Call to ensure car park price rises don’t impact on people using Beacon Park

Any rises in car park charges in Lichfield should not impact on people using Beacon Park.

Beacon Park's Museum Gardens

Beacon Park’s Museum Gardens

That’s the view of Neil Turner, Lichfield District Council’s director of parks, following a report suggesting prices could go up at local authority owned car parks.

There are currently three sites serving the city’s green spaces.

And Mr Turner said that while charges would help to keep commuters away from the spaces, the price shouldn’t be prohibitive for users of Beacon Park.

Cars parked around the Beacon Street area. Pic: BSARA

Cars parked around the Beacon Street area. Pic: BSARA

“Offering free parking is not sensible because we find the car parks are filled by commuters who don’t use the park and don’t spend money,” he said. “We don’t need to provide a cheap facility for them.

“Our usual users are bowlers, footballers and families who more often than not spend a relatively short period in the park.

“We need to keep them visiting the park and using the facilities. Not just to maintain income levels, but also to ensure people remain fit and healthy.”

A report to Lichfield District Council has suggested freezing any rise until after the Friarsgate development is completed.

But Mr Turner insisted Beacon Park’s car parks may require further consideration.

“I think it might be worthwhile reminding ourselves why we provide the three car parks and why we introduced charging on them ten years or so ago,” he said.

“Firstly, we need to provide parking so that the users of our parks can access the facilities. As a council we recognise the health and community benefits that accrue when people use parks and we would not wish to discourage people from using those facilities, either by not providing car parks or chariging prohibitive fees.

“Secondly, we also need to be mindful that there are a number of streets around Beacon Park which allow unrestricted on-street parking.

“When the park is busy, cars can be parked quite legally on these streets, but to the frustration of residents without their own off-street parking or those that are just very protective about their own street.

“In consequence, when parking is in demand – particularly during the summer holidays – there is palpable tension between residents and drivers.

“So we need to ensure that our car parks are not prohibitively expensive so that people choose first to park on the roads or at Morrisons.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.