Coach/Lorry Park Geared up for Opening

By on 27/07/2011 in News

 

L or R: Varinder Rauli (Birmingham City Council – BCC), Cllr Timothy Huxtable (BCC), MEP Philip Bradbourn, David Bull (BCC) 

A new dedicated coach and lorry park, serving Birmingham city centre, is to open to hauliers and drivers, nearly ten years after the closure of the city's last such dedicated facility. 

With opening of the new site imminent, Cllr Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment and Regeneration at Birmingham City Council was on hand to review the new facility with local MEP Philip Bradbourn. 

The new secure park, at Brewery Street in the St George’s and St Chad’s, will provide 32 coach or lorry spaces, be monitored by CCTV and feature a rest room with hot and cold water, showers and toilets. 

Cllr Huxtable said: “There is little doubt that this facility is much needed in a city of Birmingham's size, stature and tourist appeal. A world-class city, deserves world-class facilities of this kind, if it is to truly give itself every chance of attracting big business and tour operators to visit, and with them significant investment and job creation.” 

Since the loss of the Masshouse Coach and Lorry Park in 2002, there has been no dedicated long stay coach or lorry parking facility for the City Centre except for limited non-secure coach parking spaces at some attractions and venues. 

The design of the facility has taken on board market intelligence on lorry parking collated by the DfT and the West Midlands Freight Quality Partnership, and coach parking information from Birmingham's main visitor attractions. 

The scheme will help to improve visits by coach to Birmingham and help to reduce pressure on limited on-street parking.  The City Council has already provided a number of coach set down and pick up points around the city centre.  The new facility will enable coaches to layover between dropping passengers off and picking them up.  It should also help to reduce unnecessary trips by coaches around the City Centre searching for parking.  

Research undertaken by Marketing Birmingham rated Birmingham as Poor/Very Poor with regard to dedicated long stay parking for coaches.  Coaches that require medium to long duration parking provision often end up parking in areas which are inappropriate after dropping off passengers, resulting in congestion, environmental and safety issues. 

It is estimated that some 20,000 coaches visit the City per annum bringing over 1 million people.  These visits are worth over £20.5 million to the City's economy. The facility will help to encourage more coach tour operators to come to Birmingham, boosting the City's growing tourism industry.  In 2010 the Frankfurt Christmas Market attracted at least 650 coaches during December.   

In addition to the economic impact, coaches offer environmental benefits by helping to reduce congestion and air pollution.  They help promote accessibility and social inclusion and are one of the safest modes of travel.  

In terms of lorry parking the introduction of drivers' hours restrictions which require drivers to take more frequent breaks, increases in lorry theft and curfew impositions has highlighted the lack of suitable off street lorry parking facilities in Birmingham. A study into Lorry Parking sponsored by the West Midlands Regional Assembly pressed for action by local authorities and the industry.  This research on future lorry parking demand has confirmed increasing demand but a shortage of suitable lorry parking facilities in the West Midlands especially Birmingham. In addition the Lorry Parking Baseline Report published by the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2009 identified Birmingham as one of the most difficult locations for lorries to park overnight. 

Security issues have been a key consideration in the design of the proposed facility. 40,000 truck crimes are recorded annually in England, with over £500 million worth of goods being stolen. Lack of secure parking for vehicles carrying hazardous loads has been identified by the DfT as contributing to the risk of terrorist activity. 

The coach park will cost £10 for up to 12 hours parking and £15 for 24 hours 

Comments from Haulage and Coach industry 

Phil Bateman MBE Regional Manager Confederation of Passenger Transport (West Midlands Region )  added 

 “ This is an important milestone in the recognition that coach operators and their customers make a huge contribution to the Local Economy of Birmingham City Centre. In a survey of just 14 of our West Midlands Members we discovered that in total they brought more than 1 million passengers into the City.  

Coaches are now 'plush and luxurious' with some of our members operating vehicles that cost more than £400,000 to buy. Their parking safety and their safe stabling is a must for Town's and Cities that want to take a share of the £1.2 billion that coach customers spend in the United Kingdom.  

These coaching vehicles are used by a wide variety of groups, from Premier League footballers, through to groups using facilities like Birmingham's sporting events, theatre, shopping, leisure events and conference attendance. 

We very much welcome this Birmingham City Council initiative, and commend other Cities and Towns to this type of approach”     

Gordon Telling, Freight Transport
Association’s Head of Policy for the Midlands, said:
 

“Truck drivers have a physically demanding job to do and are legally required to take rest breaks so they require well-appointed, overnight facilities like this latest one in Brewery Street which has taken advice and guidance from industry stakeholders to ensure it is fit-for-purpose. With the ever-present threat of truck theft from organised criminal gangs it is imperative that adequate protection is afforded in new lorry parks whatever their size and we welcome the use of CCTV and electronic gates here.” 

Quote from Jack Semple, director of policy, Road Haulage Association (RHA): 

“This is good news for the industry, because it meets an urgent need. Safe and secure rest areas are essential for truck drivers who must take regular breaks by law and in the interests of road safety,” RHA director  of policy Jack Semple said.  

 “Birmingham has been very poorly served in terms of suitable truck parking, with good driver facilities and also security - crime against the  industry is a serious problem, which we are discussing with the police and government.  

 “The RHA has worked closely with the West Midlands Freight Quality Partnership over the past few years to identity suitable sites.  We applaud Birmingham City Council for taking the issue seriously and hope  many more drivers will be able to rest easy,” Semple said. 

 

ENDS

  

 

 

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