Final Report of the
Access to Parks
Overview and Scrutiny Commission - 22 March
Cabinet – 24 March 2010
Report by the Chair of the Access to Parks
Scrutiny Panel, Councillor A J E Quirk
Other Members of the Panel:
Councillors C J Redmayne, D J Shreeves and L K Taylor
Lead Officers: Kevin Tidy (Parks Manager) and Rachel Cordery (Principal Planning
Contact Officer: Steve Lappage (Democratic Services Manager) (01293 438549)
1) This report sets out the investigations, findings and recommendations of the Panel.
2) The reasons for the review and the objectives are set out in Section 1.
3) The main conclusions of the Panel are to:
a) accept there is limited recorded evidence of motoring and parking incidents
in the vicinity of Tilgate Park although concerns about road safety remain;
b) acknowledge the need to achieve a proportionate response to the issues in
the current economic climate whilst identifying aspirations for the future
(e.g. improved road safety measures in Titmus Drive; 2 way access via the
A23/K2 junction with additional car parking nearby);
c) seeks endorsement of:
• improved car park facilities by and just beyond the Recreation Huts;
• the introduction of Automatic Number Plate Recognition Schemes at
Goffs Park, Southgate & Three Bridges Playing Fields Car Parks.
Section 1 – Introduction and Background to the Review
1.1 This review was initially proposed by Councillor Nigel Boxall to consider concerns
raised by local residents and Members about visitors to the town’s major parks
parking in surrounding residential areas as opposed to designated parking areas,
causing congestion and inconvenience and affecting the quality of life of local
residents. Following consideration of the review proposals at the Commission’s
Awayday on 2nd July 2008, the Commission approved the review and established
a Panel at its meeting on 7 July 2008.
1.2 The following objectives of the review were subsequently agreed:
a) To establish the extent and exact nature of the access problem
b) To investigate ways in which access to Crawley Borough Council parks could
be improved, where necessary
c) To seek to reduce traffic congestion and other traffic problems (including
ways of improving pedestrian safety) in the residential areas surrounding the
town’s parks, resulting from park users not using designated parking areas
d) To investigate the possibility of increasing available parking
e) To examine the possibility of increasing sustainable transport to park sites.
f) To examine the possibility of encouraging people to walk to the parks.
g) To focus on improving quality of life issues for local residents.
h) To concentrate on the parks and playing fields identified (i.e. Tilgate Park,
Goffs Park, Southgate Playing Fields and Three Bridges Playing Fields)
rather than canvas all Members to identify other locations with particular
access and parking problems (amended to help make the review more
i) To establish general principles which could be applied elsewhere and/or used
in developing a corporate approach.
1.3 The review was initially provisionally scheduled by the OSC to take place between
January to March 2009 essentially to accommodate the other work priorities of the
lead officers. A preliminary survey was undertaken in the meantime (August to
October 2008) but because of the very poor weather the survey results were
unusually low. It was subsequently agreed that a further survey be undertaken
which, together with additional work requested, resulted in the review being
programmed to be completed in early 2010.
1.4 The work undertaken by the Panel is outlined in Appendix 1.
a) The Commission is asked to consider the report and to accept or
amend any of the recommendations as appropriate.
b) That the Commission be provided with update reports on the
implementation of the agreed recommendations of the Access to
Parks Scrutiny Panel in October 2011 (i.e. when the impact of any
developments and revised car parking arrangements can be more
clearly identified e.g. future use of The Bluebird; after completion of
the Environment Agency Works and the introduction of the new
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) schemes recommended
under Section 9) and then as necessary (i.e. when other potential
future developments such as the increased use of Tilgate Lake might
have had an impact).
Section 2 – The problems, issues and background
2.1 Access to Tilgate Park, a regional attraction with over half a million visits per year,
has long been seen as an issue, with the majority of traffic accessing the park
through the local neighbourhood causing traffic congestion at peak times and
reportedly creating problems with on-street parking for local residents. The
introduction of a parking fee (currently £3.00) at the main car park (305 spaces + 6
free spaces for people with disabilities) has exacerbated the parking problem.
2.2 The policy of charging for parking at Tilgate Park was adopted in 1999 on the
i) a way to encourage more park users, especially non-residents, to contribute
towards park provision, whatever facility they were intending to enjoy;
ii) car users were more able to afford this fee rather than introduce a charge for
particular facilities such as the Nature Centre where there was a high
proportion of young visitors who might otherwise make far fewer visits and
miss out on opportunities to learn about and be exposed to positive
messages about the environment;
iii) the projected reduction of visitor numbers at the Park’s most popular facility,
should an admission fee be introduced, along with the knock on effect of
reducing income from other facilities (café, craft units etc) and the high cost of
entry fee collection, loss of donations (around £35,000 p.a.) and the
additional cost of a business rate, were also factors in the decision;
iv) the introduction of a car park charge was also seen as a ‘green’ policy in that
it encouraged car sharing and visiting by alternative means (e.g. bus, walking
or cycling) and this had been borne out in recent visitor surveys.
2.3 The current system requires very little supervision or staff resources to collect fees
and the gross income of around £140,000 (2007/08,) £92,000 net of VAT (£21,000)
and rates (£27,000) provided a significant contribution towards the overall cost of
provision of Tilgate Park.
2.4 Although there was some local resistance to the charge, many locals now tend to
use the free parking areas (e.g. Fishermen’s Car Park) and visitors from further
away tend to consider the charge very reasonable for a family day out.
2.5 Parking problems have been reported by residents living in the roads adjacent to
Tilgate Park, particularly in Salisbury Road, Wells Road, Constable Road and the
end of Titmus Drive nearer the Park.
2.6 Members of the public had also raised with local Members, concerns about
speeding cars and aggressive/anti social driving along Titmus Drive.
2.7 Parking problems which existed at other parks tended to be with parking spaces
dedicated for park users being frequently filled by drivers who were not intending to
use the parks or playing field facilities e.g. town centre shoppers or workers at
Southgate Park/Playing Fields, commuters at Three Bridges Playing Fields Car
Park and the lower Goffs Park Car Park (i.e. by the railway crossing).
