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Bedford Parking Services Annual Report

Date: February 2010

1. Executive Summary
0.1 Introduction
All local authorities are now required by the Traffic Management Act 2004, Part 6, to
produce an annual parking service review report. This report provides a review of the
annual performance of the Council’s parking services for the year ending March 2009.
This represents the first year since the changes in parking legislation from
decriminalised enforcement to civil enforcement.

0.2 Bedford parking policy


Parking policy in Bedford is governed at two levels: at a regional level the East of
England Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) sets overarching policy objectives; at a
more local level the Bedford Local Transport Plan (LTP) (2006/7 – 2010/11) provides a
local policy context.

The aims and objective for parking services within Bedford can be summarised as:
• Influence private car usage through parking controls to help manage growth and
reduce congestion;
• Use parking controls to manage conflicts between parking demand both in town
centres and residential areas;
• Encourage shorter-stay car parking in the town centre;
• Effectively enforce parking controls to ensure they deliver the benefits for which
they were intended; and
• Cover the cost of parking provision through revenue generation with any surplus
being used to re-invest in local transport.

0.3 Overview of parking services


The provision and management of parking in Bedford is an important function
undertaken by the Council. Issues relating to parking provision and controls are often
high on the community agenda, be that in relation to residential supply or supporting the
local economy.

Bedford has both on and off-street parking controls. A combination of Controlled


Enforcement Areas (CEAs) covers a large proportion of the town centre and immediate
surrounding areas. Residential, business and healthcare permits are available, along
with Pay & Display parking bays. In addition, there are fee-paying car parks around the
town centre and some free car parks in local retail areas.

Bedford Parking Services has the responsibility for the enforcement of parking
regulations, both on-street and off-street. Part of this role involves the issuing of Parking
Charge Notices (PCNs) for parking contraventions. In line with current legislation, the
Council has a transparent process for enabling customers to appeal PCNs that are
issued against their vehicle. The Council’s website provides further information about
this, as well as all other aspects of parking services.
0.4 Operational performance
The Council is continually seeking to improve the parking services that it offers
customers. The Council ensures that all representations for changes to parking
provision are considered on merit. Likewise, all major changes to parking services in the
area are comprehensively consulted upon. Customer satisfaction surveys are also
undertaken in relation to the standards of off-street car parks.

0.5 Statistics
The Council collects and monitors statistical information about parking in Bedford. This
provides valuable information about the performance of the provision and any
alterations that may be required.

Over 22,000 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) were issued in 2008/09, the majority of
which were for parking on yellow lines, parking without a valid ticket or overstaying the
maximum time limit. Around 60% of PCNs were paid within 28 days. The rest were
either challenged or ignored (and appropriate recovery action taken where information
was available)

0.6 Finances
A breakdown of the Council’s parking services’ finances is available annually. This
highlights income and expenditure and provides an overall indication of the balance
sheet.

In the year ending 31st March 2009 the Council’s off-street parking services produced a
net surplus balance of around £105,000. In comparison the on-street parking services
produced a net deficit of around £30,000, although this included a £50,000 contribution
to the operating costs of the Elstow Park and Ride service.
1. Introduction
1.1 Purpose of report
All local authorities are required by the Traffic Management Act 2004, Part 6, to produce
an annual parking service review report from 2009 onwards. Furthermore, the Traffic
Penalty Tribunal (TPT), the independent tribunal that oversees the operation of Civil
Parking Enforcement (CPE) across the country, has also strongly encouraged local
authorities to openly report on their management of CPE services.

This report provides a review of the annual performance of the Council’s parking
services for the year ending March 2009. This represents the first year since the
changes in parking legislation, the implications of which are set out in Section 4 below.

1.2 Bedford as a unitary authority


Back in March 2007, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
started the process of consulting on whether unitary local government was best for
Bedfordshire. The change would mean replacing the present county council and three
district or borough councils (Bedford Borough Council, Mid-Beds District Council and
South Bedfordshire District Council) with new arrangements for the delivery of local
services throughout the shire. The proposals submitted by the three district Councils
proposed a two-unitary approach with Bedford Borough Council becoming a Unitary
Council and a Central Bedfordshire Unitary Council being formed from Mid-Beds and
South Bedfordshire District Councils. The proposals meant that Bedfordshire County
Council would be abolished.

The proposals were approved by Parliament on 27 March 2008. The unitary council was
formed on 1st April 2009.

Whilst these changes have only recently taken place, and were prior to the period
covered by this annual parking report, they have had some impact upon the operation of
parking services in Bedford at a strategic level, and will certainly result in changes going
forward. The implications for this are discussed further in Section 4.

2. Bedford Parking Policy


2.1 Overview
Parking policy in Bedford is governed at two levels: at a regional level the East of
England Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) sets overarching policy objectives; at a
more local level the Bedford Local Transport Plan (LTP) (2006/7 – 2010/11) provides a
local policy context.

