People are being given the opportunity to comment on proposed measures to improve parking management in North Berwick town centre.
In the first in a series of community consultations that will take place across East Lothian towns, a number of proposals are being put forward focused on making it easier for residents to park as well as encouraging greater turnover of parking spaces to provide better access for all to businesses and services.
The North Berwick consultation seeks opinions on the proposed introduction of charges for parking in key areas as well as creation of dedicated parking provision for residents within Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs), with a view to supporting the economy and achieving a more attractive and safer environment.
The full proposals can be viewed and responded to online at: Have Your Say Today - North Berwick Parking Management Review - Commonplace
Council Leader Norman Hampshire said:
“Demand for parking in many of East Lothian’s town centres can be high, especially at peak periods. A lack of spaces can make it difficult for people to access amenities and local businesses.
“With East Lothian having a growing population and being a popular visitor destination, we need to achieve a balanced and sustainable approach which meets parking needs, whilst ensuring our town centres remain vibrant and attractive places in which to live, work and visit.
“As well as encouraging greater use of public transport and promoting active travel such as walking and cycling to address the Climate Emergency, we need to look at what steps can be taken to manage the parking spaces which are available in our town centres to meet needs more effectively.
“The consultation proposes measures to improve the turnover and in turn availability of parking spaces through charging in some areas, introduces permits for households in four of the busiest areas of the town and maintains provision for motorists with disabilities.
“It is a challenging financial environment for all councils, with income not keeping pace with the rising cost of delivering services. Income from parking charges can help support the setting of a balanced council budget and maintaining provision of services. This would be alongside delivering the investment required to introduce and maintain parking management arrangements and to achieve safer streets, parking space turnover and wider investment in active travel and sustainable transport provision.”
As required by East Lothian Council’s Local Transport Strategy, parking supply is being assessed on an individual town-by-town basis, taking the views of local people into account.
Councillor Hampshire added:
“The first local consultation focuses on North Berwick and I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to comment on the proposals.
“While no final decisions have been taken, consulting on possible ways forward will help us address the current problems we face with parking whilst supporting economic recovery, improving access and enhancing the environment.”
Key proposals for North Berwick include:
- Creation of four new Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) covering areas in and around the town centre
- Identification of designated ‘on street’ parking areas for residents within each CPZ. Each household that requires on street parking will then be able to apply for up to two parking permits. A charge will be levied per permit, set to reflect the cost of providing the service, monitoring and enforcement (proposed to be £40)
- Introduction of charges for ‘on street’ parking within the CPZs
- Existing car parks being designated for either short stays or long stays, with charges being introduced for the use of the short stay car parks. The Recreation Ground car park (rugby club) would be for long stays and remain free of charge.
It is recognised that many trips into the Central area are very short, with people calling into shops for essentials, picking up and dropping off. It is therefore proposed that in the Central area CPZ, the first half hour of parking will be free of charge.
The proposed time limits and charges will be slightly different in the four areas due to differing parking demands. Charges would vary from 50p to £1 per 30 minute period.
The hours in which charges apply will be from 8.30am-6pm every day of the week. Along with the proposed charges the council will employ additional enforcement officers who will enforce over-stays, non-payment and parking outside the designated areas.
An area has been identified to the east of the town which is suitable for overnight parking stays. There will be an overnight charge for parking in these areas between 12 midnight and 6am.
No changes are proposed to the existing waiting, loading and unloading areas within the town, except for the removal of parking on the narrow east end of the High Street which reflects the outcome of previous consultations. No changes are proposed to the locations of the dedicated blue badge parking areas for blue badge holders within the town centre.
Brett Walker, Chair of North Berwick Coastal On The Move Group, said:
"I shall be supporting the parking review as it is fair to residents in North Berwick town centre and might just make others think about walking or wheeling into town. That said, the charges proposed are not excessive but will still cover the cost of the meters within one year. I wish I had 50p for every time a visitor has asked me ‘where do I pay?.’”
East Lothian has a number of busy and compact town centres. The varied uses of town centres coupled with growth in car ownership has led to competing demands for limited numbers of parking spaces. A shortage of parking spaces can occur early in a typical day, leading to limited capacity for spaces for those seeking to access businesses and services.
Inappropriate parking can also cause congestion and reduce the safety of our streets.
Finding a parking space continues to be a major source of frustration for many residents, particularly in and around the town centre and beach front areas.
A detailed traffic and parking survey has been carried out in North Berwick to understand the level of parking space turnover.
The consultation will seek views on methods proposed to reduce these demands and better manage the parking spaces that are available.
At a council meeting earlier this year, it was agreed that consultation will take place to gauge public opinion and acceptability of possible interventions in town centres.
The council will be undertaking extensive community consultation on proposed parking management changes covering our main towns - North Berwick, Musselburgh, Dunbar, Tranent, Prestonpans and Haddington. Each town will have a consultation open for six weeks, starting with North Berwick.
A report published as part of the EU-funded Park4SUMP project suggested Apparent parking shortages and/or a predicted increase in parking demand can better be solved through parking management such as time limitations, price setting and improved enforcement than increased parking supply.
Read more about the background to the consultation.
The consultation runs for six weeks from 2 November to 13 December.
Paper copies of the consultation are available for collection from North Berwick Community Centre, North Berwick Library, North Berwick medical practice, Gullane library and Gullane medical practice and can be returned to the council by post.
People can also attend drop-in events to provide feedback. These will be held at North Berwick Community Centre, Law Road, EH39 4PN, on:
- Thursday, 24 November - 1pm to 8pm
- Saturday, 26 November - 10am to 2pm