Dear Mr Curl
Haslemere: Proposed changes to car parking.
I am the owner of Greathurst Interiors Ltd, a small business situated at retail premises in Petworth Road, Haslemere, adjacent to Cancer Research. I was made aware of proposed changes to the parking arrangements in Haslemere after a notice was recently posted on a 1 hour restricted waiting sign outside my shop. I would have preferred a more formal method of notification with considerably more time than allowed for objections to be received.
I have read the proposed changes and have some sympathy with the residents who are unable to find car parking adjacent to their homes where they have no off road parking on their own property. In other respects I am against the proposals and wish to express the following objections.
Objection 1: The parking lay-by at the front of my shop in Petworth Road is capable of taking 3 cars and currently has a 1 hour time limit. This is the only available parking at this end of Haslemere and is used extensively by Greathurst customers and by those of adjacent retail shops. The Surrey CC proposal to utilise this lay-by exclusively for disabled parking represents a considerable threat to my business by denying my existing and potential customers any opportunity to park at this end of Haslemere and I am completely opposed to it.
The parking lay-by in front of Greathurst is quite unsuitable for use by disabled drivers, whose inability to exit and enter their vehicles as quickly as able bodied drivers will expose them to risks from passing traffic at this narrow point in the road. Additionally, the area adjacent to the lay-by is encumbered by a very large tree and the paved area is made up of an uneven cobbled surface. Disabled drivers* using this parking lay-by will have to walk or use a wheelchair over 200 to 300 yards to gain access to the main shopping centre, made more difficult by the steep incline at the top of the High Street.
It is clear that the only reason this lay-by has been designated under the plan for disabled parking is that it negates the requirement for a parking ticket machine, which would be required nearby, and fails to take any other considerations of viability, safety or access to adjacent shops into account.
Objection 2: The Surrey CC proposal to introduce on street parking charges and to reduce the number of parking bays available in Haslemere are inappropriate and unnecessary in a small country town and will have a detrimental effect on local traders. The present parking restrictions of 1 hour during shop opening are perfectly adequate to ensure a regular availability of car parking spaces and it is not necessary to change this arrangement.
Haslemere is a small town containing an unusually large number of diverse, privately owned and operated retail businesses. The owners have to work hard to maintain the viability of their businesses and through them the vitality of shopping in Haslemere. The proposed parking changes in the town are unnecessary because Haslemere does not have an existing traffic congestion problem. Traffic may be briefly delayed during peak travel times, but this is as a result of the convergence of two busy local routes at the top of the High Street and not of inconsiderate parking or badly sited parking bays. The Surrey CC parking proposals will actively discourage shoppers from Haslemere at a time when it is vitally important to support small businesses and maintain the viability of the shopping area.
Proposed alterations to the present parking arrangements in Haslemere will have a detrimental effect upon all the traders in the town. The imposition of on street parking charges and the removal of a number of parking bays will discourage and restrict access by shoppers to the town and actively encourage them to shop at out of town shopping areas where parking is free or where there are a variety of multiple retail outlets. Additional parking restrictions in streets on the periphery of the town will penalise staff working at premises within the town by forcing them to use pay parking facilities and will act as a further barrier to recruitment.
Objection 3: The Surrey CC proposal includes a statement of financial justification but, as far as I can see, it does not include details of the cost/benefit analysis which the Council has presumably undertaken and chosen not to disclose. The proposal appears to be a scheme to provide additional revenues to the Council. It provides for little benefit to local residents and additional costs and loss of business to shoppers and traders.
The proposal states that additional revenues from parking will fund the implementation of the new scheme and will finance the enforcement of it. There are no figures provided to support this assertion, leaving one to assume that any surpluses will accrue to the benefit of the authorities. Revenues from existing car parks in Haslemere provide funding for maintenance and enforcement and the very limited additional number of on street parking bays that will require enforcement under the Surrey CC proposals will add very little in the way of enforcement workload while providing substantial additional revenues.
The possibility of residents having the benefit of parking permits is tempting to those who have difficulty with parking near their homes, but it is questionable how many of them realise that these permits are very unlikely to be free of charge. Recent new parking schemes implemented in Farnham by Surrey CC quickly changed from free residential permits to chargeable ones after a relatively short period.
I ask the Council to give serious consideration of my objections to this proposal and to those objections from other local interested parties who agree that the implementation of this scheme is a real threat to the viability of shopping in Haslemere.
Ian R Underwood
Owner, Greathurst Interiors Limited.
cc. Jeremy Hunt MP
From: Ian Underwood [mailto:removed]
Sent: 05 March 2012 12:16 PM
Subject: Parking changes
I have attached a copy of my letter expressing opposition to the proposed introduction of radical and un-necessary parking charges in Haslemere.
Ian R Underwood
*Editor’s Note: This photo was forwarded 6th March 2012. It is a shot of the proposed site for the disabled parking outside Greathurst Interiors.