6-week consultation on parking in Luton set to start soon

The council will be consulting on its draft parking strategy
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A six-week public consultation is due to begin into Luton Borough Council’s draft parking strategy, as private vehicle ownership locally soars.

Luton has seen year-on-year growth during the last decade with about 86,400 of these vehicles registered in the town in 2023, according to a report to the local authority’s overview and scrutiny board.

This is a 16 per cent rise in ownership since 2013, increasing faster than the national average, said the report. The blueprint is being produced after a motion was presented to full council, with the consultation due to start this month and continue into April.

File photo of cars parked on a street.File photo of cars parked on a street.
File photo of cars parked on a street.

“Analysis of travel to work information in Luton indicates the majority of vehicle trips are to the town centre and the airport,” explained the report.

“There are significant opportunities to reduce car travel for shorter journeys by encouraging more residents to cycle, walk and use public or shared transport.

“Any implementation of parking management schemes will continue to follow the normal engagement process either with residents affected or on a wider basis across the town.”

LBC’s current parking and enforcement plan was adopted in 2013, with several measures introduced subsequently to manage and enforce parking and associated problems, added the report.

“These included introducing ‘red routes’ around Luton town centre and on Airport Way, a trial of traffic exclusion zones around six local schools, a scheme to seize and store illegally parked vehicles, and incremental increases in permit fees for households with more than one car.

“The strategy focuses on addressing footway and pavement parking issues, parking on streets near or outside schools, supporting detailed investigations into expansion of red routes and opportunities to improve enforcement operations.”

LBC’s strategy and sustainability service manager Shaun Askins said: “This captures the growing car ownership locally since the 2011 census, as we’re still driven by censuses as the primary reporting mechanism.

“The key policy areas are to reduce dependence on the private car, to promote active and sustainable travel across the town, improve health and reduce air pollution, while addressing Luton’s business needs and treating all residents equally.

“It also covers some of the town centre parking hotspots and managing on-street parking, as well as the impact of various developments on parking through the ebb and flow of sites.

“We’re encouraging sustainable travel and behaviour change, which links into active travel with the hip hop tickets for buses, car clubs, and promoting car and lift shares.”

Labour Challney councillor Basit Mahmood asked how the strategy mitigates against a loss of parking in Bute Street for The Stage development and at Power Court for the football stadium, which could make other town centre areas more congested.

“Bute Street car park is always packed and busy,” he warned. “We’ll lose a great deal of parking there.”

Mr Askins replied: “It’s part of the master plan of development improvements and investment. We’ve town centre parking which isn’t as popular, but it’s there.

“Much of that’s privately supplied, such as The Mall and the railway station. Our teams will work to provide sustainable transport options, which includes parking, but it may disappear or move.”