Letter to The Editor, Haslemere Herald, published 2nd March 2012, from Clive Davidson, Chair, Steering Committee, Transition Haslemere.
We commend Haslemere Town Council’s response of 10 February to Surrey County Council’s parking proposals and hope that HTC is successful in getting the SCC proposals set aside to allow for full and proper local consultation. However, we would like to recommend that any such consultation should look more widely than just parking, and consider an integrated and sustainable approach to Haslemere’s parking and traffic that balances the needs of all road users and the overall environment of the town.
At the public meeting on parking on 24 January, Councillor Steve Renshaw of SCC suggested that car parking for the station might be reduced through schemes such as car sharing. Phil Dominey of South West Trains also supported measures to encourage alternative forms of transport to the station when he addressed the earlier public meeting on parking at Haslemere Hall on 27 September 2011. In his response to SCC parking proposals, HTC did some analysis of current parking statistics and concluded that they are “not very encouraging” in terms of persuading more Haslemere residents to give up using a car to travel to the station. We are disappointed that HTC is so easily discouraged from attempting to reduce car journeys, and has not so far indicated that it shares the goal of a more sustainable local traffic and roads strategy .
We believe that with the right measures and encouragement there is an opportunity to at least reduce some commuter-time traffic on Haslemere roads, if not parking itself. We believe this reduction in traffic would bring a number of benefits to the town, such as less busy and safer roads, less wear and tear on the roads, reduced air pollution and reduced carbon emissions.
Less busy roads could encourage more commuters to walk or cycle to the station, potentially creating a virtuous circle where over time road conditions became more favourable for walking and cycling. We recognise that Haslemere’s hilly landscape and narrow secondary roads, often without pavements, are not ideal for pedestrians or cyclists. However, walking and cycling are made more difficult and daunting by the speed of local traffic, which regularly exceeds limits in many places.
Many Haslemere residents are already concerned about the safety of the town’s roads. For example, residents of Farnham Lane are campaigning for the introduction of a 20mph limit or other measures to slow traffic. Haslemere Museum, supported by many residents, has in the past called for a safe pedestrian crossing at the north end of the High Street. At least some of the SCC parking proposals are opposed by residents partly on the grounds that they would encourage further speeding on roads where safety is already an issue, such as on Courts Mount and Courts Hill Roads.
HTC’s letter to SCC cites the Government’s new localism bill and the support it potentially affords to communities to resolve issues for themselves, such as parking. We think this can be applied equally to the town’s traffic. In fact, all these issues – parking, volume of traffic and road safety – are interconnected, and are therefore best solved together. Haslemere needs an integrated approach to its roads and traffic, one that takes into account the needs of all road users and residents and the long-term health of the local environment. We therefore urge HTC to take a more holistic, long-term and optimistic view in its further dealings with parking and traffic in Haslemere.
From: cdavidson [mailto: removed]
Sent: 04 March 2012 3:32 PM
Attached copy of the letter from Transition Haslemere to the Herald on the issue of parking. You are welcome to publish it on your website.
Congratulations on setting up the website – it’s a welcome forum.