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Thu 27 Sep: The Barnet Obsession: Parking

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"Town Centres have come under the spotlight from the Coalition government in recent times, during which parking – or, rather, the lack, high cost or poor management of - has often been cited as a major contributory factor for failing towns and cities. 

"There is no doubt that parking is a key issue for all communities. Getting it right is not just about minimising conflict it is also about improving quality of life and better public realm provision. Focus should be less on proving or disproving whether parking is a significant contributory factor to economic decline and more about whether it is fulfilling its potential as a major influencer in attracting people to a town or city. 

"The more accessible, vibrant and well thought out towns will most certainly win the race for footfall every time. Ensuring due consideration is given to how people are going to get to their destination, and the experience they will have when they arrive, is something the parking profession has the power to ensure is done well. 

"This BPA conference, in partnership with the ATCM, presents an upbeat day looking at examples of joined up thinking, innovation, excellence and case studies from places that are improving parking management to help turn their fortunes around."

Class 1a - The parking charges debate
Charging strategies
John Siraut – Sinclair Knight Merz

This session will explore the rationale behind parking charges, why charge, how much should we charge, what impact does charging have on retail spend and the success of our town centres, what happens when you change parking charges, how much are people prepared to pay to park? Every town centre is different but there is often a tension between parking and town centre managers over parking strategies that need to be addressed to create a successful town centre while still generating much needed revenue for town halls.
Case Study – Making Parking Free 
Clare Turner – Blackburn Borough Council

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has recently implemented a 9 month trial for free parking in all its car parks on Saturday in Blackburn Town Centre to great acclaim by government ministers. This is topical at a time when the government has recently responded to Mary Portas on her recommendations as to how they and councils can support the High Street with parking highlighted as a key issue.

Research carried out across town centre retailers in Blackburn overwhelmingly highlighted the cost of parking as the top concern for businesses. The council’s Town Centres First planning policy has resulted in successfully challenging further out of town and large scale competitive retail development in the surrounding area. However, in this challenging and sustained period of economic difficulty, their focus has also turned towards supporting existing businesses in the centre and encouraging new investment. This session will explore how parking policy can be an important tool in delivering the wider objective of helping our high streets become more sustainable, particularly outside the larger cities. 

Class 1b - Accessible Towns
Making town centres accessible for all 
Travel Planning - ACT Travelwise, invited
Special considerations for Historic places - Ian Poole, Historic Towns Forum executive
Disability access - Speakers TBC

Class 1c - Residential Parking
The right number of the right spaces in the right places – Residential Parking in a more enlightened age
Bob White, Development Planning Manager, Kent County Council 

The issues surrounding parking provision, and the inadequacies of it, can inflame an entire community. The joint CIHT/IHE Residential guidance note sets out advice and recommendations to help ease parking problems in residential areas.

Government policy has now placed an emphasis on local decisions, and has seen a shift in the attitude towards parking provision. With this changing landscape, it has become apparent that a fresh approach is needed for advising and informing planners, highway engineers and developers.

Bob White’s presentation considers the background to what has become a real problem to many people, and looks at how we can use the Government’s call to tackle ‘design mediocrity’ to support the objective of getting the right number of the right spaces in the right places. 
Case study on Borough of Poole’s residential parking/town centre residential development plans
Lee Smith, Senior Development Management Officer (Transportation), Borough of Poole 

In July 2011 the Borough of Poole introduced a new parking guidelines document for new development in the borough. The document was based on a Dorset wide study of residential car ownership levels. The presentation will look at how Poole’s new parking guidelines impact on development in the Town Centre, what the wider study discovered about residential car ownership levels in the Town Centre and how we square the need to provide Town Centre parking for both residents and businesses. 

Class 1d - Sustainable Towns 
The Future of the High Street – Where Does Parking Fit In?
John Dales, Urban Initiatives

The Portas Review recommendation that high streets need more and cheaper parking was a sad reflection of the fact that local retailers rarely campaign for improvements to travel by any other mode than car. While the evidence for the high street till-ringing powers of parking is little more than human instinct, and the importance of travel by other modes routinely ignored by retailers and politicians alike, challenging the pro-parking lobby is to imply that traders don’t know their customers very well and that elected decision-makers don’t know what they’re talking about.

This presentation will explain some of the logical disconnects in the more-parking-must-be-better position, place in the hands of practitioners actual evidence about the role of different forms transport in underpinning high street retail vitality, and also help to broaden the debate concerning the most important ways in which local high streets will need to change if they are to continue to perform a valuable role for the communities at which they are, and will remain, the heart. 

Small Towns of the Future not the Past
Dr Gordon Morris, Director & Alison Eardley, Policy Manager
- Action for Market Towns/Small Towns of Tomorrow

(There's more, so click on image above.)

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