Paignton Parking Needs Study
The Paignton Parking needs study has been undertaken by WSP, on Torbay Council’s behalf, to assess the demand for parking and supply of spaces in Paignton town centre, now and over the next 10 years.
WSP, as experts in this area of work, were commissioned in September 2019. Their work has included community engagement. It has also included a review of the data available for car parks, such as the assessments of usage made by Car Parking Attendants during almost 3,500 visits to Paignton’s town centre car parks.
Torbay Council and the community are particularly keen to ensure that there is sufficient parking in Paignton town centre to deal with demand, especially if town centre regeneration is successful. The research shows how the balance between much needed regeneration and provision of sufficient parking can be achieved.
This study complements the content of strategic plans for Paignton town centre, including the Neighbourhood Plan, the Paignton Town Centre Masterplan and the Local Plan. It is important research, informing ongoing work to unlock the Garfield Road site for redevelopment, using Land Release Funding. It links with Torbay Council’s continued efforts to attract significant (around £15 million) Future High Streets Funding for regeneration of Paignton town centre. It also relates to the supply of land for housing. It is important for the Council to bring forward brownfield sites, such as the car park at Garfield Rd, that help meet Local Plan requirements for housing delivery and reduce the pressure on greenfield sites.
Here’s a bite sized summary of the findings:
- The Council and the Paignton community want to ensure that there is sufficient parking provision in Paignton town centre to meet present and future needs.
- The community and Council wants town centre regeneration in Paignton. It produced a Neighbourhood Plan, which supports that ambition. The community played a strong part in production of a town centre masterplan. The community has supported the Council’s bid for Future High Street Funding. The redevelopment of some off-street car parks is included in those plans and bids. This is a necessary component of successful town centre regeneration and the use of brownfield sites helps reduce pressure for greenfield development.
- In September 2019, WSP, a specialist transport and parking consultancy, were commissioned to undertake an independent assessment of off-street and on-street public car parking in and around Paignton town centre. This included community partnership engagement in November 2019, with the study adjusted to account of useful comments from the community.
- There are just over 3,300 on and off-street parking spaces in Paignton town centre, of which over 2,860 are off street and are, generally, significantly under-used.
- The Council’s Parking Attendants made 3429 visits to Paignton town centre car parks during 2017 – almost 300 a month, at different times of the day and week. During those visits the Attendants estimate the number of spaces used and generally assess how each car park is used. This clear estimate of usage, as well as ticket data, has informed the study, as has the feedback from community stakeholders.
- WSP tested a range of growth scenarios and the potential loss of different off-street car parks. The key findings are:
- There is enough off-street parking supply in and on the edge of Paignton town centre to accommodate off-street parking demand, now and in the future, even during periods of exceptionally high demand.
- 315 spaces can be lost in the town centre in the short term with no capacity pressures or negative impacts in terms of meeting existing and future demand. This equates to loss of the car parks at Garfield Road (old Victoria car park) and Crossways.
- There would be some pressure on parking capacity, during high demand at busy times of the year, if there was loss of an additional 175 spaces in the medium term.
- A ‘tipping point’ is reached, where demand regularly exceeds supply during busy and very busy periods, if a further 200 spaces were lost in the medium term.
- In the longer term, modelling shows that loss of a further 100 car parking spaces, will result in demand exceeding off-street supply during average, busy and very busy periods, i.e. Central Car Parks will fill on a regular basis and drivers will need to use car parks outside the town centre.
- In the short term, the Council and community, should consider and agree mitigation measures which will reduce or remove pressure of demand on town centre spaces. Those measures can then be implemented over the medium term, should further spaces within the town centre be lost.
Here full reports and findings of the study: