Voluntary Donation Scheme at the Windmill Car Park

Earlier this year, we carried out a consultation on the introduction of a Voluntary Donation Scheme in the Windmill Car Park as a means of raising funds to be used to support the upkeep and preservation of the Commons.

Investing in the upkeep of the Commons is vital if we are to hand them on to the next generation in at least the condition we enjoy today.  As a charity, the Conservators make no profit from the Commons. All money raised from the Levy, together with monies raised from other activities and grants is spent on day to day management, from grass cutting to maintenance of the buildings. This leaves little left to invest in other essential projects and the charity needs to look at additional ways in which to raise funds to preserve and protect the Commons.

Regulating the use of car parks by means of charging is one of the ways in which many open spaces across the UK, such as those managed by the National Trust or the Forestry Commission for example, raise much-needed additional funds. Welcoming visitors to the Commons is vitally important and, to date, free parking has been an integral part of that.

Some 92 responses to the consultation were received. 56% are willing to contribute and 41% believe that the voluntary charge is a good idea. 57% of those who responded were levy-payers.

Those taking part were also encouraged to provide additional comments. The biggest concern was that of commuters using the car park and 34% of respondents made reference to this issue.   28% of respondents queried why a voluntary charge was being introduced, believing that WPCC should introduce a compulsory charge based on length of stay or during certain time periods.

At their meeting in July, the Conservators agreed that the voluntary scheme should be introduced at the Windmill Car Park on an initial one year trial basis, and that trial will shortly be going live.  The Pay and Display equipment was installed on 22nd November, and it will start to take donations from Monday 27th November. This machine will take coins and notes, but we are also looking into installing a contactless system alongside this, and visitors can donate a pre-set amount.

If you are a regular visitor, why not consider an annual donation?  For £10 a month we would provide a car sticker to show that you support our Commons!  For further information on this scheme, please contact Paula at the Ranger’s Office.