Within the East of England RTS, Bedford was identified as a Regional Interchange
Centre (RIC) highlighting its importance as a centre for transport interchange. As part of
this role the RTS promotes the use of traffic management measures to discourage the
use of cars and promote public transport interchange. Linked to this, parking provision is
to be “constrained further in RICs to reflect their accessibility by public transport”. This
provides the broad policy context within which parking services in Bedford are to be
managed.
2.2 Relationship of parking enforcement with Local Transport Plan (LTP)
At the time of the first Local Transport Plan in 2001, parking management controls were
comparatively limited in Bedford. Since then it has considerably improved through the
introduction of greater parking controls to reduce parking conflicts, as well as through
the introduction of decriminalised parking enforcement, which gave local authorities
greater control over the management of parking services and revenue generation.

The second Local Transport Plan (LTP2), whilst coming towards the end of its tenure,
represents the key local document for parking policy. At the time, a separate Parking
Policy document was not developed as it was considered that Bedfordshire County
Council did not directly control much of the total supply of parking. Instead policies and
priorities are set out in the LTP2 document.

Within LTP2 it describes how parking provision can be managed to provide a useful tool
to help deliver overall transport policy aims. It can help manage growth, reduce
congestion and encourage a shift in travel patterns. It must also though be considered
within the context of the economic, environmental and practical impacts it can have
within an area. For example, restricting parking in one area of parking conflict can
simply cause a shift to nearby locations and cause similar undue problems there. The
LTP2 document does recognise, however, that parking management will continue to be
one of the key ways in which the Council can influence car use.

On-street parking restrictions are noted within LTP2 as a popular method by the public
of tackling parking problems and there is recognition that these will continue to be
introduced where there are good reasons to do so. On the enforcement side, LTP2 sets
out the Council’s continued commitment to continue to effectively enforce local parking
controls in order to maximise the benefits to the local communities.

LTP2 sets out that on and off-street parking charges will be regularly reviewed. The
general policy is to ensure that the costs of provision are covered by revenue
generation with any surplus re-invested in local transport. The charging policy also
seeks to continue the emphasis on encouraging short-stay car parking in town centres.

2.3 Aims and objectives


The aims and objective for parking services within Bedford can be summarised as:

• Influence private car usage through parking controls to help manage growth and
reduce congestion;
• Use parking controls to manage conflicts between parking demand both in town
centres and residential areas;
• Encourage shorter-stay car parking in the town centre;
• Effectively enforce parking controls to ensure they deliver the benefits for which
they were intended; and
• Cover the cost of parking provision through revenue generation with any surplus
being used to re-invest in local transport.
3. Overview of parking services
3.1 Parking in Bedford
The provision and management of parking in Bedford is an important function
undertaken by the Council. Issues relating to parking provision and controls are often
high on the community agenda, be that in relation to residential supply or supporting the
local economy. Conflicts between differing demands for parking often create a
requirement for the Council to manage, regulate or control parking provision.

Bedford has both on and off-street parking controls. A combination of Controlled


Parking Zones (CPZs) covers a large proportion of the town centre and surrounding
areas. In addition, there are fee-paying car parks around the town centre and some free
car parks in local retail areas.

3.2 Geographic areas of enforcement


There are a total of 10 zones within the CPZ in and around Bedford Town Centre,
classified by letters between A and L. The majority of these cover areas in the town
centre; however there are also several within residential areas or streets. A map of the
areas covered by the CPZ can be found in Appendix A along with the specific
boundaries for each individual zone.

A separate map in Appendix B indicates the location of the off-street car parks around
Bedford Town Centre.

3.3 Off-street car parks


There are a total of eight car parks in and around Bedford Town Centre. Their locations,
the type of car park and the number of spaces available, including disabled spaces are
indicated in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Off-street Car Parks around Bedford Town Centre

Car Park Type Primary use Number of spaces

Allhallows MSCP Pay & Display Short-stay 576 (+ 1 disabled)

Duck Mill Lane Pay & Display Short-stay 12 (0 disabled)

Lurke Street MSCP Pay on foot Medium-stay 790 (+ 22 disabled, + 8 parent and child)

Melbourne Street Pay & Display Long-stay 197 (0 disabled)

Queen Street MSCP Pay on foot Long-stay 640 (+4 disabled, + 8 parent and child)

Riverside Square Pay & Display Short-stay 140 (+ 6 disabled)

River Street MSCP Pay on foot Short-stay 465 (+ 14 disabled, + 8 parent and child)

St Peters Pay & Display Short-stay 113 (+3 disabled)

Total 2,933 (+50 disabled, +16 parent and child)

The ‘Pay & Display car parks are those that you drive into, go to a machine, and then
purchase a ticket which you place inside your car but visible from the outside. The ‘Pay
on foot’ car parks are those where you generally enter through a barrier and take a
ticket that you keep with you. When you return to the car park you go to a machine and
pay for the time you have stayed. The obvious advantage of the latter system is that
customers are not required to decide how long they want to stay before they leave their
car.

