Published online only over every Friday
Issue:- 22 May 2015
Outcome of the FSB Public
meeting over the Development Strategy for Southport Town Centre! Photographs and video by Patrick
THE Federation of Small Businesses Sefton and
Ormskirk branch, held a free Public Meeting for members and non-members on
Wednesday, 20 May 2015, at the Old Links Golf Club, Moss Lane, Southport to look
at the development strategy for Southport Town Centre. Many good questions were
put forward at the meeting as well as ideas like a road train to take tourists
and locals round the shops, through to the development of payment rewards for
those shopping in the Town, visiting SME’s, via discounted parking and other
options like that. The meeting also focus in also on what has gone wrong in the
past and information being given as to how , Sefton Council, in partnership with
the Southport Business Improvement District (BID) hope to fix them. This comes
just before the shortly to be release finding come out, of the new 5 years
strategy that is being prepared by Nexus Planning, who has been commissioned by
both BID and Sefton to develop a new robust development strategy. Already we
know from the meeting that they have identified the redevelopment options for a
number of sites, including Marine Park on Southport's seafront, and Tulketh
Street, a commercial site will be key to Southport’s long term development. Also
they have identified that we need to do more to improve the beach as a tourist
asset, and yes they have also looked at the parking issues! We have videoed the
meeting for those who could not attend. Sadly, a few sections have been missed,
including the Q&A at the end, due to technical constraints. To see it please use
the player below, or use the audio player also below instead.
If your device is not plating the FLASH video above, why not try
the audio player below?
Southport's New Pay and
display meters are now being installed! Photographs and video by Patrick
Above Southport's new and old parking meters.
FOR a very long time now, the old Pay
and Display meters have been a bane of motorists’ lives in Southport, because
they do not take new coins and also having no alternative ways to pay. This
problem is slowly being changed as new meters that allow card payment,
contactless payment, as well as taking all new coins are currently being
installed in and around the Town.
One of Southport's new meters
Later in the year a pay by phone system will
also be introduced. But many businesses have questioned the Pay and Display
system as they still feel it is slowly destroying the Town, and they want free parking
for an hour to be given and only then payment should be taken. We took a look at
St Ives in Cornwall, Bath and also Bristol to see what they do out parking.
Bristol on road
parking ('pay' and display)
Bristol has had huge problems in some areas with parking and by
the Clifton Suspension Bridge the parking is a big issue for businesses and
residents, but it is also a massive concern for tourists until recently. On a
sunny afternoon we arrived next to the bridge in the middle of May. With sun
shining, at 1st it looked as if it was going to be a parking night move, but we
were surprised to find, on the main road, a parking space, and going to the
meter a welcoming sign above said:- "Free 1 hour parking." On a
major road and in the heart of a tourist area, mixed with residential and
shopping, this was a huge surprise! In St Ives the meter was broken, but payment
was able to be taken via a quick call to an automated system. The call did take
a bit of time to do, but it was better than getting a ticket. In both locations
we asked residents who said that the parking issues, thanks to far better
signage and more innovative ways to pay, has hugely helped the economies.
One of the problems
in St Ives is returning to the car. It is a massive climb up to the main short
stay car park, so popping up to pay extra on the meter would be a huge issue,
but the phone top up makes that a far easier thing to do. That then enables
people to enjoy the many small businesses and attractions the Town has to offer.
Bristol signage and mashine.
In Bristol, the way
they now run the parking means that visitors and residents alike are not
fighting for parking and those visiting the shops can also benefit. One resident
told us that:- "This has been a huge problem for some years now, but the
introduction of the new system means we are able keep the flow moving far better
than before. We still require a short stay car park, but for now this is working
Bath Pay and Display on road parking.
The other location was
Bath. Bath is a major City with very narrow roads and not a huge amount of areas
to put car parks in. Of course parking is not cheap, but they still have found a
way to fit in 13 car parks and even 3 Park and Ride services, making it a far more
car friendly City and thanks to the good public transport on street parking
spaces far more easily to found than in most Cities. But like Southport, Bath is
not good at sign posting, making it hard to find the car parks and also hard to
find out whether the length of stay and/or return is limited.
Most areas of
Wiltshire are served by pay and display car parks, both off-street (surface) and
multi-storey. So we tried to find place like Southport, that runs mostly on
tourism. Just down the road from Bath is Bradford on Avon, with a population of
about 9,326, not nearly as big, but it was the closest we could find on out
trip, with a main road running through it's centre, next to a large urban area
and a major City. It is nestles into a river valley in the Cotswolds, and is often
dubbed the 'mini-Bath' of West Wiltshire. This Town you would
expect, with extremely narrow roads and lack of space between all the historic
buildings that street / short stay parking would be very expensive, but in fact
it was the cheapest, with up to 1 hour set at:- £0.40, up to 2 hours at £1.20,
and up to 3 hours £2.10. Compare that with Southport which starts at around 60p
to 80p for up to 1 hour, and say on average 2 to 4 hrs at around £2.80!
Interestingly, Liverpool's street parking tends to be slightly cheaper than Bath
for Pay and Display, but like for like they are very close. Within those areas,
most residents and businesses we talked to thought parking was far better,
except in Bath where better signage is required. This was a very unscientific
test mind and we love to know more about those areas, but as a visitor we found
parking in those areas tended to be far less problematic than in Southport or
you have any ideas on how we can improve parking in and around Merseyside,
especially in Formby and in Southport, please do let us know.
If we have
got our facts wrong about St Ives, Bristol, Bath and Bradford on Avon, again
please let us know your views on this topic and set us straight; or perhaps you
know of another area with effective parking schemes and wish to share the
Estimated population sizes for
comparison. Southport has a population of around 90,336 and St Ives has a
population of around 11,226. Bath has a population of
approximately 83,992, Bristol has
a population of around 428,200 and Liverpool at around
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