Road block in parking plan?

PLANS to extend free parking in Royston’s car parks may have hit a roadblock.

Currently drivers can park for free in Royston’s car parks after 3.30pm, thanks to contributions from county councillors Fiona Hill and Tony Hunter, and the Royston area committee.

Royston First business improvement district (BID) company had proposed to provide funds to extend the scheme to 3pm, in a bid to attract more people into the town.

The plans got the support of North Herts District Council’s Royston area committee when it last met at the end of March, but as yet they have not been put into motion.

A spokesman for the district council said only that “discussions are ongoing with Royston First over the proposals”, but it is understood that there may be some opposition to the scheme from within the council.

Royston town centre manager Geraint Burnell, speaking on behalf of Royston First, said he could not comment on how the scheme was progressing.

But speaking at the area committee meeting on March 18, he said Royston First considered the scheme, dubbed ‘free after three’, was a “realistic proposition” for the district council.

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It would apply in the town’s car parks, but not affect on-street parking bays.

The scheme won widespread backing from the area committee.

Cllr Tony Hunter told The Crow this week: “As far as the area committee is concerned, if Royston First wants to pay for free parking in Royston all day every day then that’s fine by us.

“I know there are statutory notice periods which have to be adhered to when making changes, and there could also be issues with re-configuring the machines.

Another member of the committee, Cllr Rob Inwood, said: “It’s quite surprising and a bit worrying if there is some opposition to this plan, which I think is a great idea for Royston.”