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Revised car park fees trial to continue 'until at least end of April 2016'

Wednesday, 16 March 2016 13:46

The revised charging structure trial at Chester Street car park is to be continued until at least the end of April 2016, Douglas Borough Council has confirmed.


The Council assumed management of the site together with Drumgold Street car park in June 2015 and on November 1 introduced revised charges at Chester Street: ‘free after three’ Monday to Friday and a flat-rate £2 charge all day on Saturdays in a bid to encourage more shoppers into the town centre, and for them to stay longer.


Environmental Services Committee Chairman Councillor Ritchie McNicholl said: ‘This is yet another measure where the Council is working in partnership with town centre retailers to support the local economy. The trial’s still in its early days and figures for the Christmas and New Year period don’t give a clear picture of a pattern of usage, which is why we’ll be running the trial until at least the end of April. That said, anecdotal feedback suggests that the £2 all-day Saturday tariff has resulted in wider use of Chester Street car park, and of course it was very busy throughout December.


‘In tandem with the trial we have been monitoring December town centre footfall since 2013 and the results are encouraging. For December 2013 the figure was 505,944; in 2014, 393,780 but in 2015 the figure rose to 524,932 - an increase of 32 per cent over 2014 -  which could, in part, be attributed to the new, lower parking fees.’


Louise Whyman of the Strand Centre said: ‘It’s fair to say that the lower parking charges in Chester Street car park seem to have boosted footfall and trade in the town centre. We certainly witnessed more people in the shop towards the end of the day during the week and our footfall for December year on year was up by around 10%.  It’s very much a “watch and see” situation at present, but overall we fully support the Council’s proactive approach to encourage more shoppers into Douglas during what are still difficult trading conditions.’


In addition to the revised fee structure Monday to Saturday, parking is free on Sundays at Chester Street, the Bottleneck and Shaw’s Brow car parks.