High Street blues
A LACK of parking facilities has been blamed for the demise of shoppers in a market town. The struggle Baldock shopkeepers currently face in retaining customers, and the possible closure of the town s market, has so far been blamed on the opening of the B
A LACK of parking facilities has been blamed for the demise of shoppers in a market town.
The struggle Baldock shopkeepers currently face in retaining customers, and the possible closure of the town's market, has so far been blamed on the opening of the Baldock bypass and the Tesco superstore.
But perhaps a more fundamental issue is at the heart of the matter.
In a letter to The Comet Baldock resident Mr Unger said: "The real problem with Baldock is the lack of parking facilities.
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"It is all very well to say people must come and shop in Baldock but where are they going to park?
"Baldock is a forgotten and neglected town at the expense of the show town, Letchworth.
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"The whole situation is getting worse and worse and there is a complete lack of civic pride.
"There is no way shoppers can be attracted under these circumstances.
"There is no hope for the revival of the market and the shops until adequate parking is provided."
Another Baldock resident, John Simon, said: "Town centres all over the county are dying because people have nowhere to park.
"We will kill Baldock if we don't start organising parking in Baldock."
The issue of parking will be addressed as part of North Herts District Council's £2.75m plans to revamp the town - but work is not due to begin until 2008.
Cllr Michael Muir said: "Our town is being blocked up with long-stay parking by either commuters from the station or the people who work in the town.
"What we have to do to be fair to residents and traders is to have one hour parking limits so there is a regular turnover.
"The consultants are working now on this.
"As part of the bigger picture, we may need to introduce a residential parking scheme.
"We can't rush at it without knowing all the information. We must get it right first time."
Cllr Richard Thake, NHDC's portfolio holder for parking, said: "We acknowledge there is a problem with commuters who park in the town centre but don't necessarily contribute to the retail vitality of the town.
"We are looking at the question of on-street controls because we want to ensure that everyone has a chance to park in Baldock in order to use its wide range of facilities.