Pre-booked parking has been introduced at a popular West Sussex beach car park in order to manage visitor numbers. The West Wittering Estate is only allowing a limited number of visitors at its beach each day so that social distancing guidelines can be followed. The estate’s surface car park is operating at just half of its usual capacity.
All visitors now have to pre-pay for parking using the JustPark cashless parking system. Anyone without a pre-booked parking ticket should not visit the beach, as there is no other parking in the village.
James Crespi, chief operating officer at West Wittering Estate, said: “It’s the only way we can control the numbers here at the beach. Obviously there is a very, very high demand. Our real key message is for people not to come if they don’t have a ticket. They will be turned away.”
Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, West Wittering is a large, sandy beach with rolling sand dunes, grassy hills, beach café and dedicated car park. The beach is a popular spot for locals and visitors all year round. When the government announced lockdown, they too had to close the car park to discourage people from coming to the beach and minimise the spread of COVID-19. But when restrictions started to lift and people could visit outdoor spaces again, the estate wanted to open the beach responsibly, keeping its staff, the public and local community safe.
With no other parking in the village or nearby, the estate decided to limit the number of vehicles in their car park and as a result, the people on the beach.
Within days of consulting JustPark, the company was able to help the estate with a solution that allows visitors to choose a date and time and pre-book parking in advance. The estate also introduced daily caps on the number of sessions during the day and in the evenings.
Within 30 minutes of the pre-booking system going live online, drivers bought over 1,000 sessions. After that, sessions quickly sold out and in the first seven days the council had received over 15,000 bookings for the coming weeks and months.
To book a space drivers open the JustPark app or visit the company’s website and select West Wittering from the choice of locations. The driver then choose the day and time of their visit, reserve a space and pay in advance. Once the daily limit is reached, other drivers will not be able to buy tickets.
Once the driver has paid, they receive a confirmation text or email notification to show to council staff who man the entrance gate of the car park.
James Crespi said: “This new strategy is set to stay. It’ll help us to continue to manage the beach safely for all to enjoy in a more sustainable manner.”
JustPark has integrated the pre-book service into its product offering and hopes to see other tourist destinations and towns adopt it in the coming months.
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