Swanage on-street parking charges set to go up

The cost of parking in Station Road and Shore Road is to increase, along with Dorset Council owned car parks in Wareham and Corfe Castle, if Dorset Council’s plans to streamline parking charges are approved by councillors.

The change follows the abolition of district councils including Purbeck District Council which used to set parking charges. Now it’s the responsibility of Dorset Council and it wants one policy to cover all areas.

The proposals will go to the Dorset Council Place and Resources Overview committee at 10 am on Tuesday 19th October 2021. If agreed, the policy will then go to full council for approval before being formally adopted.

Pay machine on Shore Road

The pay machine on Shore Road in Swanage

A single policy on parking charges

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 Swanage, this policy only affects on-street parking in Station Road and Shore Road as the car parks in Swanage are owned by Swanage Town Council and the charges are set separately.

A levelling up rather than a levelling down

In Station Road, the main difference will be a minimum time of up to 30 minutes rather than 15 minutes, meaning drivers won’t be able to pay 20p to pop into a shop but will have to pay a minimum of £1 for up to 30 minutes.

A flat rate for all year round is proposed for all on-street parking, scrapping the cheaper low season rates.

This will have the biggest impact on Shore Road where in the low season, drivers currently pay £1.20 for up to 10 hours to park on the seafront. It’s proposed that up to 10 hours will be £12 all year round.

However Dorset Council has yet to decide the duration of time that vehicles can be parked on Shore Road and may opt to make it short stay only. This may mean that visitors will only be able to park all day in car parks or on roads with no parking restrictions.

Cars parked on Station Road

On-street parking in Station Road in Swanage

“Helps to keep town centres clear of traffic

In the report it says:

“ On-street charges are higher than car park charges to encourage drivers into car parks in accordance with the local transport plan.

“This helps to keep town centres clear of traffic and thus assists in the safety of active transport users, it also supports Dorset Council’s economic growth and climate change agenda.

“Additionally, it helps to keep on-street parking spaces clear for Blue Badge holders.”

In Swanage, Dorset Council’s policy of encouraging drivers into car parks may be to the financial benefit of the town, as it’s likely to boost the numbers of vehicles parking in the Swanage Town Council owned car parks.

Cars parked on Station Road

The main shopping area in Swanage is Station Road

Station Road (shopping area: level 2)

Current charges

High season 1st April to 31st October

  • Up to 15 minutes – 20p
  • Up to 30 minutes – 70p
  • Up to 1 hour – £1.40

Low season 1st November to 31st March

  • Up to 15 minutes – 20p
  • Up to 30 minutes – 40p
  • Up to 1 hour – 80p

Proposed charges

All year round

  • Up to 15 minutes – not available
  • Up to 30 minutes – £1
  • Up to 1 hour – £1.50
Cars parked at Swanage seafront

Parking with a sea view on Shore Road in Swanage

Shore Road (beach area: level 3)

Current charges

High season 1st April to 31st October

  • Up to 1 hour – £2
  • Up to 2 hours – £3.50
  • Up to 4 hours – £6.50
  • Up to 10 hours – £8
  • Overnight – 60p

Low season 1st November to 31st March

  • Up to 10 hours – £1.20
  • Overnight – 60p

Proposed charges

Maximum duration of parking may not extend to all day parking as currently allowed. It could be capped to only allow short stay parking but the duration has yet to be decided.

All year round

  • Up to 30 minutes – £1.50
  • Up to 1 hour – £2.50
  • Up to 2 hours – £3.50 (staying the same in high season)
  • Up to 3 hours – £4.50
  • Up to 4 hours – £6.00 (cheaper by 50p in high season)
  • Up to 10 hours – £12
  • Overnight – 60p

Dorset Council owned car parks

The new parking charge policy will also affect Dorset Council owned car parks in Corfe Castle and Wareham.

