Parking proposals slammed by Royston Area Committee

PROPOSALS which could lead to a change in parking fees in Royston have been slammed by the town’s district council area committee.

North Herts District Council’s plan to potentially charge shoppers on bank holidays has sparked fears that the authority will introduce fees at evenings and weekends.

Councillor Peter Burt said: “It’s important to get the message across emphatically that we really do not support, but actively campaign against, any weekend or evening charging on the basis that frankly in Royston it won’t work.

“It’s a message that does clearly need to be understood in North Herts.

Councillor Fiona Hill added: “It’s not that it just won’t work, it will have a detrimental effect on the vitality and viability of the town centre which we feel has improved greatly since the Free after Three scheme.”

Free after Three was backed by Royston First, and was designed to encourage business in the town.

An email sent to NHDC by Cllr Hill made the area committee’s position clear and emphasised members could not support charging on public holidays, weekends or evenings.

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Royston Town Council would also be in opposition to any such plan.

And a campaign has been launched by Clive Porter to oppose the perceived move. He has collected the signatures of both small businesses and residents.

Mr Porter said: “I think it’s excellent news and I’m very pleased they’re supporting the traders and general public by doing this.

“I think it will definitely move the campaign forward – if enough pressure is applied they will back down.”

Cllr Tom Brindley, portfolio holder for planning, transport and enterprise at NHDC, welcomed the views of the committee and said they would be taken into account before a final decision was made.

He said: “I am grateful to Royston Area Committee for their views on the proposed changes to charges in our car parks. We will take these into account along with other comments received throughout the consultation period.

“As people will hopefully know by now, there are no plans under these proposals to introduce charging on Sundays and in evenings in Royston, and the Free After Three scheme is not affected.

“Charging on bank holidays is one possible way of ensuring shorter-term spaces are kept free for shoppers while long stay users go to long stay car parks.

“If anyone is still concerned about the proposals, I am always happy to meet residents and businesses to hear their views.”