Issue - meetings
Proposals for a workplace parking levy
Cllr Gant, Chair of the Scrutiny Committee presented the report.
Cllr Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning and Regulatory Services said the responses to the recommendations applied equally to congestion charges and workplace parking levies. He had only partly agreed to them as there is still a lot of work to do to decide how such schemes could work in practice. The revenue stream isn’t going to be as much as Nottingham’s as there are not very many work place parking spaces in Oxford.
The Board discussed the problems of residential parking and the benefits and negative effects of CPZs in the city.
The Scrutiny Committee has asked to consider the pros and cons of a proposed workplace parking levy for Oxford.
Why is it on the agenda?
For the Scrutiny Committee to consider emerging proposals for the introduction of a workplace parking levy in the city. The following documents are included:
· House of Commons Library: Workplace Parking Levy.
· Oxford Transport Strategy.
· Report to Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet on 22 November 2016.
Cllr Simmons, the Committee’s Lead Member has suggested the following lines of inquiry for this discussion:
· Have there been any developments since the county cabinet decision on 22 November to approve the development of an outline business case for a WPL and explore a possible congestion charging scheme by October 2017?
· Has any initial engagement been undertaken with businesses in the city about the proposed WPL?
· What are the key lessons from the WPL in Nottingham?
· What issues have been raised about the suitability of congestion charging for Oxford?
Who has been invited to comment?
· Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning and Regulatory Services.
· Martin Kraftl, Oxfordshire County Council.
· Stewart Wilson, Oxfordshire County Council.
Stewart Wilson from Oxfordshire County Council explained that the County’s cabinet had approved the work for a congestion charge and a workplace levy at its last meeting. Officers are at the pre-planning phase of the project and haven’t started engagement yet.
Nottingham City Council had used the money raised through a workplace levy to fund a tram system and connected bus service. Overall private vehicle numbers are down. Oxfordshire County Council has had a discussion with a previous director of Nottingham to understand issues.
Cllr Taylor asked how work place levies operate for people who need to take their car for work uses. Mr Wilson said that Nottingham’s levy has exemptions eg for hospital workers and places with fewer than 10 workers. Not sure yet whether Oxfordshire will have any exemptions.
Cllr Fry asked what the charge would be. Nottingham charges around £375 – £400 per space per year. Employers are liable for the change and it is up to them if they pass it onto their employees. Businesses only pay for spaces they use.
Cllr Henwood said he was concerned with people parking their car in Cowley and then catching the bus into the city. Would a city centre levy be followed up with a citywide CPZ? Mr Wilson said it was something to consider, the proposed levy was likely to be applicable to the whole of Oxford.
Cllr Chapman said that there will have to be significantly better public transport to convince people that a levy was a good idea.
Cllr Tanner said that if we do nothing parking and traffic jams will get worse. Its unlikely things will improve unless the County can bring in the levy to pay for the new schemes. eg high speed rapid buses.
We need to ask employers “do they want workers to come to work on time?” If yes, then they need to pay for dead space of car parks for more productive means. Businesses can avoid it by not providing car parking.
Cllr Fry asked if we could price variations by zones eg higher in city centre, than surrounds. Mr Wilson said it was worth considering, however businesses might move out of the city to surrounding areas to avoid the higher costs. This would mean the city could lose vitality.
Cllr Simmons asked why the County was looking at a workplace levy and not congestion charge. Mr Wilson said the County Council was looking at both. Initial report is that a congestion change wouldn’t have the same impact or benefits as a levy. A congestion charge costs a lot to run. The County’s focus is to raise money to improve transport links into city.
The Scrutiny Committee made the following recommendations to CEB
1. Encourage continued exploration of both a congestion charge and a workplace parking levy.
2. Welcomes the additional money that a levy charge would bring to improve the transport structures in the City
3. Need to manage the Impact on the surrounding areas of a levy scheme ... view the full minutes text for item 94