Karen Bain raised a number of queries regarding car parking in Blandford in last week’s BVM. Cllr Val Pothecary, Cabinet Member responsible for car parking at North Dorset District Council, responds:
Off-street car parking is the responsibility of North Dorset District Council while on-street parking is the responsibility of Dorset County Council.
We have a range of car parks across the District, some are large, like the Marsh & Ham and others are very small. Some are long stay car parks, some are short stay while yet others are free to park, such as the Stour Meadows car park in Blandford which has been free to park since 1 August this year.
The minimum payment in car parks has been 35p for 30 minutes and all parking meters are set to accept 5p coins. However, North Dorset District Council recently announced changes to the payment system to dispense with the unpopular 35p fee. Some car parks (Langton Road and Eagle House Gardens) will reduce in price to 30p for 30 minutes while others, (Church Lane and Marsh & Ham) will increase to 40p for 30 minutes.
The Council is in the process of re-wording all the signage in the car parks to reflect the revised pricing.
Ms Bain also asked whether parking meters could be converted to accept phone payments. Pay by phone has been available in North Dorset car parks since the spring of 2011 so Ms Bain does not have to ensure she has the right change and she can even top up her parking fee, if necessary, without returning to the car.
Another initiative is the Shopping Permit, which will soon be available. Once purchased it can be used in all North Dorset towns and will also do away with the necessity of carrying the right change.
As far as enforcing parking regulations are concerned, North Dorset District Council uses the Civil Enforcement Service provided by Dorset County Council and the Enforcement Officers are often to be seen in and around the market towns of North Dorset.
Cllr Val Pothecary