Combined, the car parks offer a total of 2,933 spaces, along with 50 disabled spaces
and 16 parent and child spaces. This gives an overall total of 2,999. Disabled spaces,
therefore, make up 1.67% of the total provision.

Car parking charges vary across the eight car parks in Bedford in relation to the
proximity to the town centre. The pricing structure of the car parks is related to the
proximity to the town centre and follows the policy of encouraging shorter-stay car
parking closer into the town centre. Therefore, the car park located furthest away,
Melbourne Street, is the cheapest with 2 hours costing 90p.

In addition to ad hoc Pay & Display tickets that are bought upon arrival at a car park,
customers can also purchase season tickets. These can be purchased for periods of
one, two, or three months and offer a discount to regular users over the standard day
rates. Motorcycle parking is free in all Council car parks.

3.4 On-street Parking Controls


The Bedford Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) is an area where parking regulations have
been introduced to deal with a range of parking problems. Designated parking bays are
provided with signs indicating their use. Yellow line restrictions – single and double -
apply outside the designated bays. Enforcement of the bays and lines is carried out by
the Council’s Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs). Only a vehicle displaying a parking
permit, a valid pay-and-display ticket, a Visitor Voucher or a Disabled Badge can park in
the designated bays.

There are a range of types of parking bays available, as follows:

Resident/Pay-and-Display Bays: In these bays you may park while displaying a


permit, a pay-and-display ticket, a Visitor Voucher or a Disabled Badge.

Permit Only Bays: In a few areas pay-and-display tickets cannot be bought and
parking is restricted to holders of permits, Visitor Vouchers or Disabled Badges.

Special Bays: There are a variety of bays reserved for specific road users, such as
Blue Badge Holders, motorcycles, buses/coaches, and taxis.

The number of bays, by type, is as follows:

• Pay & Display bays = 2,736


• Resident only parking bays = 60
• Disabled bays = 49
• Coach bays = 5
• Taxi rank bays = 20
The Council has implemented the CPZ as it believes it brings the following advantages:

• It allows for a fair distribution of parking spaces for local residents by removing
commuter parking. This is achieved by the creation of a permit-parking scheme;

• It creates a more pleasant residential environment due to the reduction in


vehicles looking for a parking space in your street;

• There should be a reduction in traffic congestion in general with a corresponding


reduction in pollution and improved public transport reliability;

• Visitors, doctors/medical staff can find parking more easily;

• There is a greater turnover of parking spaces in shopping areas to the benefit of


local traders and shoppers;

• Pedestrian and highway safety is improved by a reduction in unlawful parking on


yellow lines; and

• There is an improvement in security as CEOs are conspicuous as they patrol the


streets.

Since the aim of the CPZ is to be cost neutral, these benefits can all be delivered
without the requirement for funding from local taxation and any surpluses will be used to
fund improvements to alternative modes of transport, particularly to support Park and
Ride services. The Council does recognise, however, that there are some
disadvantages with the CPZ, namely:

• Residents, businesses, visitors and shoppers need to pay for on-street parking;

• Commuter parking may be displaced to other areas outside the CPZ;

• It does not protect residents' parking space outside the CEOs hours and

• It does not guarantee parking space immediately outside individual properties.

As a result of this impact, the Council seeks to continually review the provision and
management of the CPZ to ensure that overall the benefits derived continue to
significantly more than off-set any negative implications.

3.5 On-street Pay & Display Parking


Pay and Display machines are located across the CPZ, with around 125 in total. The
on-street pay and display charges are as follows:

• £0.40 Up to 30 Minutes
• £0.90 Up to 1 Hour
• £1.30 Up to 2 Hours
• £3.00 Up to 3 Hours
• £6.50 Up to 4 Hours
• £9.00 Over 4 Hours

Parking is free and without time limit for holders of Blue Badges when using a marked
parking bay.
The machines are constantly monitored by the Parking Service to ensure that they are
fully operational. Maintenance teams are available to repair machines within a 24-hour
period should they become faulty. Data is also regularly collected from machines to
monitor the levels of tickets issued. This data allows the Council to monitor the changing
requirements for parking provision across the town. As an example, data provided from
revenue summaries, which will be presented later in the report, indicates that across the
year from April 2008 to March 2009 the most frequent time duration for on-street
parking was ‘Up to 1 hour’ followed by ‘Up to 2 hours’.

3.6 On-street Permit Parking


There are three categories of parking permit available for the CPZ in Bedford, as
follows:
• Resident permits (and associated visitor permits)
• Business permits
• Healthcare and voluntary organisation permits

Every resident within the CPZ is eligible to apply for Residents Parking Permits for their
vehicles, except residents of new developments of flats/apartments constructed after
1st April 2008. Permits are valid for 12 months from the beginning of the month the
application is made. Up to three permits per household can be purchased. The cost for
these permits increases based upon the number of cars per household, as follows:

• 1st vehicle = £20;


• 2nd vehicle = £70
• 3rd vehicle = £90.

