“God-given right to free parking” interprets one Haslemere resident

More views about the Haslemere parking proposals in a cycling blog from Paul M…

It leaves local authorities with quite a conundrum. Traffic and the consequent parking congestion adversely impacts on people’s lives, eg where rail commuters or shoppers park across their drives in pursuit of free parking, even where plentiful paid parking is available, but also on the economic function of a small town – cars parked on-street for lengthy periods obstruct short-term visitors who just want to “pop in” for a pint of milk (leave aside the absurdity of that “need” for a moment) and so damage the interests of local shops. Consequently died in the wool true blue councils like East Sussex and Surrey are making big increases in existing off-street parking charges and introducing on-street charges in places where parking was previously “free”.In Haslemere for example, where I live, the streets close to the high street will have charges of £1/hour (average off-street charges rising from 60p to 80p) with the first 30 metered minutes free. Streets close to the station will have a charge of £1/hour, no free period, and a £5 maximum, compared with £4 for a day in the off-street. You would not believe the outrage this has sparked (actually, you probably would) with residents in the streets where charges are to be introduced strongly in favour, but residents outside those streets noisily protesting. And yes, I do mean residents, at least in part, because a sizeable proportion of the on-street parking either High St or station is by people who live no more than a mile away, within the town boundaries, who can’t be a*sed to walk or cycle, and who seem to think that their god-given right to “free” parking overrules their neighbours’ concerns about noise, obstruction, and heightened risk to pedestrians nearby.

There might be one chink of light though. I have counted a grand total of 12 cycle parking spaces in the town, and I observed on this to our local county councillor who with alacrity put the council highways officers on the case to survey for an increase. I doubt it is because he really gives a monkey’s about cyclists, but it is something he can throw back at protesters as a constructive response to their concerns blah blah blah.

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