The Council considered the report of the Re-Set and Recovery Working Group (RRWG) seeking Members’ support to reinstate free Christmas parking days in Maldon High Street Car Parks.
The Chairman drew Members’ attention to an addendum which had been circulated prior to the meeting and provided additional information for consideration.
It was noted that the RRWG had been formed by the Council to oversee activities relating to the ongoing Government guidance and legislation relating to business activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report set out the work of RRWG and recommendations coming forward from the Working Group, these included:
· Free ‘Christmas’ parking days
The RRWG were proposing that the three free days parking be reinstated, although for 2020 it was suggested that these be split into six half days. The addendum suggested that although the dates of these half days were detailed in the report in response to the recent National Lockdown that the Director of Service Delivery be given flexibility to change these, if necessary. It was noted that the free parking proposal would support retail shopping, hospitality and the evening economy.
· Engagement with businesses on a change to evening charging period
The report outlined the informal discussions that had taken place with businesses and how these had outlined a desire to change the start time of evening charges from 6pm to 3pm. Officers were therefore seeking Members’ agreement to consult on two different options, the first to change the evening charging period Monday to Friday and the second to change the charging period for just one afternoon a week. The costs associated with both options were set out in the report.
Appendix 1 to the report outlined the initial feedback received from the Maldon Business Board. It was noted that the Business Board had also requested that the Council consider an additional free parking day on 24 December 2020 (Christmas Eve).
The Director of Service Delivery presented the report, drawing attention to the addendum. This was followed by the Chairman of the RRWG, Councillor Mrs J L Fleming, who thanked Officers and Members of the Working Group and encouraged all Members to delay their Christmas shopping until December and to shop local.
Councillor S P Nunn proposed that the recommendations as set out in the report be agreed. This was duly seconded.
The Chairman put the proposal to the Council and this was duly agreed, by assent. However, Councillor C Morris requested that his dissent be recorded.
(i) That delegated authority be reinstated for three free ‘Christmas’ parking days (or equivalent part days) in Maldon High Street Car Parks to the Director of Service Delivery in consultation with the Leader of the Council to support high street businesses;
(ii) That the afternoon of Christmas Eve be added to the free parking dates in 2020 as requested by the Maldon Business Board;
(iii) That Officers engage with businesses relating to a potential change to the start of the evening charging period to stimulate high street footfall and economic recovery;
(iv) That the Reset and Recovery Working Group considers the results of the engagement before reporting with any recommendations to the Council for consideration related to changes to car park tariffs.