Park and ride plans for Beverley dropped due to 'changing transport needs', home working and surplus of spaces

Councillors have scrapped plans for a park-and-ride in Beverley after being told there are already enough spaces in the town.

East Riding Council’s Cabinet voted to ditch the plans for the proposed 500-space park-and-ride today (Tuesday, March 19) after a report warned it would run at a loss.

Finance Portfolio Holder Cllr Nigel Wilkinson said times had moved on since it was proposed around 20 years ago but added an alternative use for the site should be found.

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But a report to the Cabinet stated all Beverley ward councillors still supported the park-and-ride and would not back plans to scrap it.

Beverley town centreBeverley town centre
Beverley town centre

The Cabinet was asked to decide whether it felt the facility, proposed off Minster Way as part of an agreement with a housing developer, was still considered value for money.

Under the agreement, the developer of a nearby housing estate would foot the bill for building the park-and-ride which was estimated at £2.5m in 2021.

It would then pass it on to the council for it to run, including meeting the operating costs and paying for three buses estimated to cost at least £180,000 each.

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The report stated that the facility would cost between an estimated £350,000 and £450,000 each year to run.

It added that given changes in demand with the rise in home working and cheaper alternatives closer to the town centre, it would have to be subsidised.

Councillors heard informal talks with private bus operators had taken place but there was no appetite from them to run it commercially.

They also heard that a three-week survey in July 2023 showed there was an average of 545 spaces free in Beverley every day, with the lowest number being 140.

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The Cabinet heard that for the park-and-ride to be competitive its proposed £6-a-day charge would either have to be cut or town centre prices would have to increase.

Parking charges are already set to rise to £8-a-day in East Riding town centres from April as part of Budget proposals approved in February.

Council Asset Manager Claire Hoskins said demand for parking in Beverley had changed significantly since the coronavirus pandemic.

She added forecast demand from council workers and East Riding College students and staff had dropped because of that and the multi-storey car park at Flemingate built in 2015.

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Ms Hoskins said: “When the scheme was first considered it was the right thing to do and it fitted the transport needs for the town and it would have solved a number of the challenges we had.

“Analysis shows this will be poor value for money, supply exceeds demand for parking in Beverley and human nature tells us that people will park as close as where they want to be as possible.

“There’s lots of strong feelings about this and a huge range of opinions, most of the people we’ve spoken to want the park-and-ride but they see the challenges that local authorities are facing financially.”

Finance Portfolio Holder Cllr Wilkinson said he was not sure parking levels would ever return to pre-pandemic levels, leading him to agree the plans were not worth pursuing.

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Cllr Wilkinson said: “We’re looking at a scheme that was developed 20 years ago, times have moved on.

“But I think residents deserve something for putting up with the large amount of development that’s taken place in the town.

“We should look at alternative uses for the site which would benefit Beverley residents rather than a park-and-ride scheme when it is more appropriate to do so.”

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