Parking Charges at Wythall Park: Do You Agree?

Last Saturday the twice yearly Wythall Community Association newsletter was delivered. Inside the newsletter was an announcement stating that there are to be parking charges introduced.

The rates are:
Up to 2 hours - 50p
2 to 4 hours -  £1.00
All day - £2.00



There is a grace time of 10-15 minutes. The charges are operational from Monday to Friday 6am to 5pm. On a Saturday they're from 6am until noon and there are no charges on a Sunday.

Members of WCA are exempt from the parking charges.

We contacted Wythall Community Association for a comment and they released this statement:
"A survey was completed on the car park and it was found that approximately 75% of the park users were not members of the Association, thereby, not providing any funding towards the maintenance of the park.



"Many park users think the park is a council park. It is not, it is funded through such things as membership and the hire of facilities including function rooms and field hire.

"The funding received for such items as the exercise equipment now around the park was decided on by Bromsgrove Council, however funds did not come from the council, it was funding from housing development in the area. Whilst such things as the play areas are welcome facilities, it has increased the running costs of the park as maintenance is now down to WCA.

"Equipment is ageing and costs are increasing. Diesel costs continue to rise as does the cost of keeping tractors running, all of which needs funding.



"We have managed to secure grant funding previously, but this has been for capital expenditure, such as updating the changing rooms. This has resulted in more football teams hiring facilities which will bring in much needed funds, however it has not been possible to secure external funding towards the general running of the park, other than a very welcome £1k donation from the Dumbreck Charity and trustee loans.

"We don't want to lose the park, but if we want it to stay the trustees need to consider all sources of revenue and car parking would ensure all park users contribute to its future.



We are still in the early stages of actually rolling out the proposal, but once decided we hope it will move forward quickly."

It seems logical that to park on a private car park you have to pay, and the prices are very reasonable considering how much parking is in most shopping centres or even university campuses.



But many park users are angry about the charges, going as far as saying they'd park on Silver Street to avoid paying the charges.

The bottom line is the park needs funding from somewhere, park users cannot expect the park to be maintained when there is no money to do so.

What do you think? Do you think this was a good way to raise funds or should they have some something different? Leave a comment below!

Comments

  1. Include people by putting on events and activities they're interested in rather than exclude people by charging and using the word private. Private is a misnomer anyway, it's a community asset held in trust. Revenue from the levy on council tax gives more funding than membership fees do according to the last accounts so it's time the park reflected the needs of the community rather than real ale supping dog enthusiasts

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  2. Dear Wythall News

    I do not believe parking fees are the answer and they should NOT be introduced. This is why.
    Wythall Park occupies an enviable prime central location in Wythall, with extensive parking and 37 acres, lots of space to host festivals, Craft fayres, Antique Fayres and other similar money making events. Wythall House is a lovely Georgian ‘farmhouse’ incorporating a large bar, function room and meeting rooms with a patio and grounds on the front. Park Hall is probably the largest purpose built function room in Wythall – in the past there were long waiting list to book the function rooms for weddings and other celebrations. Substantial sums of ‘public’ money have been spent on enhancing Wythall Park, paying for new paths, outdoor gym equipment, refurbing changing rooms plus Parish Council grants helping with the general running costs. Most businesses would be delighted to own a potential ‘gold mine’ like Wythall Park.

    As far back as 2012 the Wythall Community Association indicated they were experiencing fiscal problems along with declining membership. Since then many sensible, practical business suggestions and ideas have been proffered by various people with the best of intent. More often than not the WCA response has been ‘can’t do’ rather than ‘can do’. There also seems to be a lack of transparency when it comes to some of the inner workings of the park and club.

    Other ‘hospitality’ businesses in the area are thriving – the ‘new’ Monsoon bar now a preferred place to pop in from a social drink, CafĂ© Bean 47 is flourishing. Venues like the Hollywood Golf Club and the Woodbourne Sports Club amongst others have now become the ‘go to’ venues for weddings and celebration parties. How often do you hear locals saying they wish there was more choice, more to do in Wythall – especially for young families with children. We have even seen new bars open - Funky Golf Place being an example. Local customers are out there, spending their money when offered an ‘experience’ they are looking for. Customer expectations have changed over the years – sadly the WCA do not seem to have recognised, understood or embraced those changes. The consequences of this now seem evident. Parking charges looking very much like a last chance saloon - just plastering over the cracks and could even alienate people in Silver St and current park users?

    Surely cost saving needs to be looked at as a priority – it is what all businesses do when the chips are down. Figures recently published on Facebook indicate the WCA pay out around £13,000 a MONTH in wages yet the facilities, function rooms and club hardly ever seem to be open. Word is the club is ‘dead’ most nights now. Please correct me if I am wrong but that equates to around 60% of the parks total running costs! Most modern businesses operate on a wage bill of 10% - 20% of the total running costs and are often dependent on profit performance. Perhaps there is good reason for the 60% - it would be interesting to hear.

    The community of Wythall want to see the park and club flourish. The volunteers do a sterling job and the WCA also provides local employment which is important however it is evident from social media and general conversations on the ‘street’ that local residents are becoming increasingly frustrated by the WCA’s apparent reluctance to implement change and exploit the unique business advantages they enjoy . Most importantly to offer the Wythall Community a fit for purpose facility that meets modern expectations.

    The root cause of the current predicament is pretty common knowledge (that’s also evident from the FB comments etc.) and the solutions obvious. Implementing a new business plan will inevitably involve some pain but if that is what it takes to provide the people of Wythall the thriving community centre and park they deserve now and for the future – with FREE parking – it will be well worth the effort. Why would they not? Heres to a great future for the WCA.

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