The devil is in detail

PUBLISHED: 14:19 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:40 11 May 2010

MY thoughts are with those people, who like myself, may wish to respond to the Royston Town Centre Strategy Consultation. It is a lengthy and complex document, and needs to be fully understood before the questionnaire (available at Royston library) can

MY thoughts are with those people, who like myself, may wish to respond to the Royston Town Centre Strategy Consultation.

It is a lengthy and complex document, and needs to be fully understood before the questionnaire (available at Royston library) can accurately be completed. We have until February 22 to make our views known.

The strategy sets out to describe our town, and how in various ways we could change and ­possibly improve certain areas.

Land use in various locations is high on the agenda, as are new road layouts, and parking issues.

As with all consultations the devil is in the detail, and by agreeing to tick a certain box you need to be sure all the detail within that heading is agreeable to you, this needs to include draft policy statements, some of which could be implemented at any time without any further consultation.

With all day parking in some roads about to be removed, our car parks will be busier, but the strategy does not take any account of this, and happily states that the town hall car park is under-utilised, and so suggests some land can be used for building houses.

Furthermore, the same strategy indicates expansion of the civic amenities at the town hall site which will surely require additional parking, so is it a Yes or No?

Enlarge The Warren car park, to mitigate for the loss of parking both at the town hall, and in streets within the town core. I have heard for years shoppers complain about having to walk back up the hill to the The Warren. It is not popular and best serves as an all-day car park for people employed in the town, so is it a Yes or a No?

Fish Hill Square could be made more attractive, indeed it could, but do we need to lose every parking space, even outside the Court House.

A safer crossing to the baker's shop is necessary along with increased pavement width, and a large pedestrian area could be created in the northern half of the square which could also offer the safe crossing.

Vehicles will still need to access the area, so is it a Yes or a No?

High Street traffic re-routed via Upper King Street into the High Street, a mainly residential and narrow street. Is this a necessary improvement? Is a new road cutting through our Priory Memorial Gardens a necessary improvement, or removal of traffic parked in the core of the town. All are issues that need a Yes or a No.

Some improvements to safety at The Cross are certainly required, and enhancement can only improve the area.

Would building a kiosk, or a cafe incorporating the public toilets be a good idea. Could it all be effectively accommodated at The Cross? So again is it a Yes or a No?

I am sure that any improvement scheme to Angel Pavement would not prove a difficult box to tick, along with the cattle market area, and re-positioning of the bus station.

It can only be hoped these are realistic strategies. Private finance will be required to achieve a way forward.

In Angel Pavement it may just be more realistic to improve the appearance of what is there already, and uncover windows that have been previously masked.

So again is this a Yes or a No?

Comment on policy guidance, includes joint working on local bus services, which with recent decisions is a little bizarre.

This strategy for our town is at least an attempt by North Herts District Council and its appointed consultants to visualise improvement, whether it achieves its aim is for you to decide.

Whether finance is available to carry out any improvements is questionable.

I am at least gratified that our local authority and councillors see the need to move forward.

DOUG DRAKE

County Councillor

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