Section 3: Tilgate Park – On Road Parking
3.1 The Panel consider that parking problems persist throughout much of Crawley and,
therefore, sought to focus on those that arose from on road parking by visitors to
Tilgate Park. It concludes that other than for up to 50 households in Salisbury
Road, there was no clear evidence to suggest that parking problems arising from
the proximity to Tilgate Park and its impact on street parking, had caused
significant dissatisfaction, apart from when there were special events at the park.
Even then, the number of complaints received was small, particularly if they were
for a worthwhile cause (e.g. Race for Life; Dragon Boat Races for St Catherine’s
3.2 The Panel considered, including as part of the witness session with WSCC, the
introduction of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) in Crawley to help assess any
implications that it could have for the Scrutiny Review and explored the feasibility of
introducing a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in the area adjacent to Tilgate Park.
A summary of the main elements and findings in respect of CPE and CPZs is
outlined in Appendix 2.
3.3 The Panel, having carefully considered the implications, advantages and
disadvantages of introducing different Traffic Regulation Orders and parking
controls, conclude that there is:
a) a limited potential role for Civil Enforcement Officers (CEO) in enforcing parking
restrictions in the towns parks, taking into account the likely resources required
to enforce parking restrictions;
b) limited potential for introducing a CPZ in the area around Tilgate Park and
agreed not to suggest it for further consideration.
Section 4: Titmus Drive – Road Safety and Traffic Calming
4.1 The Panel decided to concentrate on seeking to improve road safety along Titmus
Drive and what could be done to address speeding, anti-social driving and traffic
calming issues rather than parking which appeared a comparatively limited
problem. The Panel also considered that if Titmus Drive was made safer, access
off the A23 might not be such an issue which would be particularly helpful in the
current economic climate in view of the high costs of such a scheme and the risk of
raising unrealistic expectations.
4.2 Following consideration of evidence outlined in Appendix 1, the following key
findings with respect to Titmus Drive/Tilgate Park were noted:
a) In the May-June 2009 survey, an average of approximately 997 vehicles per
day entered Tilgate Park compared to an estimated daily average for the
August-October 2008 survey of 1087. There were a range of reasons for the
8% reduction including the weather and the different time spans the surveys
were carried out.
b) In the 2009 survey, one third of vehicles which passed counter 1, south of
Peterborough Road, travelled at 20-25 mph, and 88% passed at under 30
c) 46% of vehicles which passed counter 2, south of Salisbury Road, travelled
at 20-25 mph, and 95% passed at under 30 mph.
d) Overall, the findings showed that most motorists kept within the speed limits
although one vehicle was registered at 70-100 mph, another at 65-70 mph
and two at 60-65 mph.
e) Although most motorists abided by the speed limits, Members were
concerned that a sizeable minority did not obey this limit despite the traffic
calming measures which suggested that the traffic calming measures were
not effective and, therefore, potentially dangerous.
f) WSCC had only received a few complaints about car and lorry parking in the
area around Tilgate Park and none about speeding or other traffic issues
along Titmus Drive.
g) Suggestions that many minor incidents, such as aggressive driving, related
anti-social behaviour and broken wing mirrors (as frequently evidenced by
debris along Titmus Drive), were not reported.
4.3 The installation of the chicanes had been deemed necessary at the time following
complaints from local residents because of the Council depot at Tilgate Park and
the prevalence of tractors using Titmus Drive. However, the main depot traffic
ceased prior to 1995 when the Walled Garden and majority of the old depot were
redeveloped as a public attraction by which time most operations had been
transferred to Goffs Park.
4.4 Members were aware of the concerns about speeding cars and aggressive/anti
social driving along Titmus Drive. There are perceptions that the chicanes in
Titmus Drive, implemented by WSCC in 1995, have contributed to some of these
problems (and also resulted in a reduction of on-street parking) which suggested
that the traffic calming measures were not effective and, therefore, potentially
dangerous and required further consideration. It was thought that the traffic
calming measures in Titmus Drive narrow the road and force cars into centre of
road, resulting in jousting effect and more damaged wing mirrors rather than
casualties. Furthermore, it was also considered not many motorists were used to
the chicane arrangements and, consequently, they were confused by the absence
of priority/pinch points and signs.
4.5 The Panel has sought to identify what other traffic calming measures could be of
greater benefit including:
a) traffic islands - to keep motorists on their side of the road (the road would need
to be widened);
b) angling the road on its approach to the park to slow down traffic;
c) speed cameras (which, as a secondary issue, could also raise revenue to help
fund traffic or environmental improvements);
d) reducing the speed limit (advisory – not enforceable);
e) install (temporarily or permanently) Speed Indicator Displays.
4.6 The traffic calming scheme in Titmus Drive, Ashdown Drive and Weald Drive was
constructed in 1996 at a cost of £500,000, which WSCC considered very
successful as there had been 1 serious and 6 slight road injuries in the 3 year
period after construction compared to 5 serious and 25 slight road injuries in the 3
year period before and in Titmus Drive there have been no injury accidents in the
previous 3 years. The casualty rates were still very low. The average speeds have
also shown some reductions which, although they might appear small, were as
4.7 At the witness session, Alex Sharkey of WSCC:
i) outlined the criteria for the provision of traffic calming measures which are
based on casualty reduction rates;
ii) explained that there was a limited budget for such casualty reduction
schemes which equated to about 2 schemes per year for the whole of West
iii) suggested that traffic calming measures were not the solution for the problem
of anti-social driving – that was more a matter for the Police;
iv) indicated that the Emergency Services and local residents would be likely to
have objections to such measures;
v) explained that there were 2 main types of traffic calming schemes: horizontal
which changed path/direction and vertical (i.e. road humps etc.). There were
pros and cons of each, none were ideally suited;
vi) explained that motorists tended to drive better when they were not instructed
precisely what to do (e.g. when they had right of way they would often go for
vii) acknowledged that there was some ambiguity with the traffic calming
measures in Titmus Drive - but that was not a bad thing as it forces motorists
to slow down;
viii) explained that very strict criteria, based on casualty rates, were also applied
to determine whether speed cameras should be installed.
