This post is a summary of what took place the “About Waterlooville” Facebook Page over the course of the last week or regarding the “3 hours free parking” and how residents responded to the “Small Business Saturday” so that our non-Facebook reader can have their say
Saturday 6th December 2014 was your opportunity to enjoy 3 FREE hours parking at ANY Havant Borough Council’s car parks – on the run up to Christmas it was part of the Small Business Saturday scheme as a mechanism to support small shops!
We were a bit disappointed on the feedback we’ve had via our Facebook Page (comments and direct messages) regarding the implementation of the free parking.
Free Parking – When is it?
The original blurb on the HBC website unfortunately omitted the date:
The website was updated on Friday 5th December with the date of the free parking. We pulled the photo above from our computer’s website history
The knock on effect is that the Facebook the summary/excerpt was misleading (the info in the box to the right of the Facebook logo) and some of our readers contacted us to tell us the free parking day was Friday 28th of November:
Publicity & Serving You Magazine
Publicity? Did you know about the campaign? We knew, but then we actively look for stories About Waterlooville, and indeed we did share the event on a number of occasions via our page. So the readers of our Facebook About Waterlooville will be better informed than most.
We’ve just taken another look at the Winter edition of “Serving You” published by HBC and the free parking was omitted from the magazine. The HBC BOGOF parking scheme is relegated to the inside of the back page.
Our opinion is that items that are of tangible benefit to residents should be headlined on the front page and with the detail placed within the first half of the magazine.
There was little or no promotion in the car parks that was immediately obvious.
A few of the paying machines in the Waterlooville car parks had a small poster next to the machines – can you spot it?
Most of the drivers didn’t spot it either and all of the vehicles we looked at in the car park had paid for parking.
We asked the owner of this car if we could photograph the ticket they purchased.
In some car parks there was nothing to show parking was free – I personally used the civic centre car park by Havant Leisure Centre as my children had a soft-play party in the afternoon. I did not see any signs on these ticket machines.
Leisure Centre Staff
When asking at the leisure centre if parking was free, the staff said that Free Parking Saturday didn’t apply to their car park.
These staff are not HBC Staff – but they ought to be aware of what’s going on in their ‘allocated’ car park.
My friends looked at me like I was a moron for not buying a parking ticket as they duly loaded up the car-park ticket machine with pound coins! I was concerned during the party that I was going to get parking fine – who has money to spare at this time of year? On returning to my car – NO TICKET! Yay I was right! But why weren’t the posters put on display in HBC’s own Civic Center car park?
Here are a few comments we had from people in the response to the our “Live” Facebook posts yesterday:
“…a small poster informed you but it was put up quite high so you wouldn’t really notice it, lots of people still paying to park as well” — CM
“I parked in Quicks car park in Waterlooville today, I didn’t pay as I noticed the small poster next to the machine but loads of people were paying!” — DS
“I had to call up your page on facebook whilst parked in the one by Iceland just to check it was today. I did mention it to a couple who were about to buy a ticket.” — KC
“Grrr paid for as ticket as didn’t see any signs” — TB
Suggestions for next time?
- Include the free parking in ‘Serving You’ magazine – this magazined is distributed to 54,000 households. Headline the story and put in a prominent place within the magazine.
- Ensure staff associated with the council services such as the Leisure Centre are aware of the free parking
- Cover the parking machines as did the Meridian Centre in Havant: “Meridian centre multistory car park had the right idea. Had the covers over their pay machines saying free parking, the same covers they use on Sundays. Well done Meridian Centre” — GM
This is a brilliant scheme and we should all be in favour of managed free parking to support local shops.
Even if you’re not on Facebook you can see the Live updates we made on the day in question via the two screen grabs below. To see the latest updates from Facebook (if any) click either of the images below to go to Facebook.