Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Our email: info@wellho.net • Phone: 01144 1225 708225

 
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Getting into and out of Wiltshire towns .. a.k.a. Car Parking?

Background - Wiltshire Council is currently consulting on the way forward for car parking in Wiltshire. Parking fees are always unpopular, and can be expensive to collect. But there should be some gains from a degree of system (if not price) standardization in the new, larger area rather than the old districts. There's also the big question of how do you actually service a growing town with a lack of parking spaces such as Melksham - do you push up prices to encourage people to use public transport (but then that MUST be practical), do you provide edge-of-town parking, or what?

Here is a draft response in my Chambers of Commerce "thread". Interestingly, it also fits well with the TransWilts Rail "thread" - there's a real opportunity for everyone to pull in the same direction here, whether they end up as individual driving into the centre, parking on the edge, using a bus, or using a train. Let's hope we can find a way to get "there" from "here"!

Car parking consultation - draft of response to be submitted prior to 9.2010 deadline

We appreciate the need to re-visit car parking schemes and charges with a view to having a system that's suitable for the future, encouraging of vitality and businesses in the town, positive in the impression it leaves on users (be they regulars or occasional visitors to the area), broadly county wide rather than a plethora of different schemes to maintain, and cost effective in how it operates. And we will applaud the county moving forward with these goals.

Some issues with the current system / some of the proposals

1. Melksham offers free parking of up to one hour in the central car park, which is accessed via a cul de sac which itself has a no right turn at the entrance. So traffic for that car park from the northern half of the town has to pass along the High Street, around the Market Place and back along the High Street before turning in. This traffic causes jams and detracts from the town's attractiveness for people once parked up / after they've walked in / got off buses.

2. The current system requires you to know how long you'll be parking for, does not allow for extensions, and punishes heavily if you overstay. This is against the interest of businesses in the town who would be helped by people being able to stay (and spend more money!) if they wish.

3. All day parking for staff - some of whom are on the lower wages - takes a disproportionate amount of their wages, and for many of them there is no viable alternative.

4. There is a view that rules and regulations are complex, and are applied to the letter with a primary intent of maximizing income. Much of this relates to item (2) where a long queue in the post office can result in a stiff fine for just a couple of minutes. But cases such as parking on the white line on the edge of a space (only space available ... neighboring vehicle on arrival overlapping it) have also been raised as being harsh.

5. Charges which require multiple coins of different denominations and machines that do not give change again lead to an overcharging which results in negative feeling. It has been suggested that such pricing (and the complex rules of (2), and pay on arrival) are a cynical ploy to increase revenue without raising the headline parking rates, and in the absence of definitive and east to follow evidence to the contrary, this reflects badly on the organization in control of the scheme.

6. Figures quoted as being the running costs for car parks have not been fully explained; we find it hard to understand why it costs 48000 per annum to look after a piece of tarmac with a machine to take money on it.

7. All day parking for employees is expensive, and threatens to be more so if the only changes made at this stage are a standardization and hike in prices.

8. The current scheme encourages people to park in some residential areas which are close by the town on foot. Note that there is no major private parking or tied scheme in Melksham as there are in some other towns.


Positive approaches for Wiltshire Council

1. A system which allows people to pay for the time they actually stay (rather than the time they estimate) would be welcomed. This could be pay on departure, or some form of mobile phone topup system (that last being less favored as it will be obtuse for occasional visitors). By standardizing systems across the county, you'll have the benefit of scale on a system that would be potentially impractical in just a small area.

2. Car parks at different rates should be re-arranged to ensure that the high turnover spaces are no longer in the car park that requires much of the traffic to pass twice through the centre of town on arrival and again on departure.

3. Practical public transport alternatives should be provided - it needs more to encourage people to use buses than just putting up parking rates. In Melksham there's a specific opportunity available with changes already underway and the No. 14 bus provides a good starting point. Add to that services provide by the "section 106" Asda bus which could usefully serve the new housing area BEFORE everyone there buys second cars, and retime Chippenham - Trowbridge and Bath - Bowerhill buses to run every 30 minutes, and you'll have a network that runs every 30 minutes to most areas of the town. The new zigzag bus (already funded) provides access into town from other villages. With 600 council employees transferring to the outskirts of Melksham for a period of 2 years, this is an ideal time to re-tune the system; I spoke with Faresave at some length (w/c 16 August 2010) and understand much better why their service isn't already on the opposite half hour. The employee move may provide an environment in which this can change for the benefit of all concerned. A bus service should call at Melksham station to connect from and to each of the trains that should be running under the GWRUS proposals.

