Rescue act saves parking scheme
RADICAL parking proposals for Royston town centre have been rescued. There was a possibility they would be shelved before councillors had been given the opportunity to discuss the scheme. But now the plans from the Royston Town Centre Forum will be examin
RADICAL parking proposals for Royston town centre have been rescued. There was a possibility they would be shelved before councillors had been given the opportunity to discuss the scheme. But now the plans from the Royston Town Centre Forum will be examined in detail to see whether any proposals can be implemented. Councillors were angry after being told that the parking blueprint had been virtually dismissed when it was sent to North Hertfordshire District Council. Royston's town centre manager Geraint Burnell said he was "perturbed" when he received the district council's comments. He believed that members of the district council's Royston area committee would discuss the parking plan which had been put together after a survey of traders. But in a letter from Liz Green, the council's head of policy, partnerships and performance, Mr Burnell was given a list of reasons that virtually scuppered the proposals. He told a meeting of the Royston area committee: "There was nothing in the letter from the district council to say that any consideration had been given to our suggestions." He said the scheme envisaged was not created for the convenience of running the council's parking department, but to meet "the needs of the town". Mr Burnell added that until councillors looked at the proposals, there seemed to have been "little achieved" from the exercise. Councillors, however, have been impressed by the report. Cllr F John Smith said the letter sent to Mr Burnell should be "ignored" as he was keen to see the proposals seriously examined. Cllr Peter Burt described the proposals as "helpful suggestions", and Cllr Tony Hunter said the plan was a "sound document". Cllr Howard Marshall said the report was a "comprehensive parking study". Mr Burnell's report showed that a number of traders in the town centre had blamed a drop in sales on parking problems. The report showed that 51 per cent of traders reported a drop in sales during a 12-month period. Suggestions in the report include: - The Market Place, Angel Pavement, and Priory Memorial Gardens car parks should offer parking rebates. Research showed that probably 50 per cent of retailers in the town centre would participate in such a scheme. - The small car park at the end of John Street should offer free one-hour parking - thereby increasing one-hour spaces in the town centre by 60 per cent. - The need to introduce a convenience system for regular users. - The Warren and civic centre car parks should be converted to pay-on-exit. In the letter sent to Mr Burnell, the question of one-hour free parking in John Street would "require considerable input in parking attendants' time at increased costs". The pay-on-exit idea was said to be "economically unviable". Mr Burnell added: "It is vitally important that all local representative bodies are seen to act effectively to tackle this issue.