ONLY one part of Wokingham borough will be excluded from the new evening, weekend and bank holiday parking charges after successfully lobbying the council for an exemption.
At the executive meeting on Thursday, March 31, Cllr Richard Dolinski spoke on behalf of Woodley Town Council, saying that the flat rate of £1 “will not achieve the additional income required from Woodley’s town car parks to balance Wokingham Borough Council’s books”. It also argued that any changes to the current charging periods would “deter visitors to the town centre”.
The Woodley Town Centre Management Initiative suggested that the daytime hourly rate be 80p and no fees added at evenings and weekends. This trial will last for 12 months.
Speaking to The Wokingham Paper immediately after the meeting, the Woodley town council deputy leader said: “It was encouraging to know that the consultation demonstrates yet again that the views of businesses and residents are listened to and valued.
“We wanted to push for it because the town centre is changing. It’s clear that the restaurants and bars are actually doing very well there so we don’t want to penalise them with evening charges. The Oakwood Centre is doing very well in the evenings, it’s got a thriving theatre we’ve got a new catering firm and we’ve got more clubs coming in and using the facilities so we didn’t want to penalise them.”
He also felt that Woodley gained the concessions through its lobbying.
“I don’t want to think it’s special treatment, we are very pro-active in Woodley working closely with residents and traders and the clubs,” he said. “We as a council have taken their voice to Wokingham.
“I would say it’s because we’ve been very well organised, we’ve represented our views in a fair, reasonable and responsible way.”
The Executive’s decision has been called in and will now be reviewed. No charges will be changed during this process.