From the Haslemere Parking Action Group
I regret having to write to you all with the news that Haslemere is facing yet another parking issue that will damage our community. Waverley Borough Council is planning to spend £350,000 resurfacing the Wey Hill Fairground Car Park in preparation for pay and display meters. As the Fairground site is Common Land, WBC is obliged to apply to the Planning Inspectorate for consent to carry out these works (S.38 Commons Act 2006). The planning application is now with the Secretary of State, the deadline for objections is APRIL 5th, 2013.
Our main concerns:
- Waverley has failed to carry out a full and proper consultation with the community, WBC’s own Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered their recent informal consultation “disingenuous”. WBC have set aside a £20,000 legal fighting fund to challenge any community objection.
- There has been no assessment or analysis of the impact of both reducing overall parking capacity and charging people to park:
- On shops and businesses in Wey Hill; many are already struggling to survive
- On adults, and parents/carers with children visiting Haslemere library
- On users and workers at the Wey Hill Youth Centre
- On visitors attending services and events at St Christopher’s Church
- There has been no analysis of where the cars displaced by reducing capacity and the new pay and display regime will go. The number of spaces will be considerably reduced as formal bays will be introduced. Those that cannot afford to pay to park all day, for example lower paid shop workers, will be forced to drive around looking for on-street parking in streets already crowded with parked cars, resulting in more congestion and pollution for everyone.
- Waverley BC have refused to listen to holistic community ideas for better long term uses for this valuable Common Land in the heart of our town that will bring wider benefit to the town. Before the planning application had been submitted, Jeremy Hunt personally appealed to the Leader of WBC to delay their application to give time for Haslemere Vision, (the Haslemere Neighbourhood Planning Forum recently formed under the Localism Act at www.haslemerevision.org.uk) to work with the community to draw up a creative long term plan for the Fairground as part of a holistic vision for the town. WBC refuse to consider the option of a far cheaper resurfacing option, without pay and display, that would resolve the current safety pot hole issues while giving time for other options to be considered. .
It is worth taking the time to write to object, the many hundreds of letters written to Surrey County Council objecting to Pay and Display saved our town from parking meters. We understand that if the Secretary of State receives sufficient objections, they will be obliged to carry out an inquiry which would mean a proper consultation process.
The most relevant criteria that the Secretary of State will take into account are:
- the impacts of the proposal on the interests of the neighbourhood and the community: for example the negative impacts on the Weyhill shops, library, St Christopher’s Church and displacement of cars
- any other matter considered relevant, for example the failure to consider alternative, holistic plans for the site such as being developed by the Haslemere Vision
- the fact that Secretary of State Application does not incorporate input from a meaningful consultation or analysis
Objections can be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, The reference number for the case is COM 454, although they will accept any representations that make it clear they are about Wey Hill Fairground. Further information can be found at www.haslemereparking.com.
Objections can also be sent by post to: Common Land Casework, The Planning Inspectorate, Rm 3/25B Hawk Wing, Temple Quay House, The Planning Inspectorate, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN.
Please do forward this information to anyone who may be interested.