Parking permit sell off given the go ahead

A CONTROVERSIAL scheme to allow non-residents to park in permit-only areas across North Herts has been approved by a council, despite fierce opposition from residents who live in these areas.

As reported by The Comet last week, North Herts District Council wants to charge motorists �500 per year to park in permit-only residential streets across Hitchin, Letchworth GC and Baldock.

The move was approved on Tuesday by Cabinet, but those living on permit-only roads have slammed the move, claiming it will cause “havoc” in their streets.

Charlie Tonkiss of the Hitchin Triangle Residents’ Association said: “The whole purpose of the residents parking scheme will be lost if permits are offered to non-residents. Obviously no commuters will park at the station if they can park anywhere in the area for approximately half the cost of parking at the station.

“If this were allowed, we would soon be in a situation where our streets were as busy as they used to be, but this time we’d be paying for the privilege.

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“How would the council restrict numbers? How would the council prevent Triangle roads bearing the brunt of commuter parking again, given the proximity to the station? We cannot see any advantage to residents.”

A Letchworth GC resident who lives near the railway station but did not wish to be named, said: “Before the permits were introduced, I used to watch where people who parked on our road went. Usually, it was into an office in town.

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“When parking was ‘free for all’, the artificially high number of parked cars created a hazardous environment for road users and pedestrians alike. It was also not much fun to live amongst what was effectively a weeklong overflow car park.

“It is difficult to see how they [NHDC] can seriously propose an on-street parking option when the existing long-stay floors of the multi-storey car park in Letchworth are constantly under-utilised,

“NHDC should ensure that all of their long-stay car parks are full before deciding to burden residential roads with unnecessary congestion. Their failure to do so is appalling, with local council taxpayers, who fund the multi-storey, clearly not getting the best value for their tax pound.”

Cllr Tom Brindley, NHDCs portfolio holder for planning, transport and enterprise said: “Not every controlled parking zone (CPZ) will be suitable for the scheme. The sale of parking permits will be very tightly controlled and each road will be considered on its own merit. Residents’ parking needs will still remain the primary concern and will always be given priority.

“This is an innovative scheme that has already received full support from both the all party Parking Strategy Task and Finish Group and the Scrutiny Committee. We will now begin the process of examining CPZs to identify any areas that are be suitable for the scheme and to assess the maximum spare capacity in each street.”

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