Following on from your coverage of the Waverley Borough Council Executive meeting, during which the Car Parking Review was discussed, I am writing to express my grave reservations over the manner in which this whole issue has been handled and the principles that seem to underpin it.
What Cllr King has still failed to address is the fact that no objections were received during the consultation period because most people were unaware that there was one going on. The fact that Waverley fulfilled the statutory minimum requirements in terms of advertising is no consolation to those of us who are having to suffer the consequences. I have been told by one of the officers involved in the review that the need for better advertising has been taken on board but I saw no evidence of that from Cllr King.
Nor did I see any sympathy for our views. Indeed, she dismissed the idea that the 50p charge was onerous to volunteers at Haslemere Hall. If she bothered to come into town and actually listened to what shoppers are saying she would realize that it is the psychology of having to pay extra as much as the amount that makes the difference. I have had customers say to me that they have changed away from the Radio Times to a less expensive TV listing magazine because the former has become too expensive – it costs £1.40! Sales of the Financial Times have dropped since the price increased to £3.00 from £2.50. I could go on.
Waverley’s sole justification for increasing the charging period in both car parks and the charges in the Waitrose car park was increased usage. In the long term this does not make economic sense as it ignores the relationship between parking and other activities. Since the introduction of the new charging structure, I no longer use the High Street car park unless I know I am only going to park for less than an hour. If it has affected my behaviour, you can be sure it has affected others and as a consequence the length of time spent by them in the town supporting the local economy. The charges are going up again in April. Is the short term economic gain really worth putting people out of business for?
The complexity of the issue means that it is difficult to demonstrate unequivocally that any single change has had a significant impact but for many of us it is ‘death by a thousand cuts’. This is why Waverley should give us a FAIR opportunity to be heard, LISTEN to our views and ACT on them. At the moment the whole process is not fit for purpose.
President, Haslemere Chamber of Trade
From: JL Nobbs [mailto:removed]
Sent: 12 October 2012 2:24 PM
Attached is a copy of the letter published in the Herald this week, which I thought your followers might be interested to read.