Have your say on future of high street parking

Temporary seating area outside Cinnabar in Stevenage Old Town High Street

Temporary seating area outside Cinnabar in Stevenage High Street, in place of parking bays - Credit: Louise McEvoy

An online survey has been launched, encouraging people to have their say ahead of potential changes which could see the removal of free parking in Stevenage High Street.

Stevenage Borough Council has successfully bid to become one of Hertfordshire's first Sustainable Travel Towns - a scheme aimed at shifting away from cars, towards walking, cycling and public transport. Part of the criteria - set by Hertfordshire County Council - is to ensure no free parking in town centres, which under the scheme includes Stevenage Old Town High Street.

High Street business owners staged a protest against the plans in April, concerned a loss of free parking will deter customers and could lead to businesses failing.

Parking bays have already been given over to seating areas - including a permanent fixture outside Costa Coffee and temporary ones outside Misya, Angelique, Cinnabar and Wetherspoon - and Stevenage Borough Council is set to consult on further changes in October.

Stevenage Old Town Business and Community Partnership has now launched an online survey seeking people’s views on parking in the High Street.

A spokesman said: "You may have noticed changes taking place in Stevenage High Street. The partnership would like to understand how people feel about those changes and what they feel should happen next.

"The questionnaire is anonymous and only takes a few minutes to complete.

"A summary of the survey responses will be shared with Stevenage Borough Council, to help them understand people's priorities for the High Street."

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Topics covered in the survey include access, free parking, time limits and safety.

A county council spokesman said: “The county council is currently working with Stevenage Borough Council to develop initial ideas for the Sustainable Travel Town proposal.

"To be successful, the STT will need to include restrictions on parking, as well as measures to improve conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users. The exact nature of all the measures required, including the extent of parking restrictions, is still under discussion. Engagement with stakeholders, including local businesses, will take place as the proposal develops further.”

A borough council spokesman has previously said: "HCC would like us to see whether removing free [High Street] parking is a possible option and, if so, to provide a roadmap to do so, potentially over years. We have not committed to removing free parking, and any decision will strike a balance between the promotion of sustainable transport and the effect this could have on businesses."

Complete the survey by midnight on July 31.

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