastal car parks, but now we must consider it.
The Council must explore all available revenue streams open to it and it is fairer to charge people who want to use the car parking facilities that we provide and maintain than to simply add more to everyone’s Council Tax bill. We have deliberately kept the rates low – lower than our neighbouring authorities – and been flexible with the times that charging is in force to allow for early morning and evening use to remain free of charge.
I am pleased that we are able to continue to freeze the day-time parking charges in Fareham Town Centre which have now been frozen for over a decade and I hope this will continue to encourage people back into the centre for shopping and leisure.