Pay and dismay

PUBLISHED: 12:26 25 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:59 12 May 2010

Residents fear the introduction of charges will make matters worse in the High Street

Residents fear the introduction of charges will make matters worse in the High Street

THE loss of free parking in Buntingford is causing concern for residents. They aired their views at Monday s Community Voice meeting at the United Reformed Church. They believe the loss of free parking will make it increasingly difficult to park in the

THE loss of free parking in Buntingford is causing concern for residents.

They aired their views at Monday's Community Voice meeting at the United Reformed Church.

They believe the loss of free parking will make it increasingly difficult to park in the town and cause people to shop elsewhere.

David Thomas, of Wyddial, said: "I have always supported enforcement in the town. It's made the High Street safer.

"My concern now is if you look what happened in Royston - the town council has opposed the increases in parking fees, but there is clear evidence the town is losing trade.

"Buntingford is getting back on to its feet with new shops, and to kill Buntingford finally would mean introducing parking fees."

More on-street parking in residential areas is another cause for concern if parking charges are introduced.

One resident who lives in the High Street already has trouble parking outside her home.

She said: "The High Street is residential, and a lot of people do not have parking at the rear of their houses.

"Every morning we have to move our cars so we don't fall foul of traffic wardens. If we start being charged in the town car park behind Somerfield, where are we going to go?

"There won't be other streets available. It seems to me there's a big silence on what happens to Buntingford residents."

Some residents believe more traffic wardens would ease the problem.

One resident said: "It's rare to see parking wardens here. We should have more of a presence to stop cars parking or we're likely to go elsewhere and shop."

In response, chairman of the chamber of commerce, Carole Warren, said: "I have seen a parking warden up the High Street most days for the past six weeks.

"They can't be there every five minutes."

Other factors contributing to parking problems include ignoring yellow lines, and vehicles parking on pavements.

When the Buntingford bypass was opened in the late 1980s, the pavements in the High Street were lowered to allow traffic movement, and as a result cars now park on the pavements.

Cllr Eunice Woods said: "People park on the pavements and no one can get past.

"You have to walk in the road and as a result we are putting the lives of young and disabled people at risk."

To avoid parking charges and inconsiderate parking, solutions suggested included erecting bollards down the High Street to stop parking outside shops, and introducing free short-term parking and charging for long-term parking.

District councillor Stan Bull said: "Charging people to park would create lots of problems.

"We would get on-street parking, and people would go past Buntingford and go somewhere else."

After the meeting district councillor John Warren said: "Spaces north of Somerfield and in Market Hill are being used, and I don't think they are being abused much.

"But if we want people to come and shop, we need to provide spaces, perhaps short stay parking in the middle of the High Street."

Buntingford will continue to benefit from free car parking next year, but East Herts District Council will also be considering resident parking schemes, and installing pay-on-foot systems in car parks whereby residents drive through a barrier, take a ticket and pay when they exit.

Hannah Budnitz of Arup planning and transport, said: "The benefits are that people don't have to decide how long they want to stay in advance.

"However, it does have its costs, and an entry and exit system that can create queuing."

Malcolm Alexander, executive member for environmental management, said: "With the feedback from our parking consultation, we can develop our parking policies for the benefit of town centres.

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