A £1.2million scheme of improvements to car parks and signage in Taunton is ready to go live.
The Council will implement the new pay on exit system at the Orchard, Tangier, Canon Street, Wood Street, Castle Street and Enfield car parks on 4 February.
This will link into Variable Message Signing (VMS) in place at key locations in Priorswood Road, Cross Keys, Toneway, East Reach, Silk Mills and Wellington Road.
The Traffic Regulation Order which brings the changes into effect is being published this week following a period of testing and training to ensure the complex system of barriers, payment methods and links is working.
The Council will staff the car parks initially to help introduce the public to the new system and answer queries.
Cllr Richard Parrish, Executive member for Planning Policy and Transportation, said: “As the first Garden Town in the South West we are committed to delivering major regeneration in the town centre, new sustainable communities, improved transport and supporting infrastructure. These significant changes to the parking system are central to this strategy and represent our commitment to Taunton Deane’s ecology and economy. They will make a real difference to drivers, helping them to find car parking space while giving them the freedom to stay for as long as they need. The new system will also improve traffic flow, reduce air pollution and benefit local businesses.”
A new charging regime to help with clearer pricing and designation of TDBC car parks will also come into effect with the pay on exit scheme. There are small increases for some car parks. Others will remain static in their charging for short stays, while for longer stays in the majority of car parks, it will be cheaper for most people.
Spaces for Blue Badge holders will remain but the system does not allow for the one hour of additional parking in the car parks covered by pay on exit. The free hour will still be available in other car parks including the Crescent, Whirligig, Belevdere Road, Coal Orchard, Duke Street, Elms Parade and Fons George.
At the Orchard multi-storey car park in Paul Street, Shopmobility users will be able to use a discount card.
Additionally, Blue Badge holders will be able to use on-street parking as they do now.
The new pay on exit parking system is due to go live in seven Taunton car parks this autumn.
The council is working with contractors to complete the installation of equipment at the Orchard, High Street, Tangier, Canon Street, Wood Street, Castle Street and Enfield car parks.
The complex work which has included ground works, installation of barriers, machines and cabling, is due to finish by end of this month. A period of testing and training will then take place with the aim of going live in early November. This means customers will be able to take advantage of the new arrangements in the busy Christmas period.
The Council has already installed Variable Message Signing (VMS) at key locations such as Priorswood Road, Cross Keys, Toneway, East Reach, Silk Mills and Wellington Road.
The VMS systems will help drivers to find car parks and know how many spaces are available and the type of parking – short stay, long stay and commuter. It will also avoid them having to drive around to find a suitable space and should ease queuing and reduce congestion.
Cllr Richard Parrish, Executive member for transport and parking, said: “This £1.2million scheme of significant improvements to car parks and signage should make a real difference to drivers in Taunton. VMS will really improve the flow of traffic and help drivers find the space they need quickly and efficiently, while pay on exit will mean people do not have to rush back to their cars while shopping, dining or on business in the town. This is a great example of the Council working to make parking easier for residents and visitors while improving the traffic flow and in turn reducing air pollution. I’m looking forward to seeing the improvements in place.”
A new charging regime to help with clearer pricing and designation of TDBC car parks will also come into effect with the pay on exit scheme. Changes to the designations of the car parks will give users a clear understanding of where parking is available and for how long you can stay there. There are small increases for some car parks. Other car parks will remain static in their charging for short stays, while for longer stays in the majority of car parks, it will be cheaper for most people.
Taunton Deane Borough Council is pressing ahead with its commitment to invest in the local economy after agreeing to buy a business park in Taunton.
The council is to consolidate its holdings at Lisieux Way to help protect existing high tech jobs on the site, attracting new employers and to regenerate the key employment site.
The aim is to create a high tech business park, within easy reach of the town centre and road and rail connections, with high quality companies similar to those already on the site.
“The site is already home to two important hi-tech companies – South West Pathology Services and Novanta (GSI Exotec). We want to make sure we retain such high quality businesses in the town and to attract more,” said Cllr Mark Edwards, Deputy Leader and Executive member for business development.
“We will also look at other potential uses for the site with the help of specialists that will be able to advise us.
“Taunton Deane Borough Council is seizing an opportunity to acquire an important, strategic site that will generate an income, secure existing jobs and provide opportunities for new jobs. This will result in a sound return for our investment.
“Our council must also become more commercially-minded as we look to the future. We need to generate income to replace the central funding we will lose in order to protect the vital front-line services that our residents value.
The decision was agreed by the Full Council on Tuesday (October 3) – but some details of the deal remain confidential due to commercial sensitivities.
The land is being bought from Thales – the company moved out of Taunton some years ago – to make sure that the Borough can capitalise on the economic opportunities offered.
The council plans to refurbish some existing buildings on the site initially before embarking on a more ambitious regeneration.