It’s proposed to introduce three levels of charges. Corfe Castle has been put in level 3 for tourist destinations with seasonal variations, although Purbeck Park car park in nearby Norden is proposed to be level 2, so there will be no high season charges. Wareham has been put in level 2 for shopping destinations.

West Street car park in Corfe Castle

West Street car park in Corfe Castle

What’s proposed in Corfe Castle?

Dorset Council is proposing significant price increases in the West Street car park, however the high season prices will start a month later in April as opposed to March.

While Corfe Castle Parish Council requested for allowances to be made for people visiting the doctor’s surgery, there is no specific concession for patients in the proposed policy.

However, those who visit the surgery regularly or for longer periods may purchase an annual £78 residents permit that allows drivers to park for two hours in the majority of Dorset Council’s short stay car park, including West Street car park.

The Purbeck Park car park in Norden, originally designed as a park and ride car park for Corfe Castle and Swanage, will see its current all year round day rate of £3.50, rise to £6 if the proposals go ahead.

This may act as a disincentive to parking the car and then taking the heritage railway or bus to visit tourist attractions. Swanage Railway, among others, have questioned the wisdom of including this car park within the proposed simplified charging structure.

West Street car park

Current charges

High season 1st March to 31st October

  • Up to 30 minutes – 50p
  • Up to 3 hours – £3.10
  • Up to 4 hours – £4.20
  • More than 4 hours – £5.30
  • Overnight 6 pm to 8 am – free

Low season 1st November to 29th February

  • Up to 30 minutes – 50p
  • Up to 3 hours – £1.60
  • Up to 4 hours – £2.10
  • More than 4 hours – £2.60
  • Overnight 6 pm to 8 am – free

Proposed charges

High season 1st April to 31st October

  • Up to 30 minutes – £1
  • Up to 1 hour – £2
  • Up to 2 hours – £3
  • Up to 3 hours – £4
  • Up to 4 hours – £5.00
  • Up to 10 hours – £10

Low season 1st November to 31st March

  • Up to 30 minutes – 50p
  • Up to 1 hour – £1
  • Up to 2 hours – £1.50
  • Up to 3 hours – £2.20
  • Up to 4 hours – £3.50
  • Up to 10 hours – £6
Cars parked on Wareham Quay

Dorset Council proposes to change the cost of parking at Wareham Quay

What’s proposed in Wareham?

All the car parks in Wareham owned by Dorset Council will see a new scale of charges introduced. Generally prices will increase in the short stay car parks but not as much as in other parts of Dorset, with some charges staying the same.

In the long stay car parks like Connegar Lane car park, the current all day charge is £3.50 but under the new scheme, it could rise to £6.

Proposed charges

All year round

Short stay car parks

  • Up to 30 minutes – 50p
  • Up to 1 hour – £1
  • Up to 2 hours – £1.50
  • Up to 3 hours – £2.20
  • Up to 4 hours – £3.50

Long stay car parks

  • Up to 4 hours – £3.50
  • Up to 10 hours – £6
Bonnets Lane car park in Wareham

Dorset Council car park in Bonnets Lane in Wareham

Dorset Council car park permits for residents

To offset the overall increase in charges for residents, Dorset Council is proposing to introduce two permits for those who use its car parks regularly.

Pop and Shop car park permit

This allows the holder to park in the majority of short stay car parks across the whole of the Dorset Council area for 2 hours every day of the week. It can be purchased annually for £78 a year.

Live, Work and Play car park permit

This can be used in the majority of long stay and short stay car parks across the whole of the Dorset Council area. The proposed price for the long stay car park permit is £260 a year or £25 a month including an administration fee if paid monthly. Holders must sign-up to this permit for a minimum of three months.

Further information

The parking policy document, Phase 2 Parking Charges Transformation
Project is on the Dorset Council website

Go to the agenda of the Place and Resources Overview Committee at 10 am on Tuesday 19th October 2021 to get the link to watch the meeting via Microsoft Teams

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