A charge of £5 is made for changes to permits. Properties within the CPZ are entitled to
one free Visitor Permit Book each year and a further two books may be purchased by
residents at £15 per book within the same year. For the Council to issue a Residents
Parking Permit, the resident must provide proof of residency and demonstrate that they
are the owner of the vehicle (although there are a few exceptions, for example with
company cars). Each permit states a zone where parking is allowed. There can be no
guarantee that residents will be able to park outside their property or in their street.

Business vehicles can park in any pay-and-display bays in the CPZ. Businesses based
within the CPZ may apply for permits if they can demonstrate a need. These permits
cost £130 per year for the first permit and £200 for the second. Each permit would have
the name of the company displayed, but could be used by any vehicle registered by the
business.

Healthcare Parking Permits are available to doctors, nurses, midwives and other key
healthcare workers to enable parking within the CPZ while attending to patients. These
permits are not valid on yellow lines. Charges for the permits are £20 for Healthcare / £5
for Voluntary and they are valid for two years. Should the permit need to be altered
within this period there would be a charge of £5.
3.7 Parking Enforcement
Bedford Parking Services has the responsibility for the enforcement of parking
regulations both on-street and off-street. This is carried out by Civil Enforcement
Officers, formerly known as Parking Attendants. Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), which
are often referred to as parking tickets, are issued when a driver parks a vehicle in
contravention of parking regulations (e.g. by parking in the wrong place or failing to
display a valid parking permit/ticket).

There are two levels of charges depending on the nature of contraventions, along with a
discount rate for prompt payment:

• Higher Tariff for more serious contraventions = £70

• Lower Tariff for less serious contraventions = £50

• Discounted amount (50%) if paid within 14 days = £35 / £25

Appendix C presents the list of contraventions for both on-street and off-street parking.
In general the higher contraventions relate to parking a vehicle in a location for which it
is not permitted, whilst the lower contraventions relate to a vehicle parked incorrectly or
parked for too long in a permitted space.

Currently, in Bedford, there is no policy to clamp and remove vehicles. Unlawful parking
causes problems for everyone else and by enforcing regulations, we aim to:

• Keep traffic flowing freely;

• Ensure that there is a fair and even distribution and turnover of available parking
spaces throughout the area, not only for visitors, but also for residents, traders,
customers, businesses and healthcare workers;
• Make the Borough a safer place to drive, walk, or cycle through;

• Ensure that designated disabled bays are used only by those lawfully displaying
a valid Blue Badge in accordance with the Blue Badge Scheme;
• Ensure that bays designated for use by specific vehicles such as taxis, buses
and goods vehicles are kept clear for their intended use;

• Ensure that vehicles park only within the permitted time limits to make sure that
everybody has equal access to limited parking space; and

• Ensure that pedestrians are permitted to walk safely without fear or obstruction in
pedestrianised areas.

3.8 The parking appeals process


There is a comprehensive and fair procedure for customers to challenge any PCN
issued against their vehicle. A challenge must be received by the Council within 14 days
of the PCN issue date for the discounted rate to apply (50%). Should the challenge not
be successful, the discount period of 14 days is reinstated. If neither a challenge nor
payment is received within 28 days then a Notice to Owner (NtO) is issued and served.
If the NtO is ignored then a Charge Certificate is produced for the full value of the PCN
plus a 50% surcharge. If payment is still not made, the Council will pursue the PCN as
a debt in the County Court and a Notice of Debt Registration is produced to notify the
customer. A fee of £5 is added to the outstanding amount of the PCN for the
registration. Finally, as a last resort for payment collection, a warrant is issued and the
debt is passed over to the bailiffs for recovery.

If after receiving the NtO a customer wishes to appeal then the Council will consider all
written representations. If the Council rejects the representations then the customer can
make a further appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, who acts as an independent
adjudication service. This represents the final avenue for appeal and if it is dismissed
then the PCN, must be paid in full.

At any stage throughout this process the Council may cancel the PCN if it is deemed
appropriate. The case would then be closed and no further action would take place.

3.9 Customer Services


Bedford Parking Services have produced a clear and concise guide in relation to the
enforcement of parking, with a particular emphasis on advising customers how to avoid
a PCN. The document also details the appeals process in the event that a customer
requires this information.

If customers are issued with a PCN then there are three straightforward processes for
making payment. Customers can pay by posting a cheque, by credit or debit card over
the telephone or in person by cash, cheque or credit/debit card. This information is all
presented clearly on the reverse of the issued PCN.