4.8 Sussex Police, having been requested to provide records of anti-social driving and
car parking problems in the area around Tilgate Park, confirmed that they were not
currently treating it as a problem but would research it further. If any information
came to light that indicates it is a problem, the Police will review it and inform the
4.9 Despite the limited recorded evidence of incidents, Members of the Panel had
observed or were aware of problems (e.g. as evidenced by debris from damaged
wing mirrors etc.). Therefore, the Panel, still concerned about aggressive/anti-
social driving and road safety in Titmus Drive whilst mindful of the criteria for
determining the implementation of road safety measures, consider that such
improvements should remain an aspiration.
Whilst there is limited recorded evidence of traffic accidents causing injuries
or other traffic incidents in Titmus Drive, the Panel is aware of motoring
incidents and, therefore, supports, in principle, that changes be
recommended to Titmus Drive to make it more user friendly and safer whilst
acknowledging the current criteria, competing priorities and limited funds.
Section 5: Tilgate Park – direct access via the A23
5.1 The Panel has explored the possibility of improving vehicular access to Tilgate
Park via the junction at K2 on the A23. £70,000 was spent upgrading the road
(Tilgate Drive) a few years ago after a quote of £800,000 had been received and
subsequently rejected to provide a 2 way scheme. The main points discussed are
i) Although a two way system would be particularly expensive, and,
presumably, not feasible or proportionate particularly in the current economic
climate, a one-way system would considerably reduce the cost, have a
significant impact on and improve viability. Nevertheless, a two way system
could be the preferred option if the funding were likely to be made available
and if separate footpaths and cycle paths were provided away from the new
ii) Traffic could be directed to a pay car park where charges would deter the
new route from being used as a rat run.
iii) Access, possibly by a swipe card or remote sensor, could be arranged for
buses which would provide for a more green route (subject to the feasibility of
such a bus service – paragraph 7.2 refers).
iv) Entry to and exit from the park should still be made available via Titmus Drive
for more local traffic and so as not to impact on access for local residents.
i) The introduction of a new traffic route through a previously quiet area of the
park would create an aesthetic problem and is contrary to green flag
guidelines - any implications for its Green Flag status would need to be
clearly identified beforehand. Under the Green Flag criteria, car parks should
be located fairly close to the entrance so that the number of cars driven in
and around the park was minimised whereas it is 1 mile between the
Pub/restaurant and the K2/A23 junction.
ii) Both a one-way and, particularly, a two way system would be expensive (e.g.
the current road would require considerable upgrading, there were no other
footpaths and some provision would need to be made) and, presumably, not
feasible or proportionate particularly in the current economic climate;
iii) WSCC representatives expressed concerns that a one way system:
• would simply be likely to speed up traffic;
• would normally be a last resort because of increased speeds and,
therefore, the likelihood of an increase in accidents;
• could still result in more aggressive driving even when driving slowly (e.g.
• often resulted in less focused driving by motorists compared to 2 way
schemes which made motorists focus more;
• would still require traffic calming measures to be provided, applied at the
necessary standards, otherwise there would be liability for any accidents.
It was also noted that road humps were often not very effective with
some 4x4 vehicles.
iv) Any breakdowns would cause more problems in a one way system.
Other matters requiring further consideration
i) The network as a whole would need to be looked at and not just particular
signals or junctions.
ii) CBC would need to engage a traffic engineer/consultant to do a study if it
was to be agreed that the feasibility of providing access via the K2/A23
junction should be explored further, for example:
• current capacity and future projected traffic flows;
• whether there was sufficient capacity on the signalled controlled junction
at the exit from K2 to enable traffic to clear the junction without creating
• whether there was sufficient visibility to enable this to happen safely for
a larger volume of traffic, particularly where the access road joins the K2
• strength and width of existing road and any additional requirements if a
new one or two way system were to be introduced.
iii) The access road would need to be adopted (i.e. it is not currently part of the
public highway network).
iv) An Environmental Impact Assessment would be required to be undertaken
on any proposals for an access road including arrangements to ensure
proper drainage of any associated surface water.
v) Care needs to be taken to ensure that any one way scheme does not
unduly impact, or have any unforeseen implications, on local users and
other core users or to create additional problems elsewhere e.g.:
• access and egress will be required via Titmus Drive particularly for
locals and visitors to the Pub/Restaurant and Tilgate Forest Golf Centre;
• need to consider the impact on the Tilgate Forest Recreation Huts who
might expect both access and egress via the A23/K2.
vi) Need to seek and consider estimated costs and funding options if it were
decided that access via the A23/K2 should be explored further.
To endorse the Panel’s conclusions, following its consideration of the
potential for access to Tilgate Park via the A23/K2 junctions, that:
a) it has reservations about a one way system;
b) whilst a 2 way system, at an estimated cost of over £1million would be
very difficult to justify and secure support for, being neither
proportionate, cost-effective nor providing value for money
particularly in the current economic climate, this should be an
aspiration for the future.
Section 6: Tilgate Park Car Parking: Charges and Additional
6.1 The Panel considered various options, and the possible implications, for car
parking charges at Tilgate Park including:
a) Reverting to free car parking
• Loss of considerable income at Tilgate Park.
• Could offset loss of income by introducing charge for the Nature Centre
but this would be unlikely to generate enough income particularly as
business rates & VAT would become payable.
b) Reduce car parking charges at Tilgate Park main car park
• The current level of charges might be deterring use of the paying car park
and encouraging use of the Fishermen’s car park although this could be
due to increasing awareness of the free car park.
• Might increase usage, generate more income and reduce parking in
neighbouring roads or, alternatively, might result in a loss of income which
would need to be offset.
• Could introduce free car parking for the first 2 hours – but there were
concerns this would be difficult to manage and could be open to abuse.
• Although there was some acceptance that the charges could be duration
linked, as the current arrangements were the simplest, cheapest to run
and generated a significant income (£142,000 gross p.a.) there was a
reluctance to change the charges.
c) Increase car parking spaces at Tilgate Park
• Expensive - considerable capital expenditure required and need to seek to
recoup any costs.
• Need to identify if there were any suitable locations/space.
