Residents are backing scheme

I would like to point out that the information in the article titled Council s parking reversal – a victory for democracy in your paper last week February 9, is not completely accurate and correct. The article inaccurately implies that no consultation h

I would like to point out that the information in the article titled 'Council's parking reversal - a victory for democracy' in your paper last week February 9, is not completely accurate and correct. The article inaccurately implies that no consultation has happened on the Residents Parking Permit scheme that is being considered for the Triangle and its neighbouring areas in Hitchin. It also incorrectly states that the majority of the residents are against the scheme. I would like to set the record straight with the facts and assure all the residents in this area that there has been no policy to introduce the scheme against their wishes. In fact the whole scheme is neighbourhood led and the councillors and the council officers have assisted the residents in the process.

A number of consultations have taken place with the residents in the Triangle and its neighbouring areas in Hitchin to formulate a proposal for the Residential Parking scheme. Most of the views of the residents have been collected through several meetings of the Triangle Residents Association who have also undertaken door to door surveys. These surveys and the views collected during the residents' meetings have shown that the majority of the residents in the area are in favour of the Resident's Parking Permit scheme. In the course of these consultations and meetings, the residents against the scheme have raised their opposition and their reasons have been considered but in the end the overwhelming majority have shown their support for the scheme. Based on these responses the council has drawn up the proposals for the scheme and these have been sent to the residents in the area prior to being formally submitted to the Hitchin Area Committee for approval.

However, in view of some concerns from a few residents that not sufficient time is available for them to formally respond to the proposal prior to the March 7, the council officers have recommended an extension of the period for the collection of the responses from all the residents in the affected areas. All the above shows that contrary to your headline, the democratic process has been followed through out the formulation of the scheme that is currently in front of the residents.

DEEPAK SANGHA, District Councillor, Bearton Ward, Hitchin

* In last week's Comet you gave the misleading impression that the Triangle Residents Association was against the council's plans to introduce a Permit Parking Scheme for the Triangle Area. With this mistake you have come close to damaging our community and undoing the hard work of many residents who have for many years been campaigning for such a scheme.

The Triangle Residents Association had a door to door survey of Triangle households in 2002/3 the results of which were presented to the Hitchin Area Committee on July 1, 2003. Although we were unable to survey all Triangle Residents it became clear to us that the majority of the residents were in favor of introducing the scheme. At a meeting of the Association on June 2 2003 a further vote was taken indicating that the scheme should cover the whole Triangle area rather than on a road to road basis. All residents are invited to TRA public meetings at which the subject of parking has been discussed on many occasions. Those residents who are against the introduction of a Permit Parking Scheme have had plenty of opportunity to make public their opinions and have always been in a minority. These facts have formed the foundation of the residents' association's long running support of permit parking. The Association has spent the last two years in close consultation with the council trying to make sure that the plan circulated to residents last week was appropriate to the area and would go some way to solving our parking problems. In case anyone is still in doubt the Scheme will have the following benefits:

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1) Commuters will have to park in the Rail Station car park instead of in our roads.

2) Parking will be restricted in most areas for only two hours in the day. At all other times parking will be unrestricted.

3) Some businesses, retail and car maintenance will have allocated areas of one hour free parking situated near their trading outlets.

4) Having a Permit Parking Scheme will almost certainly put several thousand pounds onto the value of your house.

5) £26 per annum is a very small price to pay.

For those residents in Kings Road, Alexander Road and Florence Street please think about the knock on effect to your roads if all the other areas around the station get Permit Parking schemes and we do not. Commuters would flock to the Triangle which would be the only area with free parking.

Finally please remember that the trend for car ownership continues to go up. The parking problem will simply get worse in the future. The council will make sure that all households in the Triangle will get a chance to vote for or against the introduction of the proposed scheme so there is no question of its introduction being undemocratic.

ASHLEY WALKER, On behalf of the Triangle Residents' Association

EDITOR'S NOTE: The group referred to in last week's story was incorrectly labelled Triangle Residents'Association Against the Parking Scheme. The group is in fact Triangle Residents Against the Parking Scheme.