Should a customer wish to challenge a PCN then the process is again clearly set out
within the Bedford Parking Services Document entitled ‘Enforcement’, which can be
found on the Council’s website or obtained upon request. The Council has a clear set
of guidelines under what circumstances a representation for a customer will be
considered. It sets out conditions under which different representations may be
accepted or rejected. This information is also available on the Council’s website or upon
request.

Each case that is put before the Council is considered on its own merits taking into
account all of the evidence available and the uniqueness of the circumstances that led
up to the contravention taking place.

Should a customer have an appeal rejected then the legislation allows for a further
appeal to the independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal. This ensures that the process is
entirely transparent and impartial.

The process of tracking the issue of PCNs, subsequent payment and appeals is all
recorded electronically. This allows each individual contravention to be monitored and
tracked throughout the process.

The Council’s website provides information regarding all aspects of parking in Bedford,
from the location of car parks and CPZs, through tariffs and permit prices, as well as
enforcement procedures. The website is constantly updated to ensure that it reflects the
most up-to-date information available. Customers wishing to contact the parking service
can either go to the premises on Harper Street in person, or may write, email or phone.

A car park charter also exists which establishes the Council’s commitment to providing
a “high quality secure, safe and pleasant car parking service”. The charter addresses
issues such as staff behaviour, information provision, cleanliness and enforcement
procedures.

The Council also carries out customer satisfaction surveys to ensure there is feedback
from customers about the provision of parking. The results for the last survey are
presented below in Section 5 on Operation Performance.

4. Changes to parking services


4.1 Operation changes
As mentioned at the outset of this report, the operational year to the end of March 2009
was one leading up to large structural change within the local Councils as a new unitary
authority was formed on 1st April 2009. Whilst the majority of changes have obviously
taken place after this date, the period beforehand was one in which services tended to
be operated on a day-to-day basis rather than at a strategic planning level as it was
acknowledged that changes to administrative processes would be impending.

Under the previous Council structure, and as set out in LTP2, Bedfordshire County
Council had taken over responsibility for parking enforcement from the police and the
district councils operated as the administrators for parking services. A Joint Parking
Board (JPB) was established to oversee the operations. The JPB was made up of 50%
Borough Councillors and 50% County Councillors. The JPB would meet to consider and
approve any alterations to parking services across the borough.

Upon becoming a Unitary Authority on 1st April 2009, the JPB was disbanded with
responsibilities being passed to the portfolio holder for environment, whose remit
included parking.

The 31st March 2008 was the implementation date for Part 6 of the Traffic Management
Act (TMA) 2004. From that date, parking enforcement was undertaken under the
provisions of the TMA, replacing the previous Road Traffic Act 1991. This necessitated
the introduction of a number of changes for the service.

The new legislation has changed the name of parking enforcement officers from Parking
Attendants to Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) to reflect the wider role that they are
now able to undertake if required. All CEOs must also be subject to a Criminal Record
Bureau check and have been trained to a standard equivalent to a Level Two nationally
accredited qualification.

A key change with the TMA was the introduction of differential penalty charges, to
reflect the severity of the contravention. A uniform approach to penalty charges is now
applied across the country, with the exception of London, with a higher rate of £70
applied to more serious contraventions and a lower rate of £50 for other contraventions.
The TMA introduced a number of new contraventions to be managed through the civil
enforcement process including enforcement of:
• Bus lanes;
• Dropped kerbs;
• Double parking;
• Vehicle drive-aways;
• Pedestrian crossing zig-zags; as well as
• Some moving traffic contraventions.

The process for issuing a PCN, often referred to as a parking ticket, has also been
strengthened, in particular with the ability to serve PCNs through the post and
empowering CEOs to inspect disabled persons’ ‘blue badges’.

Finally, the TMA also brought about changes to the process for considering informal
challenges, formal representations and independent appeals. A more standardised
approach is now required across local authorities.

The changes that have resulted from the TMA required a number of alterations to the
procedures applied in Bedford to ensure compliance.

4.2 New Zones


Within the assessment year of April 2008 to March 2009, was the introduction of a new
CEA Zone L that provided parking places in Beverly Crescent and Granet Close. This
was introduced to provide resident permits and reduce parking conflicts with non-
residents.

Since the end of March 2009 a further Zone H has been introduced that encompasses
Pemberley Road. This is to provide residential parking and to reduce conflicts with other
vehicles accessing the school located along this road.

A further new Zone K has been approved and will cover the area of Clarendon Street,
Palmerston Street, Beaconsfield Street and Park Road West. This will be introduced
later this year.

4.3 Tariffs
Parking tariffs are continuously monitored. During the review year from April 2008 to
March 2009 there were no significant alterations to pricing structures for either on or off-
street car parking.

