What Bracknell Thinks: Will parking charges drive people away from leisure spots?By Laura Herbert
September 14, 2012
Bracknell Forest Council’s executive committee has agreed to enforce parking charges at The Look Out Discovery Centre and Coral Reef despite concerns raised by statutory consultee Natural England and members of the public.
From Monday parking will cost £2 for up to four hours or £4 for a full day.
We asked our panel what they thought of the charges and how it might affect them.
Hazel Kent, owner of Bracknell Market Cafe: “I can’t say I do use these car parks but I know many who do. If charges were to be levied then I believe the facilities would be used by many less than they are now.
“It is not like they are situated in a place where you can leave your car and walk to them.
“The roads around them are not particularly suitable if you have a family of children and so it would be a case of pay up or don’t go.
“It would be such a shame as it is hard enough as it is to run a car on a tight budget and I really do think it will put people off.
“It’s yet another example of the council jumping in before thinking or asking the public.”
Caroline Allain, from Forest Park: “When I was younger we used to go to The Look Out every weekend, walk the dog, and pop into the cafe for a cup of tea.
“I haven’t been for a few years as we don’t have the dog any more and I have had other commitments, but I always considered it as a good option for future, when we have children and if we ever get a dog as well.
“The parking charges are a bit of a deterrent and I feel more inclined to just use other areas of Swinley Forest for walking, where parking will be free.
“I think many other people will also feel the same way, but as there aren’t car parks provided, it means a lot more people will be parking along the roads and possibly disrupting traffic.
“If the scheme is a good, solid, long term investment and plans are being made around this then it doesn’t worry me so much that it could take years to break even.
“If, however, the machines are likely to need extensive maintenance within that time (for example) I don’t think it’s worth having extra expenditure before making any money.”
Bracknell blogger Darren Bridgman: “I use The Look Out car park most weekends as I go cycling there.
“I have a permit for this, some of these funds go to the council. So if they could cut that then I could accept the parking charges.
“It is a shame that it has come to this, but I’m not surprised.
“This reflects the fact that if you don’t increase council tax then other charges will be increased. Just like town parking.
“I imagine it could become difficult to park at Coral Reef because of these charges too.”