Protest Over Parking

RESIDENTS and businesses are on a collision course over parking in a town centre. Many residents say the loss of parking outside their homes following the multi-million pound enhancement scheme in Baldock will mean long walks to vehicles left in the Tesco

RESIDENTS and businesses are on a collision course over parking in a town centre.

Many residents say the loss of parking outside their homes following the multi-million pound enhancement scheme in Baldock will mean long walks to vehicles left in the Tesco car park on the far side of the town.

Now residents are raising a petition to protest to North Herts District Council (NHDC) saying they have gone back on proposals to give them parking permits.

A letter sent by NHDC in November to residents states: "A resident who lives in designated town centre roads within the core area (Whitehorse Street, Sun Street, Bell Row, High Street and southwards to Mansfield Road, part of Hitchin Road, the southern end of Church Street and part of Simpson Drive) and whose premises have no parking space would be eligible to apply for one permit.


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"This would enable them to leave their vehicle without time limit in one and two hour parking spaces. If the scheme goes ahead residents will be given more information, including how to apply for permits."

But another letter from the council last week reversed that hope.

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The letter said: "Given that a number of objections received to the proposed control of parking, the council has decided to revise the restrictions within the core area. It does not include residents' permit parking."

Leading the campaign to try and get the council's decision reversed is former police officer Chris Sharp, 58, who lives in the High Street, who said: "I was shocked and annoyed at the arrogance of the council's decision not to issue residents' permits.

"The arrogance and blinkered attitude of the council astounds me and a lot of other residents and we will fight this with our petition."

Another resident, Trevor Connah, 61, who lives in Whitehorse Street, said: "My house is landlocked and I need parking at the front for my business vehicle. My wife and I will have to park at Tesco's and have a long walk morning and night in all weathers."

Baldock councillor Ian Knighton said: "We are trying to get this scheme 100 per cent right and try to encourage more people to come to the town."

A spokesman for NHDC said: "The council has consulted residents and businesses extensively to produce a scheme that works best for the community.

"At the last meeting of Baldock Area Committee, traders handed in a 120-signature petition objecting to the proposals and the Baldock Town Centre Partnership also objected.

"In view of their concerns that there would be insufficient parking for their customers, Baldock councillors asked for new proposals to be drawn up.

"A major aim of the enhancement scheme is to reinvigorate businesses and shops in Baldock town centre."

John West, of Baldock Ironmongers in Whitehorse Street, said: "There are very strong feelings between residents and businesses over this parking issue. It is vital to have customer parking.

"I am hoping there is a compromise and the council make certain parking areas for residents. Businesses have nowhere to park and that is another bone of contention.

"Parking has been a problem here for many years. This development has been carried out to ease parking and get rid of commuters. I need the spaces to look after my livelihood like other businesses.

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