From the Action Group:
This Thursday, Jan 24th at 2.30pm the Surrey County Council (SCC) Local Area Committee will meet in Haslemere Hall to vote on some parking proposals that will have a negative impact on the community of Haslemere. (Agenda and report can be found here pages 27-70).
On Thursday the Local Committee will vote to effectively remove 8-10 free on-street parking spaces from the High Street/Shepherds Hill at a time when many of the shops and businesses in the town, like many others across the country are struggling to survive (see maps below indicating: CONVERT EXISTING ANGLED PARKING TO PARALLEL PARKING.) SCC is proposing to enforce an existing traffic regulation order that will change the current angled or echelon parking in the bays outside Costa Coffee and at the bottom of Shepherds Hill in front of Dragon Print to parallel parking. The removal of 2-3 parking spaces in front of the Cancer Research Shop on the Petworth Road to make way for a bus stop displaced by the planned zebra crossing will further exacerbate the situation.
This change is justified on safety grounds, however we have been unable to obtain from SCC any statistical data on the levels of accidents at these locations and it is questionable if changing the angle at which drivers park will have a great impact on reducing the risks associated with parking in Haslemere. In fact it could be argued that the current arrangement is possibly less dangerous as drivers quickly drive into the angled spaces vs trying to parallel park in a very deep bay, in the case of Shepherds Hill on a steep hill.
If SCC do take away these vital free spaces, local residents and passing shoppers will not bother stopping to shop, and we will all suffer as more shops close and the High Street will effectively become just a through route to the out of town Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s where parking is free. Even SCC’s Leader, David Hodge speaking as recently as November last year said:
It’s important that local people can park outside shops.
And yet SCC have ignored 53 letters of objection, and claim without any evidence that the current angled parking is too dangerous for us, dictating that we must park parallel to the curb.
The Committee will also vote on Thursday to proceed with extensive double yellow lining on Three Gates Lane despite 45 letters of objection, and only 2 in support. These spaces provide vital free parking spaces for shop workers who are often on low wages.
The Methodist Church has repeatedly asked that SCC leave the small stretch of parking in front the church as it is, it provides vital parking for mobility impaired visitors, and the shops at Junction Place. SCC have again ignored their pleas, and 13 letters of objection and will vote on Thursday to double yellow line in front of the road, on unproven safety grounds.
(Here is SCC’s Haslemere Objection Overview)
Please do come the meeting on Thursday to show your support for our shops, businesses and the Methodist Church. Please write to protest at these proposals that will harm the vitality of our community to David Hodge, email@example.com and Richard Bolton SCC Highways Dept, firstname.lastname@example.org, with a copy to Jeremy Hunt MP, email@example.com. We have included the contact details of the Local Committee members that will make the decision on Thursday, if you have the energy do also send a copy of your letters to them. It is worth writing, we have been successful in stopping Pay and Display coming to Haslemere because so many people took the time to write and protest.
Nikki and Jerry Barton