Speaking at the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee on 13 June Richard welcomed progress on agreeing a structure of incentives to persuade Brighton Road car park users to move to Gibson Road if the car park closes. Currently, Subsea7 are applying for planning permission to build a new international headquarters (see above) on the site.
Richard pointed out that this development will safeguard several hundred jobs currently in Sutton that were likely to move elsewhere, and bring a further three to four hundred jobs into Sutton South Ward. These new jobs are good news for Sutton.
This development will create jobs, not just for engineers but a range of less skilled jobs (clerks, receptionists, cleaners, messengers, drivers etc.). This site is surrounded by areas of social housing where we meet, in our casework, people who are out of work and whose lives would be transformed by finding work. Every day we open the newspaper and see news of more redundancies nationwide – but Richard and Heather can speak of securing an extra 300 plus jobs in our Ward. The development will also give an uplift to the area, the Gateway to Sutton from the south, with office workers and the company’s clients spending money in local shops, restaurants and hotels, creating further jobs.
But the second message is that to deal with local concerns about parking in local streets if the car park closes, we need to persuade the users of the Brighton Road car park to use the town centre car parks, which have the capacity. The average weekday demand at peak occupancy of the car park is about 380 vehicles and 320 have season tickets. So the season ticket holders are key.
The first and most important element in the strategy is a financial discount to persuade people to move. The discount proposed by the Committee, as a recommendation to the Strategy and Resources Committee, says to the season ticket holders “move to Gibson Road and you will pay, for the first year, what you paid last year less 10% – unless, you already have a discount, in which case it continues. This is to compensate you for the inconvenience of moving and to provide an incentive to move to Gibson Road”.
We hope this will persuade people to move, to a car park which is no more than seven minutes walk away.
The further element of the strategy is improvements in respect of signage to the car parks (including electronic signs indicating what number spaces are available) and improvements in access, in particular enabling those leaving Gibson Road to avoid the town centre one way system.
We hope this proposed substantial discount will achieve the right result, so that we will be able to secure the major advantage of the new jobs while coping with the reduction in parking space. The structure of discounts will, however, be further considered by the Strategy and Resources Committee.