Following feedback from residents, Dorchester Chamber, town and parish councils, businesses and other stakeholders, Dorset Council is planning the introduction of two new parking permits, as well as changes to proposed charges in its car parks.
Following a successful survey which had over 1,900 responses, a proposed new permit scheme to benefit the people of Dorset, whilst reducing the potential impact of the higher parking charges, proved to be very popular. Short stay car park permits were most favoured, but the survey showed a clear need for a long stay permit too.
Therefore, two new permits are being proposed:
Pop & Shop: It was clear that many residents want a permit that allows them to pop into their local town or village, so the Pop & Shop permit is designed just for that.
The Pop & Shop permit is flexible, allowing the holder to park in the majority of short stay car parks across the whole of the Dorset Council area for 2 hours every day of the week.
The permit can be purchased annually for £78 a year – only £1.50 a week. This is perfect for those who like to make regular visits to their local high street or town/village centre.
This will support local high streets, helping them to rebuild as hubs of the communities they serve following the impact of the Covid pandemic.
Live, Work & Play: It was also clear from the permit survey that there was a real need for affordable parking for people who live and work in the Dorset Council area, and respondents wanted this to be as flexible as possible.
The Live, Work & Play permit can be used in the majority of long and short stay car parks across the whole of the Dorset Council area. Maximum stay times in short stay car parks will still apply. This permit is ideal for residents who need to park for work, leisure activities, or for those residents who have no residential parking.
The proposed price for the Live, Work & Play permit is £260 a year – only £5 a week. A monthly payment option of £25 a month is also available, which includes an administration fee.
To help fund these new permits, some of the proposed car parking charges have been revised, mainly for parking during the peak season at tourist destinations. This is to bring the charges for the most popular summer destinations in line with other comparable areas in the South West.
Existing parking permits currently in use will remain valid until their expiry date, at which point customers will have the choice to purchase either of the two new permits. On-street residents’ permits are unaffected by these proposals.
Once finalised, the proposals will be presented to Place and Resources Overview Committee in October, with Cabinet to vote on whether to implement them in early November. If agreed, the new charges and permits would be introduced in January 2022.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment at Dorset Council, said:
“We asked Dorset residents what they wanted from a new permit scheme, and we are proposing exactly what they have asked for: a permit for those who just want to pop into their town or village to do some shopping, and another for those who regularly use our car parks when working or spending a full day out enjoying what our beautiful county has to offer.”
“These permits are designed to ensure that Dorset Council residents and people who work in Dorset can access lower cost parking options. We also need to ensure tourists continue to feel welcome here, so we’ve also been careful to make sure that Dorset remains better value to visit than our neighbouring counties.”
“We believe we have found a great offer to benefit everybody. This demonstrates how we’re working with all our communities to make parking charges fair across the entire county, while making sure our residents and workers are not left out of pocket.”