• Would need to increase provision of facilities such as toilets etc.
• Problem with increased erosion of park through additional visitor numbers.
The Panel discussed a suggestion for the provision of a new “free” or
“chargeable” (possibly at a reduced rate) enhanced car park just beyond/by
Tilgate Recreation Huts (accessed via the A23/K2 junctions). The cost of
providing a car park of 150 spaces (i.e. approximately half the size of the
main Tilgate Park car park and the same size of the Fishermen's Car Park)
was estimated to range between £125,000 and £250,000 - depending on the
quality of surfacing. This estimate would require further investigation into
ground conditions and the need for improved access (e.g. visibility splays to
accommodate increased traffic flows etc.). Planning permission was also
likely to be required.
The Panel also acknowledged:
i) that it is very difficult to estimate potential usage and income, should
there be a charge for this car park, and it may be that those parking in a
new car park are displaced visitors from the main car park and,
therefore, not new income;
ii) that trees would need to be removed and that there would be some
public opposition to this even if the proposals included new tree
planting to offset this.
Although, the creation of a new car park on the periphery of Tilgate Park,
near K2 and Tilgate Recreations Huts, may have wider strategic benefits that
may be worthy of further consideration (e.g. additional parking for outdoor
events in the park and events at K2), the Panel preferred, particularly at this
stage, that rather than new provision the 2 existing car parks by and just
beyond the Recreation Huts (accessed via the A23) be improved/resurfaced
first. However, to help reduce the amount of traffic accessing the Park via
Titmus Drive, the Panel would like a new Car Park just beyond/by Tilgate
Recreation Huts to be a longer term aspiration subject to further
investigations, costings, future demand and improved financial position.
Any approval for funding for hard surfacing would first have to go through the
Budget Advisory Group process.
d) Introducing charges for Fishermen’s Car Park
• It would generate additional income.
• It could exacerbate on road car parking problems.
• It could not be introduced until after the completion of the Environment
Agency works to raise Tilgate Dam.
• If Fishermen’s Car Park was improved, following the Environment Agency
works, it was expected visitors would probably be more willing to pay to
• It could be free, free for a limited period or during certain times (e.g. before
9.00 a.m. and after 4.00 p.m.), lower charges applied compared to the
main car park or made free or cheaper for local residents only.
• Further consideration would need to be given to installation and running
costs and the most suitable option particularly in an isolated site where
there was greater risk of vandalism to equipment or theft from any
machines holding cash (N.B. machines are emptied of cash daily).
6.2 Throughout its review the Panel has kept updated on the proposed arrangements
for the Environment Agency works to raise Tilgate Dam and the implications for
parking, particularly at the Fishermen’s Car Park, both during and upon completion
of the works.
6.3 The latest position is:
i) planning permission has now been granted;
ii) the start of the works in April will coincide with the start of the busiest time
of the year for Tilgate Park but the main construction elements need to be
undertaken in the Summer, prior to which some preparatory work will be
iii) the project is programmed to take a year (to 18 months) during which the
free Fisherman’s (lakeside) car park (140 spaces) will be out of use to the
public whilst it is used as a compound and access point for contractors. In
return, a very slightly upgraded Fishermen’s car park will be provided upon
completion unless the Council was willing to pay for more improvements;
iv) following eco-studies undertaken, it was confirmed that the compound could
not be located elsewhere (after which it would become a main car park) to
avoid having to close the Fishermen’s Car Park to the public;
v) during the works, the Lake and Lakeside path will be out of operation and
fenced off. Consequently, there will be a reduction in the numbers of
visitors (e.g. walkers, dog walkers, runners, fishermen etc.);
vi) some temporary car parking will be provided for the allotment holders;
vii) officers were still in negotiations with Glendale, the management
contractors for the Golf Centre, seeking some spaces for Park users in the
Tilgate Forest Golf Centre car park;
viii) some parking might be available by the Recreation Huts which tend to be
used in the evenings rather than during the day – these would be
6.4 The Panel has discussed the proposed works and it is evident that the car parking
problems at Tilgate Park were likely to be exacerbated by the Environment Agency
works and the closure of Fishermen’s Car Park. The Panel has explored
arrangements which could mitigate the impact of the works including proposals to
reduce charges at the main car park. It had been hoped that a reduction in the
charge would lead to an increase in numbers of those paying to park and enable
income levels to be maintained. However, upon reflection, the Panel concluded
that this was unlikely.
6.5 After the completion of the Dam Works, new partners will be sought to run and
expand use of the Lake as the Tilgate Lake Association were unwilling to take this
That the Head of Amenity Services be requested to provide estimates of the
costs of improving (e.g. provision of a hard standing surface) and
maintaining the existing (free) car park facilities by and just beyond the
Recreation Huts and approval be sought for this budget provision which
would have to go through the Budget Advisory Group process.
That the proposals for a new “free” or “chargeable” enhanced car park just
beyond/by Tilgate Recreation Huts, accessed via the A23/K2 junctions be
supported, in principle, as a longer term aspiration subject to further
The Cabinet be recommended to consider the introduction of “reasonable”
charges (i.e. at a lower rate e.g. £1.00) for the improved Fishermen’s Car Park
following its reinstatement after that the completion of the Environment
Agency Dam Works, carefully taking into account the possible impact on on-
road parking in the area, and that the actual impact subsequently be
That all Members be kept updated on the Environment Agency Works on
Tilgate Dam and the implications for the Park.
Section 7 –Buses services and cycle routes serving Tilgate
Park and K2
7.1 The Panel has examined the possibility of:
a) increasing public transport to Tilgate Park;
b) encouraging people to walk and cycle to the Park.
7.2 The Panel recognise the need to encourage the availability and use of public
transport closer to Tilgate Park, rather than just to the local parade, particularly to
help improve access for older people. Consequently, the Principal Planning Officer
raised the issue of extending services to Tilgate Park in the regular liaison
meetings with Metrobus. However, Metrobus have indicated that another bus will
be required to meet the timetable (currently 4 an hour) and, therefore, it would not
be viable due to the extra cost of providing such a service, its seasonal nature and
the diversion of the Brighton bus to serve Tilgate Park would not provide a regular
7.3 The Panel acknowledges that the chances of securing direct public transport
provision to Tilgate Park are remote, even with a two way system which would be
more attractive to bus companies than one way. However, it wishes that such
provision remain an aspiration and continue to be encouraged to help improve
access to the Park particularly for the elderly.