From April 2009, however, a significant increase in the cost of long-stay on-street car
parking in the town centre has been implemented. It is now notably cheaper for a
customer to park in an off-street car park rather than park on-street. This change is in
line with the Council’s policy to encourage high turnover of on-street car parking spaces
in the town centre, allowing a greater number of people to utilise the most convenient
parking spaces for short trips into town for shopping.
5. Operational Performance
5.1 Public Consultations
The Council ensures that all representations for changes to parking provision are
considered on merit. Likewise, all major changes to parking services in the area are
comprehensively consulted upon. All of the current and potential future extensions to
the CEA area have resulted from community representations regarding perceived
parking conflicts in specific localities. Each representation received is considered and
additional preliminary information sought to verify the likely extent of the parking
problem. Where there is considerable vocal support for change, or obvious safety
issues, then a more formal process of assessment is undertaken.

The recent proposal for extending the CEA into the Black Tom area was as a direct
result of local representation from residents.

For any extensions to the CEA area a two-staged consultation process is undertaken.
An initial consultation seeks to understand the issues and opportunities surrounding
parking in the specified area. A more detailed consultation exercise is then undertaken
to present and seek feedback on specific scheme proposals. The results of each
consultation process were presented to the Joint Parking Board (JPB) in order for
elected members to understand the views of the community before deciding whether, or
how, to take a scheme forward.

Detailed consultation on the proposed new Zone K was presented to the JPB during
2008. The Board concluded that there was strong support for the scheme and has
subsequently given it provisional approval, subject to formal objections.

5.2 Customer satisfaction surveys


An off-street car park customer survey was conducted in October 2007, asking
customers several questions about seven car parks (all but Duckmill Lane car park).
The questions asked were:
• How often do you use this car park?
• For what purpose do you use this car park?
• How do you rate the standard of this car park?
• How does this car park compare to other car parks that you use?
• How do you rate the helpfulness of the car park staff?

In terms of frequency, all car parks displayed varied responses, most of which ranged
from daily to weekly to weekend only. Only St Peter’s Street has a significant of
responses (50%) saying they used the car park occasionally.

In terms of purpose, customers used the following car parks for shopping: Allhallows,
Lurke Street, Riverside Square, and River Street. Melbourne Street and Queen Street
were primarily used for workplace parking. St Peter’s Street car park was used most for
appointment and social purposes.

In terms of ratings, the highest ranking car park was River Street, with 64% of
customers giving it an ‘excellent rating’, the only car park which received a majority vote
in that category. This was followed by Melbourne Street, which received a ‘very good’
rating from 59% of customers. Lurke Street received a ‘very good’ rating by 55%. After
this came Queen Street, with 41% of customers giving it a ‘good’ rating (and 32% rating
it as ‘excellent’). Around 60% gave Riverside Square a ‘good’ rating (but only 10% gave
it an ‘excellent’ rating). The second to last was St Peter’s Street which received 50% of
responses as ‘good’ (and 25% as ‘fair’). The worst rated car park was Allhallows, which
received a ‘poor’ rating by 54% of customers, and, unlike all the others, it received not a
single ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ vote. This car park will, however, be replaced as part of
a wider redevelopment programme.

Comparing the car parks to each other, clear majorities voted firstly River Street, Lurke
Street and Melbourne Street as being better than other car parks used. Queen Street
and Riverside Square received nearly equal amount of votes for better or same as other
car parks. St Peter’s Street was described as being the same as other car parks by
65%, and lastly Allhallows was judged as being worse than other car parks by 73% of
customers.

Staff helpfulness was voted highest at River Street, with 84% stating it was excellent.
This was followed by Lurke Street, where 50% of people gauged helpfulness as being
excellent. At Queen Street, the largest proportion (41%) stated it was very good. And
lastly again, the largest amount of people (35%) stated helpfulness was good at
Allhallows. This data was not obtained at Melbourne Street, Riverside Square and St
Peter’s Street.

Some additional comments regarding the car parks were also provided. For Allhallows,
it was noted that the stairwells were very smelly and dirty, the doors were too heavy and
that a speed ramp was needed. According to some customers, Queen Street could be
cleaner. For Riverside Square a comment was made that the disabled bays are rarely
available. For River Street, a request was made for more disabled bays. The lifts could
also be better and the lift floors cleaner.

6. Statistical Information
6.1 Total Penalty Charge Notices
The total Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) totals for the year April 2008 to March 2009 can
be found in the Table 2 below.

Table 2: Total Penalty Charge Notices Issued


Type Number Percentage
Number of higher level PCNs 7,997 35.9%
Number of lower level PCNs 14,289 64.1%
Total 22,286 100%

Overall this demonstrates that there were nearly twice as many lower level PCNs as
higher level ones (64.1% versus 35.9%), indicating that the majority of contraventions
were for contraventions such as exceeding time limits for parking or parking incorrectly,
rather than for parking in an unlawful location.
Table 3 below presents a breakdown of the on-street PCN data for the same time
period. Firstly this indicates that 79% of PCNs that were issued were for on-street
parking. This suggests that a far greater proportion of contraventions occur on-street
than within off-street car parks.

