Confusion over changes to Wokingham and Woodley car parks
Confusion rages on Facebook over proposed changes to parking lots in the Borough of Wokingham, which includes the suburb of Woodley and Earley.
Posts on Facebook community groups such as the Woodley Residents Discussion Group have expressed fears that new charges will be introduced in city parking lots in the future.
Confusion surrounds the notices that have been put in place in the borough’s car parks regarding a consultation to change the operation of the car parks.
This means that Wokingham Borough Council advisers had to step in to set the record straight.
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Councilor Andrew Mickleburgh (Liberal Democrats, Hawkedon) writing on the Earley Residents discussion board, told members he had sought clarification from council on proposed changes affecting the Laurel Park parking lot, which is accessed by Instow Road in Earley.
His post on the Facebook page contains a statement from the council stating that there is no proposal to introduce pricing to use the parking lot, which is free.
The proposed changes to the operation of car parks throughout the borough are part of a consultation conducted by the council, which consists of revising the traffic regulation orders (TRO).
The council said it was doing so to facilitate the fight against anti-social behavior (ASB) in parking lots.
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen (Conservative, Hillside), Executive Board Member for Highways, said: “We need to find ways to help police tackle the ASB that is happening in some parking lots.
“At the moment we can’t do that because technically the parking lots are not technically ‘operational’ at night – so we don’t have the power to kick people out.
“The proposed new TRO would make parking lots ‘operational’ 24/7, so that we can take action when needed.
“It’s important to stress that this doesn’t change the parking fee in any way, either in terms of when people have to pay or how much. ”
The proposed changes concern:
- Modification of opening hours so that the municipality can take measures against anti-social behavior and the misuse of parking lots by extending the opening hours to “at any time” from Monday to Sunday (including public holidays).
- The new TRO will remove a number of off-street car parks that are no longer managed by the council, including the multi-storey Elms Road and The Paddocks Wokingham car parks. The council is in the process of creating a separate TRO to manage the borough’s four park and ride facilities at Coppid Beech Park and Ride, Mereoak Park and Ride, Thames Valley Park and Ride and Winnersh Triangle Park and Ride.
- The TRO will also allow the council to designate parking spaces for recharging electric vehicles in any off-street car park.
In addition, the council will introduce 15 minutes of free parking at the Dinton Pastures Country Park Activity Center parking lot and 30 minutes of free parking in the visitor bays of the council offices in Shute End (Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. ).
A statutory consultation on the changes is open until Thursday, October 7 and the board will receive comments on the consultation until Sunday, October 10 at midnight.
Residents can provide feedback by emailing the council’s traffic management team at [email protected]
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Written notices of the consultation were posted in parking lots causing confusion.
Cllr Shirley Boyt (Labor, Bulmershe & Whitegates) took pictures of the notifications.
His photos show notices pasted to payment and billboards, with one notice “hidden” behind a trash can.
More information can be found by going to the council’s website and searching for “traffic control orders”.