Below is an excerpt from the response Carole King of Waverley Borough Council (WBC) gave to Melanie Odell of Haslemere Town Council (HTC) re. WBC giving free parking after 2pm during the Southern Gas Networks (SGN) works (as they did about ten years ago when the High Street was closed for similar works). What planet are WBC living on?! Quite apart from thinking the effects will be ‘minimal’, SGN expect three years of audited accounts prior to the works, three years of weekly sales figures and will not give compensation until they have seen audited accounts for the year in which the works take place – in our case this means early 2014 – a bit late if your business is on a knife edge!! The only help they have given is to allow residents who currently have to park on the street in Bridge Road and West Street parking permits for the car parks but this is merely sensible and I would hope would never be in doubt. Looking after our community? Don’t make me laugh! Incidentally, SGN have not yet mentioned to anybody that they DO offer compensation – funny that.
Email from Cllr King as follows:
“I am sorry that you are disappointed that Waverley is unable to offer free parking in our off-street car parks during the closure of Lower Street but, as I pointed out, traders are able to recoup any trading losses during the period directly from SGN, whereas Waverley has no such mechanism I’m afraid.
Stephen Mulliner tells me that HTC is funding additional signage to ensure the public are well aware that Haslemere is open for business as usual during the gas works and I’m sure the Chamber will use the opportunity of the Charter Fair as a vehicle to reinforce the message with their customers and visitors as well.
I’m sorry not to be able to tell you what you want to hear on the retail front but with the easier movement of traffic through the West Street route I am hopeful that the effect of the gas works will be minimal for us all.”
When I wrote an impassioned response all I got back was that if revenue goes down in the car parks rates will rise – how’s that for sympathy?