Table 3: On-street Penalty Charge Notices


Type of penalty charge Total Percentage
(Apr 08 - Mar 09
)
Zig Zag: Parking on a zig zag line 171 1.0%
Yellow Lines: Parking on yellow lines 4,088 23.2%
Wrong Parking in a bay designated for 368 2.1%
Class: another vehicle class
Suspended: Parking in suspended bay 15 0.1%
Overstay: Overstaying the paid for parking time 3,121 17.7%
Overstay Overstaying the free parking time 90 0.5%
Free:
Out of Bay: Parking outside of the bay 412 2.3%
Footway: Parking on the footway 46 0.3%
No Permit: Parking without a permit 1,877 10.7%
No P&D: Parking without a Pay & Display 4,543 25.8%
ticket
Meter Feed: Parking without feeding the meter 2 0.0%
Loading Bay: Parking in a loading bay 632 3.6%
Loading Ban: Parking in a loading ban area 1,068 6.1%
Disabled: Parking in a disabled bay 1,149 6.5%
Bus Stop: Parking in a bus stop 35 0.2%
Total 17,617 100.0%

Table 3 also indicates that the highest number of on-street penalty notices resulted from
parking without a Pay & Display ticket (25.8%), followed by parking on yellow lines
(23.2%) and overstaying the pre-paid time (17.7%).

An analysis of the monthly trends for the categories with the highest proportions of
contraventions (those greater than 2.5%), shown in Figure 1, identifies some distinct
variations across the year.
Figure 1 Monthly Profile of Major PCN Contraventions

The category with the largest variation is parking on yellow lines. As can be seen in the
figure below, the amount jumps significantly from October to November and then
steadily declines again across the winter months.

Parking without a permit also shows some variation, though not as numerous as the
previous category. Here the numbers decline drastically from August through to
October, then peak again in December and fall again thereafter.

Parking in a loading ban area shows a general trend across the year. Numbers are
lowest from February to May and then steadily increase to September after which they
steadily decline again.

Unauthorised parking in disabled bays also shows a trend. Numbers peak in November
and December, fall to their lowest point in February and then begin to rise again fairly
steadily across the year.

In the category parking in a loading bay, there are two significant peaks throughout the
year, one of which is in July and the other is in December. The two lowest periods are in
September and even lower in February/March.

6.2 Payment of Penalty Charge Notices


Table 4 presents a breakdown of all the PCNs issued (both on and off-street) by
whether they were paid, cancelled or appealed.
Table 4: Payment and Appeal of Penalty Charge Notices Issued
Type Number Percentage
Paid in full within 14 days 10,478 47.0%
Paid in full after 14 days before NTO 2,677 12.0%
Paid in full after NTO before Charge Cert. 1,005 4.5%
Paid in full after Charge Cert. before Debt 283 1.3%
Registration
Paid in full after Debt Registration before Warrant 204 0.9%
Paid in full after Warrant 188 0.8%
Cancelled before NTO issued 4,096 18.4%
Cancelled after NTO issued 218 1.0%
Cancelled after Charge Cert. issued 105 0.5%
Cancelled after Debt Registration issued 49 0.2%
Cancelled after Warrant issued 77 0.4%
Appeals to TPT 47 0.2%
Appeals Dismissed 22 0.1%
Appeals Not Contested 9 0.01%
Challenged 5,299 23.8%
Represented 1,089 4.9%
Total 22,286 100%

The data shows that nearly half (47%) of those who received a PCN paid it in full within
14 days. In total, 66.6% of people paid in full. A total of 18.4% of PCNs were cancelled
before an NTO was issued and in total the proportion cancelled was 20.4%.

In total, 23.9% of PCNs were challenged and 5% of PCNs had additional


representations.

7. Financial Information
The following sections summarise the income and expenditure of parking in Bedford,
first for off-street parking (both fee earning and non fee earning), followed by on-street
parking.

7.1 Off-street car parks (fee earning)


The income and expenditure from fee earning off street parking can be found in Table 5
below. Overall, there is a net surplus of £151,392.
Table 5: Off-street car park (fee earning) – Financial Summary
Income £
Fees & Charges 1,939,554
Season Tickets 462,453
Penalty Charge Notices 106,847
Contribution from DSD 1,212
Total Income 2,510,067

Expenditure £
Premises 1,558,272
Supplies & Services 134,377
CSD Management Fee 526,726
Bedford Design Group Fees 33,903
Central Support 105,397
Total Expenditure 2,358,675

Net Surplus 151,392

7.2 Off-street car park (non fee-earning)


The income and expenditure from the non fee earning off street car parks can be found
in Table 6 below. Due to the absence of any revenue generation there is an overall net
deficit of £45,361.

