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Mendip District Council (MDC) is considering a review of its car parking strategy for the whole of Mendip which presently includes plans to increase hourly fees by RPI rounded up to the nearest 10p, and then again annually, put up the price of season tickets  by 60% and bring in Sunday charges in Frome. You can find out what it is planning here.

MDC has a practical monopoly on off-street parking in Frome. Since 2012 the Chamber has been encouraging the council to improve the management of car parks, and signage to them, for the mutual benefit of MDC and Frome. We have also been asking for a proper strategic review following best practice because it is 10 years since MDC last did one, and it has yet to implement that.

The Chamber is dismayed that MDC is not proposing to do that, and has once again had a very limited review which concentrates on where and how prices can be increased. The proposed review lacks almost all the figures provided before, such as how much does the council already make in charges? MDC has not considered the knock-on effect for on-street parking (the enforcement of which is the responsibility of Somerset County Council) and the impact on Sunday events. We are also concerned by vague plans to develop North Parade, one of Frome’s two long-term car parks, and part of the Cattle Market, and inadequate consideration of the likely development of Saxonvale. We think that parking capacity is reaching a critical point, and failing to plan for that, and other transport alternatives will damage the town when Frome is growing  economically.

We have put together a detailed response to the Council’s review which you can read here. Our main points are:

  • Any review or strategy should cover both on-street and off-street parking, be prepared jointly with SCC and with full consultation and in accordance with good practice.
  • We oppose increasing car parking charges until we have seen evidence that MDC is balancing its obligation between MDC’s short term economic interests and the longer term viability of towns.
  • No increases should be introduced until MDC has implemented the recommendation made 10 years ago.
  • We oppose inflation busting automatic annual increases in car parking charges.
  • Car parking charges for Sundays should only be introduced after the impact of that has been assessed, and events organisers consulted.
  • MDC should only increase season ticket prices after full consultation. There must be a clear justification for a change in MDC policy on season tickets for workers, and no automatic inflation busting increases. (See further info here).
  • We want a full consultation on any development of the Cattle Market and North Parade.
  • We are concerned that the strategy leaves open further increases but does not propose any further consultation, for e.g., disabled users and evening parking after 6pm.

You can read our full response here.

Got concerns? Here’s what you can do

You can comment of the Chamber’s Facebook page or email Chamber committee member Neil Howlett.

We have been in discussion with Frome Town Council and you can read more about its response here.