This article appeared in today’s Surrey Advertiser by Amy Taylor, “Nightmare” parking around Godalming Leisure Centre.
POLICE were called to Summers Road in Farncombe this week when traffic chaos around the new leisure centre hit an all-time low for neighbours.
Residents of Rowbury, the cul-de-sac opposite Godalming Leisure Centre, and others in Summers Road described it as a nightmare on Monday (November 19).
“It’s creating havoc,” said one woman, who asked not to be named. “We’ve lived here for 10 years, but we have had nothing like this before.”
Neighbour Michael Court, whose father was the groundsman on the Broadwater estate from 1929 to 1959, said: “The leisure centre shouldn’t have opened until the car park was ready. That’s what all this chaos is about.
“I don’t usually complain, but now we have to deal with it every day.”
Calls to police coincided with a day of intense building work on the car park ahead of an official opening visit from the Duke of Gloucester on Thursday, with lorries delivering asphalt to create the new spaces on an adjacent field.
The access road to the leisure centre was closed temporarily, which left the surrounding roads more clogged than ever as the regular traffic competed with visitors to the leisure centre.
A police spokesman said a number of people had called to complain that cars were “parked across driveways and on the corner of the junction, causing obstructions and making it impossible to access the road”.
Farncombe neighbourhood officer PC Barry Baldwin said he had been aware of the issue for some time and was working to try to resolve it.
The lack of parking restrictions in Summers Road meant commuters used the road to park for free for the entire day, though neighbours said this had always been the case.
Mr Court added: “It’s only been a problem since [the leisure centre’s] been there.”
PC Baldwin said: “I am well aware of the parking problems in and around Summers Road, Farncombe, and have been trying to find a resolution.
“The situation became worse on Monday because the car park at Godalming Leisure Centre was closed for resurfacing so leisure centre users were parking along the road as well.
“However, the car park reopened on Tuesday which should hopefully ease the situation.
“There are also plans to paint yellow lines along the road once the leisure centre is fully reopened and once these restrictions are put in place, the situation will be resolved.”
In the meantime, PC Baldwin promised to monitor the situation and carry out extra patrols.
Mr Court said more police were needed because cars had become more daring, mounting pavements and nearly hitting pedestrians.
Resident Darryl Reed said the cul-de-sac had become a drop-off point for people to turn their cars around, or wait for their children.
“We bought the cul-de-sac location because it was good for the children,” he said. “Now with the cars coming in and out all the time we don’t want to let them run around.”
However, he was hoping the yellow lines would make a difference, adding that he had also been asked for his opinion on where a tall tree should be planted to block his view of the glass-fronted gym suite.