Breckland Council is set to carry out a new survey of its public car parks to ensure they continue to meet drivers’ needs and support local market towns to thrive.

The work is part of the council’s scheduled review of these public amenities and will help identify any shifts in usage patterns, particularly since the pandemic, the rise of remote working in some industries, and changes in people’s shopping and leisure habits. The council last carried out a survey of its car parks in 2016.

The survey will see the temporary installation of number plate recognition cameras at the entrance and exits of the council’s 32 car parks across Dereham, Swaffham, Watton, Thetford and Attleborough while the work is carried out. This is expected to run for around 4-6 weeks from late June.

The cameras will gather information about which car parks are most used, and identify the peak times of demand and typical parking durations. However, the details of drivers, where cars are registered, or other travel activity will not be collected by the council.

The information will then be combined with feedback from previous public parking consultations to inform whether any changes in car parking provisions need to be made to help meet demand or increase daily usage to support local businesses. This could include bringing Breckland’s car parks to be more in-line with parking facilities in neighbouring districts, such as designating some as short or long-stay parking solutions, considering alternative approaches to the management of car parking, reviewing the number of car parking spaces available, and considering whether any car parks need further maintenance and development to benefit its users.

Cllr Paul Hewett, Breckland Council’s Executive Member for Property, Projects, and Procurement, commented: “We have previously made changes to some of our car parks in Swaffham and Attleborough in response to local needs, identifying that increased churn in spaces was beneficial to shoppers and businesses alike.  We continue to listen to feedback from the public, town councils and our other partners about how our approach to car parking can best support our towns and surrounding areas.

“This latest study will give us up-to-date information about how residents and visitors currently use the council’s range of car parks and help inform plans for the long-term growth, development and regeneration of the district’s town centres. Ultimately, we want to ensure our future public car parking provision continues to meet the needs of residents, businesses, taxpayers, and visitors, and that our towns continue to thrive.”

Following the car park surveys this summer, Breckland Council members are expected to consider the findings later in the year.

(Source: Breckland)