“[We] need to protect the usage of car parks in south Reading for bona fide users, and increasingly they are being abused by non-leisure users,” said Councillor Tony Page (Labour) at the traffic management committee on 11 January. He added that leisure centre car parks in the town were being used as a free park and ride for commuters.
“I don’t want leisure users to think that when they use their Reading sport and leisure membership, they’ll have to pay,” said Councillor Sarah Hacker (Labour). Councillor Page added that some leisure centres already offered free parking to their users, and this would not be affected.
Councillor Page recommended changes to the original proposal. He asked for parking to be free of charge at south Reading’s Academy sport for up to two hours, with a 50p extra charge for each hour up to £3, which would allow 12 hours parking. 24 hours parking would cost £6.
“This is the basis for consultation, not a final decision,” said Councillor Page.
Councillor Ed Hopper (Conservative) suggested that parking restrictions in surrounding areas should be finalised before new charges are brought in, otherwise overnight car-parkers may choose to leave their cars in surrounding roads instead.
The council voted to proceed with the consultation. Councillor Rob White (Green) voting against, because he thought there should have been a more informal consultation to determine public opinions before the statutory consultation proposed by the council.
- Traffic management sub-committee 11 January and webcast [south Reading car park charges starts at 2:00:00]
- Off-street parking management at leisure sites [PDF]
- Reading sport and leisure
- Academy Sport