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Doubts raised over Beaconsfield Old Town parking overhaul
A NEW parking system put forward for a problem-plagued town centre has been met with doubts and concerns from councillors.
South Bucks District Council made a presentation to town councillors and residents last week on a proposal to create 45 paid-for parking bays in the Old Town.
The system is designed to increase turnover of short-term users and free up spaces elsewhere in the Old Town.
There have been growing calls for a solution to the free long-term parking that residents say is preventing visitors and shoppers from coming to the area.
Much of the Old Town is currently designated common land or owned by Hall Barn Estates (HBE), and so parking enforcement is not possible on the site.
But SBDC have been in talks with Bucks County Council and HBE about a ‘land swap’ deal to release the land from its common status and allow regulated parking to take place.
Town councillors, who were asked to support in a public consultation on the scheme, cast doubt on how useful the parking project or public consultation would be.
Cllr Alan Walters said the consultation must take into account a wider area than just Old Town residents, as it is often people from further afield taking advantage of the unlimited free parking.
He also said the chargeable hours, proposed from 8 am until 7pm, should be extended to stop parking problems continuing into the evening.
Cllr Matt Denyer, who is also a district councillor, queried whether the additional 45 paid-for spaces would make any difference to the problems in the area.
And Cllr John Reed suggested the paid-for spaces, which are proposed along the A40 and near London End, may be better positioned in the West nearer Windsor End.
Chris Marchant, SBDC’s head environmental officer, said matters such as these were why a consultation was needed, with a final decision set to be taken through the district council.
Preliminary talks have taken place with residents groups The Beaconsfield Society and BOTRA, with both voicing their support for the scheme in theory.
BOTRA chairman John Brown said: "To date options have been frustrated by the common land issue which prevents any form of controlled parking being implemented in London End.
"BOTRA are supportive of efforts to find a meaningful solution to the parking issues in the Old Town."
Town councillors voted to support a public consultation on the new scheme at last Thursday’s meeting, but requested to be fully involved in the process.
However, this was after Cllr Nick Naylor, SBDC’s portfolio holder for environment, said the consultation would be likely to go ahead even without the backing of the town council.
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