Anger over car parking chaos in Stevenage

A RESTRICTED parking system has been blamed for driving car users to park on backstreets, residents claim.

The new measures in Stevenage Old Town, introduced by the town’s borough council last month, abolished free car parks and limit the hours in which visitors can stay on the high street.

Residents of nearby streets, such as Grove Road and Basils Road, claim that the cost of parking in the Old Town is causing people to park outside their houses.

Mr Brown, of Grove Road, said: “The system has put significant pressure on residents and roads in the Old Town.

“As people who work in the Old Town are now parking on the roads rather than the previously free parking available. “We want the council to consider the introduction of a residential parking permit of one car per household for residents in the Old Town.”

The restrictions converted the former lorry park on Primett Road, which car drivers had used for free during daytime hours, into a �2 a day car park.

A formerly free car park near Church Lane has also been changed to a paid for system. The car park is situated near Basils Road.

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A resident of the street, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “There are a much bigger number of cars on this road then there was before.

“The car park at the bottom of the street used to be just free but now you have to pay and people are not using it. I was in a shop the other day and the cashiers were talking about where they would park.

“They said they were now parking in Basils Road rather then the car park.”

It is not just local residents that are finding the new measures difficult, with Old Town businesses finding the cost hard to swallow.

Jo Hilsden, the proprietor of T.J’s Caf�, said: “It’s better for trade now that people can come through, but it’s bad for us for coming in to work.

“It would cost us �450 a year to park in the Old Town and the car park on Church Lane is empty, because people are not going to pay that much money.”

Stevenage Borough Council introduced the measures to increase parking turnover to ensure the area’s economic wellbeing.

The councillors involved in bringing about the scheme acted as part of the Old Town, Symonds Green and Woodfield Action Team.

Cllr Graham Clark, a member of the committee, said: “Well I think that the general idea is that we will see how it develops in the first few months. “Then we will have more thoughts about the subject. The problem is as you solve a parking problem you tend to migrate it.

“I have spoken to traders and they say because customers can park they’re getting more business.”

The new barriers in the Primett Road car park have been blamed for causing learner drivers to fail their tests.

However Cllr Clark said that the council were looking into it but “did not know” when action would be taken.