Weymouth businesses see little benefit to free parking scheme

NO CHARGE: Concessions notice in Park Street car park

REVIEW: David Trickett, FSB Rural Dorset Branch chairman

CHEAPER FEES: Coun Christine James

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

FREE evening and overnight parking should be giving Weymouth’s night time economy a boost – but businesses say they have seen little benefit.

The Federation of Small Businesses says the axing of overnight parking fees in council-run car parks should have increased the number of visitors to the town’s restaurants and pubs.

But Weymouth and Portland Borough Council has no record of how many people are taking advantage of the free parking and restaurateurs say they haven’t noticed a big change.

Free parking from 6pm to 9.30am, introduced in November last year, brings the resort in line with Dorchester, where free overnight parking has been available in West Dorset District Council car parks for a number of years.

David Trickett, FSB Rural Dorset Branch chairman, said: “Parking throughout the area still needs to be reviewed fully to try to help support our local micro and small businesses, but we are delighted that both residents and visitors to Weymouth are able to enjoy free overnight parking and help boost the night time economy.”

Mark Blunden, president of the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, said some traders are reporting that the scrapping of overnight charges has helped.

He said: “It will, of course, be pubs and restaurants that benefit most and though it’s not that long since the parking was made free some are reporting that it has helped.

“I think though that it will be Spring and summer before we see the full benefit of it though.”

Sophie Kermani-Jibet, of The Dining Room restaurant in Weymouth, said free overnight parking had not made ‘a massive difference’ to trade.

“Even when there were charges people could always find other places to park of an evening.

“Once the free spaces are taken away by the harbour there could be more people using it.

“I think Weymouth can compete with Dorchester with it because what Weymouth has to offer in terms of restaurants is a lot of independent restaurants.

“Free overnight parking is a great step to have but to realistically make use of Weymouth we look forward to seeing cheaper car parking prices,” she said.

Gianni Giannino, of Enzo restaurant on The Esplanade, said he wasn’t sure if people dining at the restaurant were using the free parking, but trade is going well during the winter season.

  • COUNCILLOR Christine James, council spokesman for transport, said cheaper parking fees will be introduced in the borough from April 1.

She said it is hard to tell how popular free overnight parking is.

She added: “It seems to be going okay. There are a lot of people who welcome the free overnight parking.

“There’s no record of how many people are using it.”

 

Comments (5)

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5:00pm Thu 20 Feb 14

weymouthresident says...

Probably hasn't made much difference as the council has already frightened everyone off with their ridiculous decisions about what happens in the town. You only have to look a few miles up the road to see that Dorchester is thriving. The parking fees there are less than half the cost of those in Weymouth and you can park for free on a Sunday. Business is booming up there and there's a much nicer atmosphere in the town when you're shopping there because of it. Unfortunately Weymouth is going further and further downhill and becoming a place for mobile phone and charity shops. It's starting to look like a ghost town when it could be and used to be a wonderful place. Please WPBC do something before it's too late.
Probably hasn't made much difference as the council has already frightened everyone off with their ridiculous decisions about what happens in the town. You only have to look a few miles up the road to see that Dorchester is thriving. The parking fees there are less than half the cost of those in Weymouth and you can park for free on a Sunday. Business is booming up there and there's a much nicer atmosphere in the town when you're shopping there because of it. Unfortunately Weymouth is going further and further downhill and becoming a place for mobile phone and charity shops. It's starting to look like a ghost town when it could be and used to be a wonderful place. Please WPBC do something before it's too late. weymouthresident
  • Score: 5

11:22pm Thu 20 Feb 14

John New says...

Free parking when the shops are shut isn't going to improve most trade. Going for an evening drink will still generally be bus or taxi as it always was.

Helps on the few times I've been over in the evening but for me there aren't many reasons to go over in the evening other than for late shopping at stores with own parking.
Free parking when the shops are shut isn't going to improve most trade. Going for an evening drink will still generally be bus or taxi as it always was. Helps on the few times I've been over in the evening but for me there aren't many reasons to go over in the evening other than for late shopping at stores with own parking. John New
  • Score: 1

11:30pm Thu 20 Feb 14

rjimmer says...

As Weymouth's parking attendants are told not to patrol during hours of darkness for security reasons, it's no big deal in winter.
As Weymouth's parking attendants are told not to patrol during hours of darkness for security reasons, it's no big deal in winter. rjimmer
  • Score: 1

9:51am Fri 21 Feb 14

arlbergbahn says...

It does seem as if there was a slight misjudgement here; what would people come into town in the evening for? For pubs & clubs & restaurants and suchlike, wouldn't they. It's not really a time when most people go shopping, if it was even possible to do so in Weymouth any more. And is it a very sensible idea to encourage people to drive when they go drinking and clubbing? So it doesn't seem as if it was really very well thought through, but what can you expect from a Council which seems to only be able to think about Car Park Revenue and doesn't seem to have any other ideas at all?
It does seem as if there was a slight misjudgement here; what would people come into town in the evening for? For pubs & clubs & restaurants and suchlike, wouldn't they. It's not really a time when most people go shopping, if it was even possible to do so in Weymouth any more. And is it a very sensible idea to encourage people to drive when they go drinking and clubbing? So it doesn't seem as if it was really very well thought through, but what can you expect from a Council which seems to only be able to think about Car Park Revenue and doesn't seem to have any other ideas at all? arlbergbahn
  • Score: 0

9:53am Fri 21 Feb 14

arlbergbahn says...

It does seem as if there was a slight misjudgement here; what would people come into town in the evening for? For pubs & clubs & restaurants and suchlike, wouldn't they. It's not really a time when most people go shopping, if it was even possible to do so in Weymouth any more. And is it a very sensible idea to encourage people to do drive when they go drinking and clubbing? So it doesn't seem as if it was really very well thought through, but what can you expect from a Council which seems to only be able to think about Car Park Revenue and doesn't seem to have any other ideas at all?
It does seem as if there was a slight misjudgement here; what would people come into town in the evening for? For pubs & clubs & restaurants and suchlike, wouldn't they. It's not really a time when most people go shopping, if it was even possible to do so in Weymouth any more. And is it a very sensible idea to encourage people to do drive when they go drinking and clubbing? So it doesn't seem as if it was really very well thought through, but what can you expect from a Council which seems to only be able to think about Car Park Revenue and doesn't seem to have any other ideas at all? arlbergbahn
  • Score: 0

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