Charges could be introduced at free car park

MDL081009B1 - Belper's very busy coppice car park
MDL081009B1 - Belper's very busy coppice car park

Councillors are considering introducing charges for people who park all day at Belper’s Coppice car park.

A report to Belper Town Council suggested introducing a charge of £3 for people who park for more than three hours between 8am and 4pm from Monday to Saturday.

The proposals come afteCouncillor Alan Cox conducted a survey which showed out of 115 cars parked on the surfaced section of the car park in the morning, 90 of those were still there in the afternoon.

Cllr Cox said: “This makes it very difficult for those with large amounts of shopping and for mothers with young children in pushchairs. There is a notice that asks people to use the unsurfaced part of the car park for long stay parking. But this request is ignored.”

During a meeting of the town council on Tuesday, June 10 Cllr John Nelson expressed concern that even more commuters could use The Coppice when the free car park at Derwent Street is sold by its owners Tesco.

He said: “Belper will come to a standstill if you take the 200 cars out of Derwent Street when it closes.They will go straight into The Coppice and it will be a total rat race and after that I don’t know what will happen.”

Cllr David Fisher told the meeting: “Like most people I don’t like paying parking fees full stop.”

The report said that The Coppice car park was resurfaced in early 2005 under the Township Heritage Initiative.

When the committee approved the project there was a stipulation that there should be no charges for parking.

The intention of the improvements was to make the car park more attractive to shoppers. This would encourage more use, more footfall and thereby help the shops in the Market Place area.

Cllr Peter Arnold said: “That car park was intended for shoppers, not workers or commuters - which seems to be the case.”

The committee also stated that Belper Town Council should not benefit financially from the improvements which it had not paid for.

Councillor Cox added: “Bymaking the charges uncompetitive it will mean that the income derived from the Coppice car park will be negligible so the council will not benefit financially from the charging regime. In fact the provision of the parking machine(s) and notices will probably mean that it willcost the council to introduce parking charges. However this will probably be worth it if it helps the shops in the Market Square area and the top of King Street. I suggest that the same parking charges apply on farmers’ market days as this will mean that traders will be encouraged to park their vehicles on the unsurfaced area.”