7.4 Currently there are no cycle paths direct to the main section of Tilgate Park and
even those in the vicinity are limited and may (along with local footpaths) require
improved signposting to the Park. However, proposals for a new signed cycle
route linking The Hawth and K2 could provide possible connections to Tilgate Park.
This is currently being explored by Crawley BC and WSCC but would not be
implemented until after 2011 at the earliest. In addition, improvements to the
existing Sustrans National Cycle Route link between Rosamund Road (Furnace
Green), and Parish Lane running through the golf course area were also under
7.5 In response to a suggestion by the Panel, Freedom Leisure have shown interest in
providing cycle hire facilities at K2. Whilst the Parks Manager has concerns about
safety with the potential for conflict between cyclists and walkers, he considers it
could be feasible with careful route design directing the cyclists away from the
busier, main attractions of the park and towards the perimeter.
That the provision of public transport directly to Tilgate Park continue to be
That people continue to be encouraged to walk and cycle to the Park and the
potential for linking Tilgate Park to the proposals for a new cycle route
linking The Hawth and K2 be considered.
Section 8: Other Tilgate Park Related Issues
8.1 The Panel identified a number of concerns which they recognised were outside
their terms of reference but which they felt might have implications for the outcome
of the review and which needed to be raised and addressed. These were:
i) the closure of the Bluebird (restaurant/pub at Tilgate Park) and future use;
ii) surface water run-off and erosion of roads and kerbs.
8.2 The Panel also discussed the closure of the restaurant/pub at Tilgate Park, The
Bluebird, the reasons for this and concerns about both its vulnerability to
unauthorised access whilst it was closed. Members expressed concerns that the
vacant building impacted negatively on the Council’s, Crawley’s and the Park’s
image and, presumably, visitor numbers particularly the longer it remained unused.
8.3 The Panel note that Property Services have been investigating possible future use
of this property and that a feasibility study had also been undertaken on possible
locations for a Museum, including The Bluebird, the Walled Garden at Tilgate and
The Tree as well as at other possible locations. The decision on the future of the
Museum Service has been rescheduled and is now due to be taken by the Cabinet
on either 16 June or 7 July 2010. Although the Panel did not want to further delay
completion of the review pending consideration of any possible proposals for the
future use of The Bluebird Pub Restaurant and of a Museum at Tilgate Park, it still
wished refer to these possible future issues in its final report.
8.4 The Panel consider that the building is an ideal location for a Museum. Regardless
of whether it is used for the Museum, the Panel is concerned about the vacant
building and urges that decisions be made to enable its future use to be
determined. The Panel recognise that the Lake works and the car parking charges
would have an impact on any business using the building although it is possible
that a ticketed machine could be installed which could be used to offset charges at
8.5 The Panel acknowledge that:
a) The use of the Bluebird as a Museum will have implications for future demand
for car parking but that these could also include benefits such as helping to
increase usage and income on quieter days rather than necessarily just at peak
b) Facilities at parks and playing fields were outside the scope of the review but as
facilities had an impact on parks usage, and therefore on car parking usage
and access, wished to flag it up as an area of interest rather than seek a
change of scope.
That the ongoing negotiations regarding the future use of The Bluebird be
noted at this stage and that any subsequent impact on car parking be
reviewed and included in the update report to the Overview and Scrutiny
Commission in October 2011.
Surface Water Run-Off and erosion of roads and kerbs
8.6 Members of the Panel also raised concerns about the erosion of roads and kerbs
(most notably along Salisbury Road and Wells Road), resulting from the run-off of
surface water from Tilgate Park and subsequent maintenance issues. Members
considered that it gave a poor impression of Crawley to visitors, particularly in the
vicinity of a regional attraction, and also suggested that more parking spaces may
effectively be provided if there were fewer ruts and damaged areas.
8.7 Whilst the Panel accepted that the drainage, erosion and heavy usage issues were
outside the remit of the review, it agreed it should at least flag up their concerns.
The Panel subsequently used the opportunity to raise it with the WSCC
representatives when they attended a meeting of the Panel when it was noted that:
i) there was a significant slope from Tilgate Park to Salisbury Road;
ii) the run-off was thought to have been a long standing problem and,
therefore, it was also acknowledged that some opportunities to further
alleviate the problem may have been missed when the bunding was
designed and installed to prevent unauthorised incursion by Travellers;
i) although such roads were usually resurfaced every 30 years, WSCC had
spent a lot of money patching the road and more substantial repairs
including some done only the previous week (November 2009);
ii) WSCC officers suggested that CBC as landowner, was responsible and that
CBC looks further at possible solutions and approximate costings and
includes WSCC in the discussions;
iii) although it was acknowledged that CBC would have done it by now if there
was an obvious, and viable, solution, there were likely to be
engineering/technical solutions to catch or divert the water before it
discharged onto the road, including installing a filter and drain and
channelling it under the roadside and into the existing surface water
drainage system, although these would be costly;
8.8 However, John Braidley, CBC’s Drainage Engineer, subsequently confirmed the
Council’s position on the alternative options, and associated costs, to solve the
problems of surface water damage on Salisbury Road:
a) this is a WSCC highways problem as it is the responsibility of the down-
stream landowner to accept natural run-off;
b) if we were to install a cut of trench for connection we would not be allowed
to connect these land drainage flows to the public surface water system as
Thames Water are not obliged to accept land drainage flows;
c) WSCC can connect Highway drainage to the Water Authorities SW system
but there drainage is not designed to accept additional piped land drainage
flows (only surface water runoff);
d) Consequently the only legal solution available for CBC to develop would
involve diverting flows to an adjacent watercourse. Such options are limited
& would probably involve pumping &/or storage at an estimated cost of
That the concerns about the damage to the roads and kerbs (most notably
along Salisbury Road and Wells Road), resulting from the run-off of surface
water from Tilgate Park and subsequent maintenance issues be
acknowledged and CBC and WSCC officers be requested to co-operate
where feasible to help to secure a solution.
