Car park at Norden escapes Dorset Council parking charge hike

Purbeck Park car park at Norden, developed to encourage visitors to take the train to Corfe Castle and Swanage rather than their car, has got a last minute reprieve from a big increase in parking charges.

It was revealed at the Dorset Council cabinet meeting on Monday 8th November 2021, that after lobbying from residents and Swanage Railway, it was not going to increase all day parking from £3.50 to £6 during the summer.

Cycle hire at Purbeck Park

Visitors to Purbeck Park are encouraged to continue their journey by train, foot or bike

Streamline fees across Dorset Council

As part of Dorset Council plans to streamline fees across its area in 2022, it would move Purbeck Park from level two to its new level one parking charges. This means that the all day charge will still increase but by a smaller amount to £4.

The move to create a single policy on parking charges across the Dorset Council area will, say Dorset Council, ensure equality for residents, as currently in some areas it’s free to park all day but others have to pay £9.

In many instances the new fee structure means that drivers will have to pay more.

Purbeck Park in Norden

It’s much easier to find a space at Purbeck Park than closer to the beach or Corfe Castle

“Add to the congestion, rather than relieve it”

Councillor Beryl Ezzard raised the issue of Purbeck Park and how increasing the cost would be counterproductive to Dorset Council’s own policy on reducing car usage. She said:

“The hike from £3.50 to £6 per day throughout the year is a big hike for a transport hub, rather than a destination in itself…

“Swanage Railway and local people think it is going to deter people from using the car park and is going to congest the road, the A351, through Corfe Castle to Swanage and therefore will add to the congestion, rather than relieve it .”

Steam train at Norden station

Currently Swanage Railway begins and ends its journeys at Norden Station

Surprise good news

Responding to her plea, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, councillor Ray Bryan was able to deliver some surprise good news.

He said that following a previous meeting, he went back to the parking services team to revisit the issue:

“We are proposing to amend Purbeck Park Norden from level two to level one and the rate will reduce from £6 per day to £4 a day, as we plan to introduce park and ride from there to try and avoid people driving into the main villages and towns and blocking them up.

“If we can keep people (parking) on the outskirts, it’s a benefit to everyone.”

Parking charges transformation project

The phase two proposals of the parking charges transformation project will now be voted on by Dorset Council’s full council.

Other measures include increasing the cost of on-street parking in Station Road and Shore Road in Swanage, along with a general increase in fees in Dorset Council owned car parks in Wareham and Corfe Castle.

Dorset Council’s next full council meeting is at 6.30 pm on Tuesday 14th December 2021, which can be watched online.

A link will be added to the agenda, a week before the meeting.

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