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Gerrards Cross shop owners hope traffic wardens will boost trade
1:30pm Sunday 28th October 2012 in News
By Claire Vanner and Lawrence Dunhill
SHOP owners are hoping the imminent arrival of traffic wardens in Gerrards Cross will bring a boost in trade for the village.
Private enforcement firm NSL, which already operates in Wycombe, is due to take over warden duties from Thames Valley Police in the South Bucks district from December.
Many of the prime parking spots in Gerrards Cross are believed to be taken up by train commuters and shop workers.
It is thought the lack of traffic wardens in the village has meant people can park all day in ‘one hour only’ bays - to avoid paying to park all day in the station or council car park.
Carol Dudley, who works at CC clothing store on Packhorse Road, said: "We very rarely get opportune shoppers who can pop in if there’s a space outside, because there never is a space. Most of our customers can’t park right outside the shop."
And Jeanette Salisbury, owner of Bohemian Days on Oak End Way, said: "It means my customers might have somewhere to park so I’m pleased it’s happening.
"The village is chock-a-block with people who park here all day and I’m hoping this could revolutionise it."
Jeanette said the next step should be parking permits for shop workers, which was also backed by Nathan Brine, an assistant at Boy Meets Girl on Packhorse Road.
He said the shop's five staff members have to share one permit between them, which makes finding a parking spot in the village a daily challenge.
Over in Beaconsfield, the town council hopes the traffic wardens will ease problems felt by residents in the New Town.
There have long been complaints about train commuters parking across driveways on residential streets, as well as concerns that emergency vehicles cannot pass through some roads because of the volume of vehicles.
Not all are happy about the move, however. Old Town resident Simon Woolf said: "I would far rather have the police deal with illegal parking. It’s very difficult for them but I think more people trust a policeman to issue a ticket rather than a traffic warden."
Concerns were raised about private parking firm NSL earlier this year after an employment tribunal in London heard managers had operated a "clandestine quota system" in Kensington and Chelsea.
It is illegal to set traffic wardens minimum quotas of parking tickets. The tribunal did not examine whether or not there was a quota system in place, but the judgement found a parking warden had been unfairly dismissed partly due to his opposition to a quota system.
NSL denied setting quotas, saying the tribunal judgement was not a fair reflection on the company and its wardens do not receive any incentive linked to the issuing of tickets.
When the Bucks Free Press asked NSL whether a quota system could ever be used in South Bucks, spokesman Nabil Hanafi said: "Absolutely not. Quotas or anything of that ilk are illegal and we lobbied for them to be made illegal."
In a statement the firm added it had been the only private contractor to call for the law to be changed to make such practices illegal.
Meanwhile, Buckinghamshire County Council, which has contracted NSL, said the company is "fully compliant with the terms of all parking contracts across Buckinghamshire".
It added: "The new contract in South Bucks will be no exception to this in terms of ensuring that civil enforcement officers will not work to quotas."