New car parking charges which could be introduced in Rickmansworth are causing concern for businesspeople in the town
Three Rivers District Council has considered introducing a short-term parking charge and long-term commuter parking.
One hour of free parking in short-stay car parks has been discussed, with a new fee of £1 to park a further hour. Visitors will also be able to park for longer at £2.50 for three hours and £4 for four hours.
The changes were proposed by a cross-party Working Group to address the growing problem of providing free car parking, which costs local taxpayers £180,000 each year.
Shirish Chauhan is the chairman of the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce and said the response from the local business community to the proposed changes has been universally negative.
He commented: “Parking restrictions will make it easier for consumers to head for supermarkets and shopping centres with free parking for their shopping requirements. Some of the concerns of local businesses would be alleviated by placing the proposals on hold pending the results of an assessment involving local businesses and residents who use and support them.”
Paula Hiscocks represents Rickmansworth Town on Three Rivers District Council and started a petition against the charges.
She explained: “I felt that the high charges and the extension of the parking time to four hours will destroy Rickmansworth and prevent the turnover of parking spaces. The comments from over 1,000 people who have signed in only five days totally back up my fears.
“One hour is hardly time to pop into a couple of shops let alone stop for a chat or a coffee. The council will be shutting down our community as well as local businesses just to fund a parking deficit of £180,000 . This has been caused by bad management of the parking contract yet it is only Rickmansworth which is looked at to pay for this.”
The proposed changes are intended to protect taxpayer’s money and increase the turnover of vehicles using short-stay car parks in Rickmansworth, making it easier for shoppers and visitors to find parking.
In October, it was decided that payment would be accepted by card only. New machines that don’t accept cash will be introduced in all car parks across Rickmansworth.
The changes are part of a consultation that ends on February 5. If the proposed scheme goes ahead it is likely to start in late spring 2018.
The proposed changes can be viewed at www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/traffic-order-notices
Any responses must be put in writing and posted to the District Council or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Picture Courtesy of Les Mead