Table 6: Off-street car park (non fee earning) – Financial Summary


Income £
Contribution from DSD 205
Total Income 205

Expenditure £
Premises 39,789
Bedford Design Group Fees 100
Central Support 5,677
Total Expenditure 45,566

Net Deficit 45,361

7.3 On-street parking


The income and expenditure from the on street parking can be found in Table 7 below.
The largest proportion of income comes from fees. The greatest expenses are the
management fees (£488,401.84 or 34.6%), salaries (£311,999.82 or 22.2%), and
contributions to reserves and equipment fund (£191,900 or 13.6%).
Table 7: On-street car park (fee earning) – Financial Summary
Income £ Percentage
Recharge to Internal Departments 91,268 6.6
Fee Income 1,290,631 93.4
Total Income 1,381,899 100

Expenditure £ Percentage
Finance & Resources 83,280 5.9
Contribution to Reserves and Equipment Fund 191,900 13.6
Bedford Design Group Fees 55,965 4.0
Miscellaneous Insurance and Expenditure 1,411 0.1
IT Equipment 33,599 2.4
Telephone, Postage and Trade Refuse 11,181 0.8
Management Fee 488,402 34.6
Various fees (arbitration, cash collection, etc) 39,155 2.8
Court and Legal Fees 11,861 0.8
Stationary and Printing 25,581 1.8
Purchase/Maintenance of Equipment and Furniture 101,028 7.2
Transport (car allowances and public transport) 4,016 0.3
Insurance, cleaning and maintenance 10,412 0.7
Sewerage, water, gas, electricity and NNDR 8,479 0.6
Rent 27,500 2.0
Employers insurance, medical certificates and training 3,061 0.2
Salaries 312,000 22.1

Total Expenditures 1,411,416 100

Deficit Charged to Appropriate Account 29,517

Overall expenditure exceeded income for the year by nearly £30,000, after a £50,000
contribution was made to the Park and Ride service.

Table 8 presents the overall balance sheet for the on-street parking account. It can be
seen that in addition to the net deficit on the appropriate account, a contribution of
£50,000 was paid to the Elstow Park and Ride scheme. Despite these two net
expenditures, the overall balance on the account, as of 31st March 2009, was around
£65,000. This is due to the opening balance on the account of around £145,000.

Table 8: On-street car park (fee earning) – Balance Sheet


Appropriation Account £
Brought Forward 1 April 2008 144,510
Deficit -29,517
Contribution to Elstow Park & Ride -50,000

Balance 31 March 2009 64,993


Appendix A
Maps of the areas covered by the CEA
ZONE B ZONE A
ZONE D ZONE C
ZONE F ZONE E
ZONE H ZONE G
ZONE J
Appendix B
Locations of off-street car parks around Bedford Town Centre
Appendix C
Contraventions for on-street and off-street parking
CONTRAVENTION CODES
CAR PARKS

LEVEL OF
CODE DESCRIPTION
CHARGE

Using a vehicle in a parking place in connection with the sale


74 £70
or offering or exposing for sale of goods when prohibited

80 Parked for longer than the maximum period permitted £50

82 Parked after the expiry of paid for time £50

Parked in a car park without clearly displaying a valid pay &


83 £50
display ticket or voucher or parking clock

86 Parked beyond the bay markings £50

Parked in a designated disabled person’s parking place without


87 displaying a valid disabled person’s badge in the prescribed £70
manner

93 Parked in car park when closed £50


CONTRAVENTION CODES
ON-STREET
LEVEL OF
CODE DESCRIPTION
C H A R GE

01 Parked in a restricted street during prescribed hours £70


Parked or loading/unloading in a restricted street where waiting and
02 £70
loading/unloading restrictions are in force
05 Parked after the expiry of paid for time £50

06 Parked without clearly displaying a valid pay & display ticket or voucher £50

07 Parked with payment made to extend the stay beyond initial time £50

16 Parked in a permit space without displaying a valid permit £70


Using a vehicle in a parking place in connection with the sale or offering or
18 £70
exposing for sale of goods when prohibited
21 Parked in a suspended bay or space or part of bay or space £70

22 Re-parked in the same parking place or zone within one hour* of leaving £50

23 Parked in a parking place or area not designated for that class of vehicle £70

24 Not parked correctly within the markings of the bay or space £50

25 Parked in a loading place during restricted hours without loading £70


Parked in a special enforcement area more than 50 cm from the edge of the
26 £70
carriageway and not within a designated parking place
30 Parked for longer than permitted £50
Parked in a designated disabled person’s parking place without displaying a
40 £70
valid disabled person’s badge in the prescribed manner
45 Parked on a taxi rank £70

46 Stopped where prohibited (on a red route or clearway) £70

47 Stopped on a restricted bus stop or stand £70

48 Stopped in a restricted area outside a school when prohibited £70


Parked with one or more wheels on or over a footpath or any part of a road other
62 £70
than a carriageway
99 Stopped on a pedestrian crossing or crossing area marked by zigzags £70