4. Backing up (3), council owned land at Melksham Station can provide car parking (initially 150 space on currently unlet council owned land, expanding to 300 later) for walk or bus connection into town centre and for rail passenger use. The current expansion of Melksham would otherwise put more pressure on the town centre. The coming of the Melksham Link / Wilts and Berks canal is also an opportunity for Melksham, and parking changes should take that into consideration. Parking at this edge-of-town site should be at a low rate, all day (echoing the response of the president of Chippenham Chamber who's calling for similar things in Chippenham, and probably many others)

5. Consideration should be given to resident's permits for places like Stratton Walk, but we appreciate the cost of running such a scheme. Have better if the money could be gainfully and positively spend on items (3) and (4).

6. Current very-short-term roadside spaces should not be reduced in number, though there may be a case to switching them to 30 minutes rather than one hour if done in conjunctions with items (1) and (2).


Illustrations ...

Top. Melksham. The Canberra youth development centre, run by Wiltshire Council themselves. Even they have a parking problem at times - note the "no parking" sign ....

Bottom. Devizes. This is a good practise example - a town that encourages visitors by car but is set up so that the centre's not overwhelmed by them.


(written 2010-08-23, updated 2010-08-24)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z402 - Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  [717] A customer service company - (2006-05-11)
  [1223] Asda opening large new store in Melksham - (2007-06-08)
  [1250] Business speed networking - a place tonight! - (2007-06-28)
  [1429] Remembrance day - inside a church and inside the day - (2007-11-11)
  [1432] Wiltshire County Council - Budget Consultation - (2007-11-15)
  [1476] Shopping for Christmas and looking forward - (2007-12-17)
  [1504] Flooding by Asda-s proposed new supermarket - (2008-01-12)
  [1507] Comments on proposed Asda Superstore for Melksham - (2008-01-14)
  [1633] Changing a screen saver from a web page (PHP, Perl, OSX) - (2008-05-06)
  [1642] Summer! - (2008-05-15)
  [1748] Hotel room prices - Melksham, Wiltshire - (2008-08-11)
  [1792] All the pieces fall into place - hotel and courses - (2008-09-10)
  [1880] Melksham Chamber of Commerce, or the FSB - (2008-11-12)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1892] Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry - (2008-11-17)
  [1904] Ruby, Perl, Linux, MySQL - some training notes - (2008-11-23)
  [1934] Lidl opens in Melksham - (2008-12-11)
  [1979] Looking forward, in Melksham, in 2009 - (2009-01-05)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [2043] Confidence, Customer Service and Tourism in Melksham - (2009-02-15)
  [2095] Blue Ridge and Melksham Chambers of Commerce - (2009-03-21)
  [2111] Business Networking for Melksham - 23rd April - (2009-04-01)
  [2119] Make your business a DESTINATION business - (2009-04-05)
  [2181] You cannot please all of the people all of the time - (2009-05-14)
  [2194] Melksham Business Map - Chamber of Commerce, Tourist Information and Town Council - (2009-05-21)
  [2220] Melksham Traders - where do we go? - (2009-06-05)
  [2260] Important - the future of Melksham / Chamber of Commerce - (2009-06-28)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2289] pre-Inaugural briefing - Melksham Community Area Partnership - (2009-07-15)
  [2328] Melksham - no trains, no southbound buses through the town - (2009-08-08)
  [2437] Wiltshire Unitary News - Chamber of Commerce Intelligence - (2009-10-04)
  [2459] New Web Site for Melksham Chamber of Commerce - (2009-10-18)
  [2465] Melksham Town - asleep or awake? - (2009-10-21)
  [2487] Melksham Forum - (2009-11-01)
  [2495] Planning the future of Wiltshire - (2009-11-07)
  [2508] Community Area Partnership - inaugural AGM - (2009-11-20)
  [2514] The road show has been - where now? - (2009-11-27)
