This update was e-mailed to a distribution list yesterday by The Action Group.
SCC Parking Update
You will have heard that SCC’s Leader David Hodge stopped all of the parking proposals from going ahead – this was as a result of our combined protests and the threat of legal action given the appalling process of consultation and decision-making at the infamous March 16th meeting of the Local Area Committee. Since then, we have been in touch with SCC’s senior officers and liaised with the new mayor, Cyndy Lancaster, and Cllr Stephen Mulliner in order to ensure that any revised proposals coming forward in the autumn are the subject of full and open consultation. At last Friday’s Local Committee, SCC issued a statement confirming that such a consultation will indeed take place. Inspite of recent criticism in the Haslemere Herald of the delay in some roads’ proposed residents’ bays being implemented, we are sure it was right to hold SCC accountable for their lack of due process up until now and to steer them towards a more collaborative and transparent way forward. We plan to keep the spotlight on them going forward!
(Editor’s note: Read Surrey County Council’s announcement here.)
We feel that our collective efforts have shown that the voice of Haslemere can be heard by ‘the powers that be’… that we don’t have to sit back and accept plans that are not good for the community… that speaking up makes a difference!
Waverley’s Tax on Evening Events
Turning to the separate topic of Waverley’s car parks, there is a new issue that affects anyone who enjoys all the films, plays, shows and other events at Haslemere Hall and the Haslemere Museum. In February this year the car park charges in the Chestnut Avenue and the Waitrose car parks wereincreased, and the hours of charging were extended from 6pm to 7pm. This change affects all the 200+ volunteers who arrive early to help to set up at both the Hall and the Museum, as well as people attending events such as the Live Satellite shows (that have to start at 7pm as they are broadcast live from venues around Europe), children’s theatre classes and shows, events at the Museum and anyone needing to park while dining at a restaurant in town early in the evening. Haslemere Hall is now in the perverse situation of having to offer to refund volunteers for their evening parking tickets, effectively eating into the very small grant they receive from Waverley BC.
While Waverley did fulfill the minimum statutory consultation requirements (a small public notice in the back of the Haslemere Herald and a public notice that was totally obscured by condensation in the Chestnut Avenue Car Park), there was no attempt made to seek input from either Haslemere Hall or the Museum. Even after the manager of the Hall wrote to object, WBC’s response has been less than encouraging – Cllr Robert Knowles has written that volunteers should essentially be happy to pay for the privilege of volunteering! This is compounded by the fact that Cllr Carole King, who holds the parking portfolio for WBC, has been a trustee of the Hall and is currently the special WBC observer/supporter to the Hall. We accept that charging for parking between 9.00 and 5.30 pm is acceptable, but extending the charging into the evening is effectively a tax on the cultural night life of our town. Even SCC’s final (but doomed) pay-and-display proposals only involved charging until 5.30pm!
Window of Opportunity to Object
Cllr King and WBC approved the extension of charging hours, stating that no objections were received from Haslemere – given that no-one knew about the changes it is hardly surprising! We now have a chance to let them know that we do object, but we need to do so by the end of July, before WBC finalises its review.
We are so lucky to have both Haslemere Hall and the national award winning Museum in our town. Both are charities and they rely entirely on volunteer help and the custom of the local and wider community. We believe that WBC should revert the charging hours back from 7pm to 6pm, in order to support these institutions. We will be submitting letters of objection and are collecting signatures on a petition to this effect, as part of the public comments feeding into Waverley’s parking review taking place at the beginning of August.
The petition has been circulated throughout the shops in the town, and online at haslemereparking.com. Please also write to Robert Anderton, WBC Head of Environmental Services (Rob.Anderton@waverley.gov.uk) with copies sent to Mary Orton WBC Chief Executive (Mary.Orton@waverley.gov.uk), and Cllr Carole King, Parking Portfolio Holder (Carole.King@waverley.gov.uk). To ensure we have an accurate record of the number of letters sent, please send a copy to the Haslemere Town Council or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Editor’s note: Read blog post with information about the petition here.)
The parking charges are being reviewed in August so there is not much time to object! Please feel free to forward this email.
Nikki and Jerry Barton
From: Nikki Barton [mailto:] Sent: 04 July 2012 2:00 PM
FYI: Please find below a general parking update, including information about the WBC extension of parking charges that we are circulating. Please do feel free to either forward, or to use any bits of it that may be useful.