Today, Surrey County Council agreed to proceed to advertise their proposals for residents permits and double yellow lines in Haslemere.
This matter was given coverage on Drivetime with BBC Surrey and BBC Sussex where Jane Vickers (JV) interviewed Nikki Barton (NB) of the Action Group and John Furey (JF), Councillor for Transport, Surrey County Council.
JV: Haslemere residents were worried about the introduction of pay & display parking by the back door and one of those against the proposals is Nikki Barton who joins us now on BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey.
JV: Hi there Nikki. What are your concerns then about the parking?
NB: Well, we’re not against some parking controls for the town but what we have been concerned about is that there hasn’t been a holistic, full, open and transparent consultation with the wider public. There are basically some plans for residents’ only permits and yellow lining which are pretty extensive throughout the town. The consultation period happened during the summer so it was a very very small, only 31.5% response rate. People who were directly affected have been consulted but those in adjacent roads and the wider community haven’t been consulted and there will be displacement in fact. We are just hoping that Surrey, during their next consultation period will actually address some of those issues.
JV: Yes, because when you introduce pay & display, if you’ve got it in Street One and not Street Two which is next door, you’re going to go to that street aren’t you.
NB: I should add it isn’t pay & display, it is residents’ only permits which you have to buy. You are also able to buy 120 visitors’ permits a year at £2 each.
JV: What would you like to see happen then? In an ideal world if you accept that something has to happen what would you like to see happen?
NB: The basis of the problem is that Haslemere is a very attractive town, also with a very very good mainline train service. At the moment, what we suffer is a lack of capacity for commuters and also for the people that live and work here in the town. At the moment it kind of works. It’s not perfect. There are bits of congestion and there are streets very near the station who are very much inconvenienced by some commuter parking. We have advocated that those small roads should have those issues addressed straight away and then link with a wider picture for the town of providing more commuter parking, for example, a multi-storey car park at the station. But at the moment our great anxiety is that by introducing residents’ only permits around the town and extensive yellow lining as the proposals foresee you’re actually reducing the effective capacity. A lot of these ROPS may stay empty during the day. I think that what we want is a holistic vision for the town that links with off street and on street parking and this is a very very narrow set of proposals that really haven’t looked at the wider community of the people that live and work in the town.
JV: OK Nikki. Thank you very much for that. Let’s bring in John Furey who’s the Councillor in charge of Transport, Surrey County Council. There seem to be a lot of issues there, John, about not listening to people and perhaps being quite narrow in the solution that you’re proposing at the moment.
JF: I absolutely agree. Haslemere was a complete surprise to me because it had such a strong sense of community and also a desire to improve for all. Previously the perception was that it was not considered by anybody to be an area that could and should and expected to be improved. But, let’s go back to the main issue. The pay & display on street started the whole thing off. That created an absolute eruption of community communication to us. Surrey wants to communicate with the people and so do local government at Waverley and at Haslemere Town Council. Today, we responded to previous petitions and consultations that took place with regards to particular streets requiring and wanting residents’ parking. We’ve moved that forward today and we’re going out to statutory consultation. That will take 28 days. It will then be assessed. More importantly, the community as a whole, because of all this has actually got together and will be creating what I think will be the best way forward for them: A Local Neighbourbood Forum which can address all the problems that they feel they are experiencing and this is being done in conjunction with Haslemere Town Council, Waverley Borough Council, most importantly Network Rail, because Nikki mentioned the car parking around the station. The station is a major artery into London. This is absolutely critical. But we have to address it as a holistic thing. Again, Nikki has said this. Now there are areas of concern within Haslemere that we will have to address as part of all that. You can’t do this in bits and pieces. Haslemere demands and wants an overall view of the things to take place. We will do that.
JV. OK John, we’re going to have to leave it there.