Country parks car parking

Swindon Borough Council is facing an unprecedented financial challenge with over 80p in every £1 of council tax being spent on vulnerable adults and children by 2020 compared to around 50p in 2007. This means there is a lot less to spend on the hundreds of other services the Council delivers. That includes Lydiard House and Park and Coate Water which cost the Council around £550k per year to run.

Why is the Council charging for car parking at Lydiard and Coate Water?

Whilst the Council does not have the same sort of money to spend as it used to 5 years ago, it is still committed to protecting services that local people value. Lydiard Park and Coate Water are two of the borough’s most prized assets and the Council wants to keep them free to enter, well maintained and also provide improvements for residents to enjoy.

Income raised from car parking at Lydiard and Coate will go towards the parks upkeep, making sure they remain the great destinations that they are today. This is a model organisations like the National Trust and English Heritage have used successfully for a number of years and our research has shown many other councils across the country charge for car parking at their country parks. The Council also recently carried out a consultation which showed 51% of respondents at Lydiard, and 43% at Coate, accept the need for car parking charges.

When will charges take effect?

Charges were applied at both Lydiard Park and Coate Water from Friday, 1 July 2016.

For more information on prices, season tickets and penalties for illegal parking please visit www.swindon.gov.uk/parking

There are many other sustainable travel options for people who don’t wish to pay for parking. You can visit http://www.swindontravelchoices.co.uk/

The Car Parking Trial FAQ document (PDF) may also provide further information.

Will there be improvements to the car parks at the sites?

The Council has made, and will continue to make, over £100k of improvements to car parks at both sites during 2016 to provide better surfaces and improve entrance ways and drainage.

The funds raised from car parking charges will help pay for any repairs or future improvements.

Why is there an impact assessment period, how long is it and what will happen after it?

The impact assessment period will run for 4-5 months and will be used to test what impact the parking charges at Lydiard Park and Coate Water will have on the surrounding residential areas over a summer and winter period. The Council is aware of issues in the past and will use this period to gather information from residents about where anti-social parking is taking place.

After the assessment period the Council will look at feedback from residents and assess what options are available to limit any impact on local areas. A report will be presented to the Council’s Cabinet in December.
The impact assessment period will not be assessing the principle or prices of car parking charges at Coate or Lydiard.

The parking charges at Lydiard Park and Coate Water have caused issues in my local area, what can I do?

The Council is aware that the introduction of parking charges may result in anti-social parking in the areas surrounding Lydiard Park and Coate Water. During the impact assessment period residents can feedback any concerns to the Council by calling 01793 46 4544 or by email: pmo@swindon.gov.uk

How does this fit in with potential changes at Lydiard?

The Council is currently looking for a partner organisation who will take on the running of Lydiard House and Park.

Between November 2015 and April 2016 the Council engaged with a number of different groups regarding the future of Lydiard House and Park including park users and potential bidders. The feedback suggested that car parking charging would be a good way to raise income on the site.

Any future operator of the site will consider car parking charging as part of their business plan. The Council has decided to start charging now to help maintain the Park during the bidding process through to a new partner being in place.

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