This letter appeared in today’s Haslemere Herald, from Jane Stopford-Russell, Chairman, The Haslemere Society.
Following concerted efforts by the people of Haslemere, Surrey CC have withdrawn their ill thought out proposals for Pay & Display parking on our roads but we now learn that Waverley BC (WBC) intends this year, and without consultation, to convert the Wey Hill (Fairground) car park to pay & display. The Waverley 2011 Parking Review, published in August, indicated these intentions but few members of the public will have seen this whereas most councillors should have read it but they have remained silent. The electorate should remember this.
WBC are relying on a Dept. of the Environment approval in 1994 to convert the common land which was obtained in spite of serious local opposition at the time. Eighteen years later the councillors we recently elected to serve us deem it not to be appropriate for them to consult the electorate for their views before embarking on a project to surface the Common Land and create a bland revenue raising commuter pay & display car park. We are told that they merely intend to make a statutory Parking Order Notice to indicate the level of proposed charges.
Should this go ahead it will have a seriously damaging effect on local traders and their employees and result in a significant number of commuters abandoning this car park and adding to the clutter of parked cars in roads around the station until a multi storey car park (MSCP) and controlled parking zones are provided for the commuters.
SW Trains have announced that they will not be building a MSCP at the station because they cannot make a satisfactory business case for it and are instead going to create some extra ground level parking capacity on land north of the station. Without a MSCP Haslemere’s parking problems will never be resolved.
In anticipation of this situation arising The Haslemere Society in July 2011 presented WBC with costed and practical proposals for a MSCP on the Wey Hill car park site showing an attractive annual profit. We still await a response from them. Given proper architectural and landscaping treatment MSCPs can look attractive and it would hide the railway tracks, which are not a pretty sight, as part of an overall development. There is a solution to the Common Land aspect. Finding an alternative site for a MSCP is now a seriously urgent matter which Waverley BC cannot and should not avoid.
A recent letter in this newspaper referred to the Wey Hill car park site as being pivotal in the regeneration of Wey Hill and a potential development site for a market square which would complement the attractive St Christopher’s Green. It goes on to call for a strategic and visionary appraisal of this Common Land being required as part of a wider urban vision. The Haslemere Society agrees with this more conceptual approach.
These and more suggestions by the people of Haslemere for the benefit of the Town need to be given serious consideration in an open forum such as a Town Team as recommended in the Government’s response to the Portas Review. The current intentions of Waverley Councillors should be placed on hold until such an exercise is carried through to a conclusion in accordance with the directives and spirit of the Localism Bill. How Waverley Councillors can proceed in this non consultative way after the very recent debacle created by SCC councillors because they did not consult adequately is just not credible. The electorate should remember this.
Please express your views on the impartial blog site www.haslemereparking.com to convey these to Waverley councillors.
Mrs Jane Stopford – Russell,
Chairman, The Haslemere Society