Section 9 – The issues, problems and potential solutions at
9.1 The Panel also looked at parking problems which existed at other parks. These
tended to be with parking spaces dedicated for park users being frequently filled by
drivers who were not intending to use the parks or playing field facilities e.g. town
centre shoppers or workers at Southgate Playing Fields, commuters at Three
Bridges Playing Fields and the lower Goffs Park car park (i.e. by the railway
crossing). As the problems seemed quite minor elsewhere, the Panel agreed to
concentrate on those Parks identified (i.e. Tilgate Park, Southgate Park, Goffs Park
and Three Bridges Playing Fields) rather than canvas all Members to identify other
locations with problems to help make the review more manageable. Furthermore,
under the agreed scope the Panel would be seeking to establish general principles
for adoption elsewhere.
9.2 The Panel was also mindful that the problems at Three Bridges and Goffs Park
Playing Fields were likely to be exacerbated following the introduction of Controlled
Parking Zones in those areas in April 2010 and those at Southgate Playing Fields
may possibly be exacerbated following the introduction of charges at the Library
Car Park later in 2010.
9.3 The Panel has considered, in some detail, the various options available for parking
arrangements and parking controls noting that many of them would require
substantial additional resources particularly in terms of installation, enforcement (by
the Community Wardens) and administrative/supervision costs. The Panel
acknowledge that different car parks have different issues and, therefore, different
solutions will probably apply often depending on the number of spaces. A
summary is outlined in Appendix 3.
9.4 The Panel also considered:
i) information/details on the installation costs, running costs, projected income
figures and cost effectiveness (e.g. the stages each option becomes or
ceases to be viable) of the different car parking options.
ii) details of the level of charges and fines imposed, the number of fines issued
and the amount received at the Council’s smaller car parks;
iii) noted the advantages of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)
Schemes and the outcome of further discussions with a potential provider
who indicated that it would be viable for a number of the Council’s car parks.
9.5 The Panel sought to identify the most effective configuration of free parking times,
level of charges, level of fines and number of car parking spaces, and the cost-
effectiveness of the different options. However, it recognises this is difficult to
determine as future user patterns and non compliance would be different from the
levels and types of current usage which the Panel had considered. The Panel was
also mindful of the agreed arrangement with the Arora Hotel for selected use of the
Southgate Playing Fields Car Park and the need to ensure that officers were kept
informed on such proposed and actual use.
9.6 The Panel concluded that an ANPR scheme would be suitable for solving the
problem of all day parking at the 3 car park sites (Southgate Playing Fields (53
spaces), Goffs Park (lower) (44 spaces) and Three Bridges Playing Fields (25
spaces) particularly in view of the following advantages:
a) the potential to generate some income by negotiating a split of any revenue
with potential contractors (support was expressed for seeking to secure an
income from the car parks provided it helped to achieve the main purposes of
each of the car parks and good parking control/management);
b) whereas rateable value would be applied if charges were levied on the car park,
rateable value would not apply if fines were introduced for parking violations;
c) Very few people were expected to be disadvantaged, any initial criticisms
should be easy to manage if the new arrangements were communicated well
and clear signs provided e.g. suitable, flexible arrangements could easily be
introduced by any ANPR scheme provider to accommodate bona fide club
members and users (including visiting teams etc.) who may want to park their
cars for longer than the limited, free car parking period (e.g. through: the issue
of permits to club users to avoid the issuing of fines; phone calls to the
contractor to accommodate visiting teams; CBC asking that restrictions be
stopped for special events or limited on certain days); Arrangements may also
need to be considered to discourage some motorists joining the clubs just to
secure free/cheap commuter car parking.
9.7 The Panel support, in principle, trialling a potential contractor for an ANPR scheme.
If it proves effective a wider scheme could be explored, negotiated and introduced.
It is acknowledged that the Council would need to go through the proper
procurement processes and get competitive quotes etc.
9.8 The Panel acknowledge that car parking issues exist across the Borough but that
this was outside their remit. Therefore, the Panel wish to recommend the Cabinet
to look comprehensively at car parking issues across the Borough including, for
i) the viability of different options;
ii) the Council exploring, with potential providers, following a reasonable
period after the introduction of any schemes arising from this review and of
CPE, the cost-effectiveness and potential of options for introducing wider
schemes to be rolled out to more car parks including those on the
9.9 The Enforcement and Technical Services Manager subsequently informed the
Panel that he would be submitting a report to the Corporate Management Team in
April on on-street car parking issues around the town including parking on
Neighbourhood Parades and any need to introduce controls and enforcement.
That the introduction of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)
Schemes at Southgate Playing Fields, Three Bridges Playing Fields and
Goffs Park (Lower) Car Parks be recommended and authorisation for this be
That the Cabinet be requested to seek a comprehensive examination of car
parking issues across the Borough including, for example, the potential for
introducing Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Schemes in
Neighbourhood Centre Car Parks.
Section 10: Summary
10.1 In summary, the Panel’s conclusions with regards to access problems relating to
Tilgate Park are that:
a) other than for up to 50 households in Salisbury Road, and for special events,
car parking in Tilgate appears to be no more significant an issue for residents
than in any other neighbourhoods in the Borough;
b) the introduction of Civil Parking Enforcement or Controlled Parking Zones could
simply displace any problems and were unlikely to provide a widely effective or
c) whilst it is accepted there is limited recorded evidence of traffic accidents and
incidents (including parking) in the vicinity of Tilgate Park and strict criteria are
used to determine the need for road safety improvements, concerns about road
safety, aggressive/ anti-social driving and parking remain and, therefore, there
is support for changing Titmus Drive to make it more user friendly and safer;
d) a one way system accessed via the A23/K2 junctions is not suitable;
e) a 2 way system accessed via the A23/K2 junctions is difficult to justify in the
current economic climate;
f) seeks support for the proposals to improve the car park facilities by and just
beyond the Recreation Huts;
g) subject to the possible impact on on-road parking in the area, further
consideration ought to given to introducing a small charge for the improved
Fishermen’s Car Park;
h) there are both advantages and disadvantages of living close to such a popular
attraction as Tilgate Park and that, on balance, the problems were probably
i) the Council needs to ensure whether or not the cost of any recommended
potential solutions are proportionate to the issues and that it could justify
expenditure on changes to access roads and parking arrangements particularly
under current economic conditions but that, nevertheless, aspirations for the
future should still be identified (e.g. improved road safety measures in Titmus
Drive; 2 way access via the A23/K2 junction with additional car parking nearby)
which could be explored again when more appropriate;
j) the issues, and potential solutions, may need to be given further consideration
should it become evident that the problems were becoming more severe;
10.2 The Panel also support the introduction of Automatic Number Plate Recognition
(ANPR) Schemes at Southgate Playing Fields, Three Bridges Playing Fields and
Goffs Park (Lower) Car Parks and suggests that the potential for extending ANPR
Schemes to Neighbourhood Centre Car Parks be explored.
