Council considers multi-storey car park to boost Oakham trade

Parking
Parking

A multi-storey car park is one of the options being considered by Rutland County Council in an attempt to boost trade in Oakham.

The council confirmed that it was in early discussions about the possibility of a building a multi-storey on the existing Westgate car park.

This is one of a number of options being considered to increase the parking options in the town and attract more shoppers and visitors.

The council’s portfolio holder for environment and transport Martyn Pocock (Con) said: “The council is looking at a number of ways to improve parking in Oakham for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses.

“The construction of a multi-storey car park on the present Westgate car park is a long-term possibility as parking demand increases. This is an idea in the early stages of discussion and has not been subject to any feasibility work.”

The idea of a multi-storey came to light after a meeting between the council and Oakham Town Partnership. The partnership, which includes Oakham retailers, is keen to find a solution to parking problems in the 
town.

Many business owners say visitors are put off by either a lack of spaces or strict restrictions.

Partership chairman Alf Dewis, who is also an Oakham town councillor, said a multi-storey car park would be an asset to the town.

“Although the county council says we have about 75 per cent car park occupancy we do seem to be a little light of spaces at certain times,” he added.

“Anything like that would be of great benefit.”

The partnership raised a number of other issues and ideas at the recent meeting with the county council. One concern was the council’s plan to remove the 30 minute and one hour tariffs from the its off-street car parks, meaning the first hour would be free, and increase the charges for longer stays.

Mr Dewis said: “We couldn’t see the logic behind that because people rush in and rush out.”

The partnership suggested pay-on-exit barriers as an alternative solution. It will put its own proposals to the county council in the new year.

The council has agreed to lift charges for its car parks during Small Business Saturday when people can park for free from 10am on December 6.

Mr Dewis will ask traders after the event whether free parking had made a difference to footfall in the town.