Bypass anniversary: Partnership tackles parking problems

PUBLISHED: 11:10 15 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:40 06 May 2010

CONSULTANTS aim to cure a town of its parking problem. Baldock residents, organisations and stakeholders have all voiced opinions on issues to do with the town centre. And the one that unites them all is the overcrowded parking conditions. But newly app

CONSULTANTS aim to cure a town of its parking problem.

Baldock residents, organisations and stakeholders have all voiced opinions on issues to do with the town centre.

And the one that unites them all is the overcrowded parking conditions.

But newly appointed Building Design Partnership, which will develop the town centre, is cracking down on issues affecting the town and promising to put residents and businesses at the heart of its designs.

Dave Chapman, of Chapman's Butchers, said: "All we need is the council to sort out the parking.

"We've been trying for seven years to get three parking bays outside our shop and still we've had no success with the council."

Richard Graves, of Baldock Hardware, said: "The biggest problem is parking. You want to bring people into the town, but people don't bother as there's nowhere to park. Parking's always been an issue.

"Here we are, a year on, after they've talked about it. I thought that after the bypass was built parking was going to be dealt with.

"Why should a problem they've known about for years take so long?"

But now something is being done about it as the appointed consultants for the town centre development are taking the issue seriously.

The Comet met Mehron Kirk of Building Design Partnership to discuss its plans for the town.

When quizzed about parking, he said: "Parking is a big one. There are issues of commuter parking, the duration people are staying there, improving parking for businesses and parking for residential areas as well."

It also aims to draw people into the historic market town: "We've done a lot of work in other market towns.

"Initially there's uncertainty about what a market brings. But they do bring viability to a town and it helps shops."

And the partnership wants to get people walking through to the high street shops from Tesco's. "We can actually make people do that walk."

Mr Kirk added: "We've got no preconceived ideas. It's a completely new case and the design will be fitting to the context."

The budget is around £2 million and it is expected to take two years to complete.

Mr Kirk said: "We've got a very detailed programme of when things are going to happen week by week.

"We could do it a lot faster than a year, but then you have more disruption. "Everyone has to be able to go about their daily business while it is happening.

"The whole thing is keeping the public informed, so they understand the process, as there's a six-month period where nobody will hear anything."

The partnership will not start its designs until it has spoken to people of the town.

Meetings and workshops with stakeholders will be held on March 28 and on March 31 there will be a public consultation at 10am at the town's community centre.

A website will be created with a link from the district council's website, where the design team will upload images and issues and people can submit comments.

It hopes this will encourage feedback from school students who may be more likely to share their views online than at meetings.


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