Section 11 – Membership and Attendance
11.1 The Panel initially comprised Councillors L K Taylor (Chair), N Boxall, C J
Redmayne and D J Shreeves. However, following changes to the Membership of
the Cabinet and OSC for the Municipal Year 2009/10 and in Summer 2009, the
Panel eventually comprised Councillors A J E Quirk (Chair), C J Redmayne, D J
Shreeves and L K Taylor.
11.2 The meetings of, and attendance at, the Panel were as follows:
(i) 24 February 2009 – Councillors L K Taylor (Chair), N Boxall, C J Redmayne
and D J Shreeves
(ii) 18 May 2009 - Councillors L K Taylor (Chair), N Boxall and C J Redmayne.
Councillor A J E Quirk was also in attendance.
(iii) 30 September 2009 – A J E Quirk (Chair), C J Redmayne and D J Shreeves.
Councillors N Boxall and L A Walker were also in attendance.
(iv) 24 November 2009 – A J E Quirk (Chair) and D J Shreeves. Councillors N
Boxall and G Thomas were also in attendance.
(v) 23 February 2010 - Councillors A J E Quirk (Chair), C J Redmayne, D J
Shreeves and L K Taylor. Councillor L A Walker was also in attendance.
11.3 The Panel would like to thank all the Members, officers and witnesses, including
Ralph Wright (WSCC), Alex Sharkey (WSCC), Rachel Cordery, Jackie Dolton,
Graham Marriott, Steve Kirby, Chris Harris, Alan Dixon, Steve Lappage and,
particularly, Kevin Tidy, who have contributed to this review.
Section 12 – Background Papers
12.1 Report OSC/82 (including the Supplementary Paper) to the Overview and Scrutiny
Commission (7 July 2008) on the Scrutiny Review Work Programme 2008/9.
12.2 Agendas, reports and minutes of meetings of the Access to Parks Scrutiny Panel
held on 24 February 2009, 18 May 2009, 30 September 2009, 24 November 2009
and 23 February 2010.
Information considered and work undertaken by the Access to Parks Scrutiny Panel
1. The work of the Panel has included consideration of:
a) The parking and access problems – particularly at Tilgate Park, Southgate
Playing Fields, Three Bridges Playing Fields and Goffs Park
b) Anecdotal evidence:
• numerous residents had complained orally to local Members;
• many residents had stopped complaining or were reluctant to submit written
complaints as they did not expect anything would be done about it;
• Councillor Boxall had raised his concerns as a Ward Member at the WSCC
County Local Committee for East Crawley and to Ralph Wright (Area
Manager, Highways, WSCC);
c) Capital schemes to improve vehicular access (Tilgate Park)
d) Related Green Flag guidelines and Open Spaces access criteria
e) Tilgate Park Visitor Surveys
f) Goffs Park Visitor Survey
g) Parking issues and possible solutions for consideration (see Appendix 2)
h) Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) and Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ)
i) Special events
j) Bus routes and cycle routes
k) Usage figures for the Tilgate Park main car park
l) traffic accident data - supplied by WSCC and based on accidents reported to
m) Tilgate Park/Titmus Drive traffic surveys (including August – October 2008 and
• before and after traffic calming measures;
• record speed as well as numbers of vehicles;
• usage figures for the Fishermen’s car park (ascertained from the counters);
n) findings of desk top research, undertaken by the Support Services Manager to
help establish the extent and exact nature of the problems associated with
street parking as a result of Tilgate Park usage, compiled from a variety of
• The Place Survey 2008;
• Residents Survey 2008;
• Tilgate Park Visitor Satisfaction survey 2007;
• The Council’s Complaints System;
• Community Wardens records;
• Sussex Police;
• Furnace Green/Tilgate Link Group
2. A witness session was also held, with Ralph Wright (Deputy Divisional Manager,
Highways, WSCC) and Alex Sharkey (Manager, Safety Engineering Group,
Highways, WSCC), the purpose of which was:
1) to discuss the Panel’s concerns about access to and egress from Tilgate Park
(as a regional attraction accessible only via neighbourhood roads) including
volume of traffic, speeding, anti-social driving, the perceived ineffectiveness of
the current traffic calming measures in Titmus Drive and parking problems; and
2) to help the Panel to identify and further explore potential solutions to the
problems including improved traffic calming measures and the possibility of the
provision of an access road via the A23/K2 junction and their approximate
3. The Panel has considered the advantages and disadvantages of a range of
consultation options to ascertain the depth and extent of car parking and anti-social
driving problems arising from usage of Tilgate Park (e.g. in Titmus Drive, Salisbury
Road, Wells Road, Gloucester Road, Rillside etc.). However, the Panel, concluded
that the various surveys and research suggested the problems were not significant
enough (as they probably affected a limited number of residents at relatively limited
days and times) to warrant extensive fact finding surveys of residents or invite
some residents as witnesses to meetings of the Panel plus additional traffic
surveys and emphasised the need to ensure that any consultation undertaken did
not raise expectations which could not realistically be met. The Panel preferred to
be clearer what the potential solutions were and whether they were proportionate
or too expensive.
Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) and Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ):
The main elements of and findings relating to CPE and CPZs are outlined below:
a) CPE is the enforcement of on and off street parking restrictions by local authority
employed Civil Enforcement Officers (CEO’s);
b) CPE will be introduced in Crawley on 12 April 2010 when Crawley Borough Council
will become responsible for the operation of CPE in Crawley in conjunction with
West Sussex County Council who will delegate their responsibility for on-street
parking enforcement to the Borough Council;
c) as part of CPE, the Council has consolidated the existing restrictions into parking
orders to enable them to be enforced by CPE. The introduction of new controls at
various parks and parades could be considered as part of a review at a later date.
d) the legislation does not allow for the powers to be delegated to Community
e) the resource implications: the Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) would need to be
enforced but the parking problems would be during the weekends when Civil
Enforcement Officers staff would not be scheduled to work;
f) apart from Tilgate Park, currently there were no parking orders covering the parking
areas in the town parks which would enable parking restrictions to be enforced under
g) the income from Penalty Charge Notices is used to fund the enforcement operation;
h) the Panel acknowledged that CPE for the town’s parks was unlikely to be cost
effective especially compared to the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)
schemes being considered.
a) CPZs were operated by limiting parking to residents parking permit holders (currently
cost local residents £30 per annum for the first one and £60 for additional permits)
only at certain times of the day;
b) By restricting parking to permit holders only, the purpose of a CPZ was to prevent
parking by commuters, shoppers or in the case of Tilgate Park visitors which would
otherwise inhibit the ability of residents to park near their properties;
c) The restrictions in the CPZs in Crawley were currently in force Monday to Saturday
between 9.00a.m. and 5.00p.m. and the potential for a CPZ near Tilgate Park would
need to take into account the need for enforcement on Sundays and Bank Holidays
d) if restrictions were to be introduced, in and around other parks then the type of
parking restrictions would need to be carefully considered in particular taking into
account the level of enforcement required and the likely number of penalty charges
that would be issued and take into account the impact on the ability of residents to
park their cars
e) West Sussex County Council was proposing to conduct a wider review of CPZ’s in
the town in 2010. Although this review would probably look at parts of Pound Hill
and Ifield where there were problems with commuter parking, it might include
assessing the potential for new zones. The introduction of any additional zones
could require the employment of additional CEOs in which case the financial
implications would need to be considered
f) The Panel concluded it was unlikely that the introduction of a CPZ in the area
adjoining Tilgate Park would address the problems as it was potentially more
resource intensive than could be reasonably justified and also might result in more
complaints and opposition than the current car parking issues (although often local
residents usually welcomed the benefits in due course).
g) The Panel acknowledged there was very little likelihood of a CPZ being introduced in
the area in the foreseeable future due to other, higher priorities and limited
resources; furthermore it was understood (by Cllr Boxall) that local residents were
not keen on a CPZ which also often simply displaced the problem.
Options available for Parking Arrangements And Parking Controls – A Summary
The Panel considered, in some detail, the various options available for parking
arrangements and parking controls noting that many of them would require substantial
additional resources particularly in terms of installation, enforcement (e.g. by CPOs, by the
Community Wardens) and administrative/supervision costs. The Panel acknowledge that
different car parks have different issues and, therefore, different solutions will probably
apply often depending on the number of spaces. A summary is outlined below:
i) pay & display (or pay on foot as at the Town Hall)
• Expensive to introduce - £4,500 for each solar powered pay and display
• Expensive to operate - very labour intensive for supervision and collection.
• Required to set high charges (approx. £10 charge per day) to justify installation
and enforcement costs particularly where relatively small number of parking
spaces (e.g. 44 at Southgate).
• They would have the flexibility of facilitating parking fees dependent on duration
of parking rather a flat rate scheme (e.g. as currently operated at Tilgate Park)
which would seem fairer for short stay visitors and had the potential for boosting
low season visitor numbers.
• Automatic car registration cameras – detecting times of arrival and departure –
could be installed. But these were expensive to install and concerns were also
expressed that a relatively high number of car owners (5-10%) did not register
the cars in their own names.
ii) Pay at barriers
• Currently applied successfully at main Tilgate Park where it generated
considerable income and required very little supervision or staff resources to
• Very expensive to install: approximately £10,000 for 3 barriers; extra costs for
changes to road e.g. additional space or different layouts often required for
turnaround, separate entry and exit points or to accommodate queuing at entry
• Usually less suitable for smaller car parks e.g. at Southgate Playing Fields (44
spaces) and Goffs Park (44 spaces).
iii) Free but barriers installed to deter certain users
• Barriers put in place overnight or early in the morning and removed later in the
morning to prevent early access by commuters and town-based workers (e.g. as
currently operated at Goffs and Southgate Parks).
• Sometimes difficult to operate when cars remain parked within the areas.
However, as some would be likely to have a good excuse, Members were
reluctant to impose charges if they stayed too late.
iv) Parking orders to limit duration of parking
• Would allow introduction of limited free car parking (say 4 hours), charge
thereafter (at least £5) and enforcement of a substantial fine.
• Relatively inexpensive to introduce and operate/enforce – a single Parking
Order covering all of the car parks could be introduced for about £2,000 -
• Could potentially eliminate the problem created by commuters, workers and
other long-term parking (e.g. at Southgate Park, Goffs Park and Three Bridges)
at the expense of park users.
• This could be done in conjunction with a parking fee to cover costs of
enforcement but the introduction of a fee would not be essential.
• Could provide Clubs e.g. Bowls Club, Cricket Club and Emerald Club at
Southgate Park with parking permits to display.
• Would require to be very closely enforced initially but possibly less so thereafter
if threat and initial enforcement successful.
• Members expressed support, in principle, for this option for Goffs Park and
• Members also expressed support for a suggestion that a limited stay
arrangement could be introduced and then monitored and reviewed to ascertain
whether it should be retained or alternative arrangements be reconsidered (e.g.
pay and display machines) at a later stage.
• Members suggested that similar arrangements could be considered for
introduction on those neighbourhood parades where similar parking problems
v) Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Schemes
Outlined in Section 9 (paragraphs 9.4(iii), 9.6 and 9.7) of the main body of the report.