  [2521] Melksham Market - Tuesdays, 09:00 to 14:00 - (2009-12-01)
  [2531] Melksham - new Tuesday Market - (2009-12-09)
  [2540] Rock and hard place .. and the relaxing right one won - (2009-12-18)
  [2544] Vision for Wiltshire - (2009-12-20)
  [2546] How well do you know Melksham - a quiz for Christmas - (2009-12-21)
  [2568] Forums for your Melksham and open source discussions - (2010-01-09)
  [2594] Melksham Area - your community view is sought - (2010-01-23)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2666] Random thoughts on Melksham Town Planning and development - (2010-03-08)
  [2683] Car Parking in Melksham - (2010-03-18)
  [2725] How do our tactics help us meet the strategy, for the greater good? - (2010-04-16)
  [2770] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - Presidents report to AGM - (2010-05-19)
  [2779] The history and future of Melksham Chamber of Commerce - (2010-05-25)
  [2782] Tell the Melksham Chamber or you only have yourself to blame - (2010-05-26)
  [2827] Melksham - a gem in Wiltshire - (2010-06-26)
  [2837] Lorry Parking in Melksham - (2010-06-29)
  [2853] Transport in Wessex - today and into the future - (2010-07-04)
  [2867] Cycling in Melksham, and looking forward - (2010-07-11)
  [2872] Moved - Melksham Lorry Park - (2010-07-15)
  [2883] Melksham Oak - photos of the new community school - (2010-07-22)
  [2891] Wiltshire Council ask how they can help businesses - (2010-07-27)
  [2957] Welcome to Countrywides new Melksham store - (2010-09-15)
  [2959] A Melksham news roundup - (2010-09-18)
  [2982] Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03)
  [2995] A river in Melksham is not just for boaters. - (2010-10-11)
  [3088] Melksham - two many councils? - (2010-12-16)
  [3113] Trowbridge and Melksham to Chippenham - more roadworks, even slower journey over the winter - (2010-12-30)
  [3117] Opportunities for Melksham - new businesses in the town - (2011-01-01)
  [3141] Wiltshire Rail services - a golden opportunity - (2011-01-21)
  [3162] Keep your business customer-friendly! - (2011-02-09)
  [3172] On consultations, car parking, and Melksham town centre - (2011-02-17)
  [3173] What is the Melksham Chamber of Commerce? - (2011-02-18)
  [3188] What proportion of the British Workforce still works a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, week? - (2011-03-01)
  [3193] Melksham Campus - what, why, questions, concerns and how you can input - (2011-03-04)
  [3214] Melksham Campus - any last minute inputs from Melksham businesses? - (2011-03-26)
  [3217] Vandalism and riot from the minority - the effect - (2011-03-28)
  [3246] Melksham - the way forward. 26th April, Well House Manor - (2011-04-13)
  [3249] Events - Spring and Early Summer 2011 in Melksham - (2011-04-17)
  [3272] Melksham Car Parking - current charges and limits - (2011-05-01)
  [3275] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - grows to appoint new Press Officer. Welcome. Sam - (2011-05-02)
  [3279] Letter to The Editor - (2011-05-06)
  [3299] Presidents Report to Melksham Chamber of Commerce, 24.5.2011 - (2011-05-24)
  [3307] Melksham Community Radio launches - (2011-05-28)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3334] A lesson from the sporran market? - (2011-06-25)
  [3340] Summer Sunday Timetable - TransWilts Trains - (2011-06-30)
  [3343] Summer Sunday Train Service Starts - Swindon Chippenham and Melksham to Weymouth - (2011-07-03)
  [3380] Melksham Jelly - An Occasional Office for Home Workers - (2011-08-06)
  [3383] Are people who walk into Melksham being asked to subsidise parking? - (2011-08-09)
  [3420] Making best use of the new enthusiasm for Melksham - (2011-09-05)
  [3423] 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 12? - (2011-09-07)
  [3427] What is on the Melksham Agenda? - (2011-09-09)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3470] Currently pictured in Melksham - (2011-10-09)
  [3475] Havant - Shop Frontages. - (2011-10-12)
  [3481] Some thoughts in answer to some Melksham Campus questions - (2011-10-14)
