Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Dereham

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No. Item


Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 17 November 2009.


Car Parking Enforcement Regimes (Minute No. 23/09 (b))


It was noted that with regard to the presentation from Swaffham Town Council, the funding for the salary of the part-time parking attendant came from Breckland District Council, with the Town Council only responsible for covering the hours worked as market supervisor. 




Subject to this amendment, the Minutes of the meeting held on 17 November 2009 were confirmed as a correct record. 



Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Mrs D. Irving. 


The Scrutiny Officer also gave apologies from Mr R. Wright (North Norfolk District Council) with regard to Agenda Item 5. 



Attleborough Town Council Feedback (Agenda Item 6)

Representatives from Attleborough Town Council have been invited to outline the results of their own research into local attitudes towards car parking facilities and enforcement, and will give a verbal report.


The Attleborough Town Clerk presented a verbal report outlining some of the comments and complaints which the Town Council had received about parking issues in the town. 


She explained that the Town Council had no jurisdiction over the public car parks, but had asked for local feedback in order to be able to give some informed views to Breckland District Council as part of the latter’s Review of car parking across the district.   


After a recent meeting, The Town Council had resolved to investigate charging for off-street parking between 06.00 and 18.00 (excluding Sundays and Public Holidays).  It was proposed that the first two hours should be free, followed by a minimal charge for 2-4 hours, rising steeply thereafter for town centre slots.  It was hoped that this could ensure a satisfactory turnover of parking spaces, especially in the town centre. 


There was also concern about the relative lack of public transport which meant that an essential part of the community needed to commute by car and have easy access to the town centre.   So it was acknowledged that any proposals needed to also accommodate local employees – either by having a permit system, or a suitably sited long-term car park.


The Town Council had therefore sent out a newsletter to every house in the parish (approximately 4,700 copies), asking for comments and suggestions on the above proposals and concerns.


The Town Clerk pointed out at this stage that some of the views expressed had seemed to be more in response to press articles, which had not been entirely accurate.    However, one key finding was that commuters felt that they should not be penalised by having to pay to park.   Also, many businesses were concerned that lack of local parking was driving their customer base elsewhere.


Other areas which caused most comment included:


  • Sainsbury’s employees blocked public car parks.


  • Parking problems were perceived as being due to Breckland District Council’s lack of strategic town planning, with some residents having to use car parks overnight because insufficient spaces had been allocated to their homes.


  • That there were insufficient car parking facilities in the town and that it was impossible to find parking spaces as a shopper.


  • Parking charges would be detrimental to the social aspect of the town.


  • None of those who responded were in favour of having a multi-storey car park in Attleborough.


There was small support for the Town Council’s proposal for 2 hours of free parking, with a concern that shoppers might go elsewhere if charges were introduced.  There was also limited support for commuters to have allocated parking, and a view that residents already pay enough for services through their Council tax. 


Members then discussed the findings, commenting that if over 4,700 leaflets had been distributed, then the actual number of responses fed back to the Town Council were surprisingly small.    The Town Clerk concurred, adding that the Town Council had decided to send out leaflets as a result of the number of face-to-face comments they had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.


Results of Parking Survey (Agenda Item 7)

To receive a presentation from the Norwich Business School (University of East Anglia), on their commissioned research related to parking in Attleborough.  


The Chairman welcomed the students from the UEA Business School, who gave a presentation summarising the results of the research undertaken in Attleborough. 


Having studied their brief, they had designed a suitably focussed questionnaire and sampled a cross-section of the public in the town centre, at the railway station, and at Sainsbury’s.    The survey had been conducted over a two week period from 06.45 to 19.00, with over 900 questionnaires then analysed. 


Key results included:


  • The main reason for travelling to Attleborough was to shop.


  • The vast majority of visitors, many of whom came from within the Attleborough postcode, used a car.  


  • Many only stayed for an hour or two, but the town also needed to cater for those needing longer term parking. 


  • Most travelled daily, or weekly. 


  • Sainsbury’s car park was by far the busiest, with Queen’s Square, the Railway Station and Lidl’s also proving popular.   Given the choice, however, most people would prefer to be able to use Queen’s Square. 


  • The vast majority felt that parking problems in Attleborough were likely to get worse in the future unless dealt with soon, and that congestion was a serious problem throughout the day.   Parking problems were perceived as adding to congestion as people re-entered the one-way system whilst driving round to find slots. 


  • Those who were most seriously impacted by the lack of parking were business users and shoppers. 


  • There were mixed views about the possible impact of the introduction of parking charges, with a slight majority feeling that charges, ‘park and ride’, or car sharing schemes, would not particularly help ease the problem, nor ease traffic congestion. 


  • Slim majorities believed that the introduction of a ‘pay and display’ system would help ease traffic congestion; and that supermarket car parking should be regulated through ticket validation.     


  • By far the strongest views were:


  • that Attleborough needed more town centre parking spaces; 


  • that there should be improved parking facilities at the railway station; and


  • against Attleborough having a multi-storey car park.


The students then presented some possible solutions, along with suggested means of implementation:


1)     Re-design current car parks in order to maximise use of the space available.   Some projects could be achieved relatively easily as well as cost-effectively.  Queen’s Square was cited as having the potential to achieve about 20% more space.  


2)     It was suggested that there should be designated long and short-stay car parks.    Whist there would be more initial cost involved, and possibly other difficulties, these could accommodate different needs and ensure turnover when and where it was most needed.  This approach could also provide a source of revenue. 


3)     Automated signage systems, as operated in Norwich and other large towns, could help with traffic congestion.    (Though it was acknowledged that this might not be the best solution for Attleborough, not least as some might find them a visual eyesore in an essentially rural town.) 


4)     Improved and increased public transport into the town centre, especially from villages and towns to the north of Attleborough. 


5)     Implementation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


Next Meeting (Agenda Item 8)

To agree a date, time and venue for the next meeting.


The Scrutiny Officer said that he planned to invite colleagues from the Capita (Planning) and Asset Management teams to the next meeting, since focussed input and guidance from experts would prove helpful to the group at this stage of their Review. 


He also planned to ask officers from Yarmouth Borough Council to attend a future meeting, to outline and discuss their permit-parking schemes. 


The Chairman then reiterated that there would be a public meeting held in Attleborough at some point in the New Year, enabling local residents to have their say. 


However, she added that as the Task & Finish Group was still very much at the evidence-gathering stage, and needed time to focus and assess options, the public meeting was likely to be scheduled towards the end of February, rather than earlier.


The Group were mindful of the ongoing Local Development Framework (LDF) meetings and timetable, and there would also be appropriate liaison with the LDF Action Plan and the Principal Planning Officer.


In terms of the wider timetable, it was hoped that the Group would be able to put together some draft proposals by the end of March, and then, in final report form, to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission at the end of April.


Meanwhile, it was agreed that the next meeting of the Task & Finish Group would take place on 12 January 2010 at 10.00, with the venue to be confirmed, but likely to be at Elizabeth House, Dereham.