OPEN LETTER TO MEMBERS OF SCC’s WAVERLEY LOCAL AREA COMMITTEE
Before you vote on proposals to bring about changes to parking in our town this Thursday, we would like extend an invitation to you all to come to Haslemere a few minutes before the meeting starts and pay a visit to our High Street. It is just a couple of hundred metres from Haslemere Hall, a two minute walk away.
We would like to show you how the parking bays in front of Costa Coffee and at the bottom of Shepherds Hill are used by a constant stream of people who drive into the spaces, at an angle as they have done for many many years without any problem. You would observe how these drivers and their passengers visit a range of shops in the High Street, this may be the chemist to pick up a prescription, the independent newsagent or book shop, to buy some fish or bread from our small, family run fishmongers and bakery, to order some photocopying from the print shop, or make a purchase at our community charity shop.
There is a one hour time restriction on these bays and so they are used for people paying a quick visit to town. You will also be able to watch drivers successfully reverse out of these spaces. Sometimes the traffic has to slow to let them out, which improves safety for pedestrians and all vehicles. As Surrey County Council is aware these are not accident black spots as despite repeated requests for data, SCC officers are not able to provide any statistical evidence to support the proposal that the current parking regime has become so dangerous that angled or echelon parking must be changed to parallel parking.
A visit to these parking bays would also demonstrate how the change to parallel parking that you are all about to vote on will remove 8-10 parking spaces. We would then like to introduce you, as our elected representatives, to some of the shopkeepers trying to survive in very tough economic circumstances and with growing competition from the internet and out of town shopping complexes where parking is free. They would very much like to share how these free on-street parking spaces are vital to their survival. During your visit you will walk past the growing number of empty shop premises, some vacant for over 2 years. The President of the Chamber of Commerce would be available to share with you how many businesses are teetering on the brink of closure.
Please do come and meet with us before you vote on decisions that will affect our lives and the vitality of our community. We very much appreciated the fact that SCC Leader David Hodge and SCC Chief Executive David McNulty took the time to pay such a visit last year, spending time observing how traffic flows and the parking works. They concluded that the town seems to work pretty well as it is. If you could take the time we would very much like to show you that their conclusion was spot on. These parking bays work very well, no change to the status quo is needed or wanted (as over 50 letters of objection testified) and as David Hodge himself stated back in November, “It’s important that local people can park outside shops.”
Unfortunately there will not be sufficient time for us to take you to the very small stretch of pavement in front of the Methodist Church, where SCC intends to paint the double yellow lines that you will be voting on. The church has repeatedly had its pleas for consideration ignored by the LAC, so we would like to show you how much this limited section of unrestricted parking means to those who have mobility problems. A visit would give you all the opportunity to observe that, although this space is not parked on very often, it is a vital parking space for some of the most vulnerable members of our community as it serves the church, including community activities, as well as the small row of shops (including a chemist) adjacent to the church. We understand that these proposed double yellow lines are being justified on the grounds of safety and congestion, but no statistical evidence has been given to support this.
Do let us know if you are able to come in time to include a visit to our great independent tea shop, Darnley’s for a cup of tea or coffee. We will be there from 1.30pm to welcome anyone that can make it. It is just opposite one of the parking bays in question and will provide a perfect vantage point from which you will be able to to see for yourselves how well the existing parking bays function.
We very much look forward to hearing from you.
From: Nikki Barton [mailto:removed]
Sent: 23 January 2013 1:43 PM
Subject: OPEN LETTER TO MEMBERS OF SCC’s WAVERLEY LOCAL AREA COMMITTEE