  [3492] Upcoming events in and about Melksham - more dates for your diary - (2011-10-22)
  [3495] Looking forward - Chamber of Commerce has 2012 and beyond on the agenda - (2011-10-26)
  [3496] Melksham - Business to Business Speed Networking - build ahead for 2012 - (2011-10-26)
  [3527] Melksham - changing times, an opportunity for the future - (2011-11-23)
  [3560] Melksham, Month by month through 2011 - (2011-12-23)
  [3598] Melksham Civic Awards - report and pictures - (2012-01-29)
  [3627] Meeting Report - Tuesday 21st Feb - to Melksham Chamber of Commerce from Shadow Community Operations Board - (2012-02-27)
  [3663] Changing shops and organisations - Melksham, the last and next five years - (2012-03-21)
  [3672] Melksham Train Service - please support the TransWilts case for regular trains - (2012-03-25)
  [3677] Some advise for guest speakers at meetings - (2012-03-31)
  [3682] Melksham Business Newsreel - (2012-04-03)
  [3693] Wiltshire Business Support Service - (2012-04-11)
  [3696] Melksham government and business organisations - (2012-04-14)
  [3697] Events in Melksham - read all about them, and tell us about yours - (2012-04-15)
  [3700] Why do people use chains rather than independent traders? - (2012-04-18)
  [3706] An exciting Chamber of Commerce AGM - sound like an Oxymoron? - (2012-04-25)
  [3710] Encouraging business in Melksham and its neighbourhood - keep business local?? - (2012-04-27)
  [3714] Just 12 winners? Or 371 or more? Town Centres. - (2012-04-30)
  [3732] Ten more visitors to your premises every day? - (2012-05-14)
  [3739] Go green - business seminar in Melksham - (2012-05-21)
  [3748] Not everyone has a computer - 9 more ways to learn about the Melksham Campus - (2012-06-03)
  [3751] Public transport for international arrivals into Melksham - (2012-06-04)
  [3752] Melksham Visitors Map - Bus routes and train lines to and from the town - (2012-06-04)
  [3767] How well do you know Melksham? - (2012-06-17)
  [3768] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - looking to our future shape. Pivotal meeting next Tuesday - (2012-06-19)
  [3787] Melksham Pride - the Chamber of Commerce, and the future - (2012-06-29)
  [3812] The Melksham News - July 2012 - Part 1, Campus and Chamber of Commerce - (2012-07-22)
  [3818] Making things happen - litter and ASB and lost dogs in Melksham - (2012-07-25)
  [3850] Bus times - Chippenham Station to Melksham, with London connections - (2012-08-25)
  [3867] The difficult interface between the business, council and voluntary sectors - (2012-09-19)
  [3880] Chamber of Commerce - looking forward in Melksham and in Wessex - (2012-10-04)
  [3889] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - whence in 2013 and beyond? - (2012-10-12)
  [3948] Quiet little town? Advanced Technology Centre? - (2012-12-08)
  [3987] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - join us in our future - (2013-01-21)
  [4002] Images of Melksham you havent seen before - (2013-02-13)
  [4014] Costa Coffee in Melksham - is it a good idea? - (2013-02-22)
  [4041] Report on the last year - Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Melksham Without Parish Council - (2013-03-11)
  [4046] Over a hundred welcoming businesses - Melksham Town Centre - (2013-03-17)
  [4097] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - Report for AGM, 21st May 2013 - (2013-05-21)
  [4103] Questions from children about Melksham Campus - (2013-05-26)
  [4151] Tell me a bit about Melksham - (2013-08-10)
  [4164] Melksham Market - every Tuesday - (2013-09-03)
  [4170] Herman Miller coming to Melksham - the Chamber of Commerce is briefed - (2013-09-10)
  [4278] Future Swindon - Westbury train services. At current level into the future? - (2014-05-25)
  [4399] The Campus in Melksham - name, logo, and livery choice - (2015-01-18)
  [4672] Annual review of Melksham Matters for Chamber of Commerce AGM - (2016-05-15)
  [4738] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - my final Presidents report - (2017-05-10)


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