Rickmansworth chamber of commerce director Nina Hosking has criticised the Three Rivers District Council, saying they acted unfairly when changing parking charges in the town.
Nina believes the lack of a consultancy period is causing angst and worry among the town’s business owners.
New parking charges were implemented in the town on April 16 and have proved controversial among Ricky residents, with no other town in the Three Rivers District receiving the same parking charges.
Visitors to the town centre used to get two hours of free parking in short-stay car parks, which has been changed to one hour free and a charge of £1.00 to park for a second hour.
Nina said: “A lot of businesses on the high street are anxious.
“There was no consultancy at all on this and it’s just not fair on the residents.”
Nina argued that there is currently no way of policing the two hour parking period for cars in the town centre and therefore, no way of judging its effectiveness.
She said: “Instead of just rolling out these changes, they need to first try and police it to see if they are needed.
“I understand the need to generate revenue, but they need to think about the people this will affect.”
Nina also bemoaned proposals for a staff parking permit that would set back people working in Rickmansworth £1040 per year.
The same people who proposed this permit allegedly also recommended a separate council staff parking permit for use in the main council car park, which would cost just £10 per month.
Nina said: “We’re paying for them to do a job for us and they expect cheaper parking. It’s one rule for them and another for everyone else.”
Conservative councillor Paula Hiscocks voted against the changes and claimed that Three Rivers District Council hired a consultant for £10,000 who made three recommendations, none of which were considered.
A spokesperson for Three Rivers District Council said: “Nina Hoskins appears to be at odds with her fellow directors at the Chamber of Commerce.
“The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce recently had a meeting with the Council’s Chief Executive and Director and misinformation about the parking proposal was just one of the items on the agenda.”
The spokesperson also pointed out that the council’s reasons for increasing the parking costs were to allow enough spaces for outbound commuters, to enable local workers to find parking spaces, to encourage shoppers to visit and move on for short stays and to accommodate visitors.
The spokesperson added that a consultant was hired to investigate public car parks, but that it was ‘simply not true’ that only three recommendations were made.
They said: “The Council is continuing to investigate future opportunities including those contained within the consultant’s report. Any new schemes or charges to be implemented have been or will go through the appropriate statutory processes including public consultation.”
Picture courtesy of Ryan Gray