As a consequence of the regeneration of the Radstock town centre and the re-routing of the traffic system, the town has experienced a reduction in free parking spaces including the loss of the Victoria Hall car park. This has resulted in the Radco store experiencing a significant increase in the number of vehicles parking at the store from non-customers and commuters who compete with customers for free car parking. This is starting to impact on the availability of parking spaces for genuine customers, especially the premium spaces situated convenient to the store entrance.
Don Morris, CEO of Radstock Co-op said, “We are concerned that our loyal customers will be at a disadvantage during their shopping visits and we have therefore sought a solution to the parking issue by engaging a parking operator to monitor and manage parking at the store to ensure that customers get access to the facilities they deserve. The good news is that parking will still remain free for up to 3 hours for our customers.”
The new system will be implemented on the 2nd April 2015.
The Society considers that three hours is ample time to visit the store and carry out all activities required e.g. shopping, post office services, refreshments etc and this has been the basis for determining the rules by which the parking operator will ensure compliance using number plate recognition technology to monitor. This will help to deter non-customers and those wishing to use much sought-after parking as a free ‘park and ride’ facility.
Mr Morris confirmed that “There will obviously be a ‘settling-in’ period during which time we aim to communicate to our customers the introduction of the new system and the consequences for breaches of the rules levied by the parking operator. . The number plate recognition system will ensure that genuine shoppers and permit users will not have to face the inconvenience of having to obtain a ticket from a machine or pay and claim a rebate”.
Provision has been made for staff colleagues to park in a designated parking area away from the store entrance to maximise the number of spaces available for customers.
Mr Morris went on to say, “We also recognise the impact of the reduction in free parking spaces is having on our fellow Radstock Town traders. In this respect, I am pleased to confirm that following discussions with Bath & North East Somerset Council and in consultation with the local traders, we are able to offer a number of parking permits to be allocated to local traders and service providers.”
Jo Miling, Chair of Radstock Traders Association commented, “With all the changes to Radstock Town Centre it’s vitally important that parking is easily available for shoppers. We welcome the changes to parking arrangements at the Co-op, which will ensure that people can park easily to visit town centre shops and businesses. We also very much appreciate the Co-op’s kind gesture in making 20 longer stay spaces available for town centre workers.”
Councillor, Eleanor Jackson, Radstock Town Council was also supportive of the new arrangements stating, “I am delighted at this move by Radstock Co-operative Society to facilitate easier parking in Radstock. It should help genuine shoppers, and by granting the other traders permits to use the upper end of the RADCO car park, free up spaces elsewhere in the town for those going to the doctors’ surgery, the library, the children’s centre and so on. I have been arguing for more than two years with B&NES Council to get a coherent parking strategy for the whole of Radstock, and hopefully this will kick start the process. I hope this move will also inspire the Town Council to get the Tom Huyton car park re-vamped and regulated, so that there is no displacement effect which leaves parents unable to park.”
Mr Morris said, “We appreciate that parking is at a premium within the town centre, but we must ensure that sufficient parking is available to our customers who spend money with us and who ultimately ensures the future of the Radco store. We believe we have a significant part to play in continuing to support local services and retail outlets thus contributing to the sustainability of the Radstock Town centre as a thriving local community.”