A SOLUTION to the long running saga of car parking in Marlow may still be a way off, according to the leader of Wycombe District Council.
Richard Scott, who also serves as a Marlow town councillor, said a long awaited town-wide parking review commissioned over two years ago may still be "some months" away.
The review, conducted by Buckinghamshire County Council with input from WDC and Marlow Town Council, was delayed until the introduction of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) scheme.
Currently on trial in High Wycombe, it is hoped that data collected from the barrier system in WDC-controlled car parks will give a better understanding of vehicle numbers and traffic flow.
In a letter to the Free Press, Cllr Scott said: "If there was an easy solution to this issue, which affects all towns in the country, we would have found it.
"Just to complicate matters locally, off street parking is managed by Wycombe District Council, whereas on street parking is managed by Bucks County Council.
He added: "The introduction of ANPR is imminent, but I suspect it may be some months before we receive appropriately robust data on which to base any possible changes.
"As regards APNR, which already been successfully trialled in High Wycombe, I believe this will give much more flexibility to those who use our car parks."
Parking remains an issue throughout Marlow, with residents close to the town centre launching a petition in 2011 for permits to guarantee them a space near their homes after the opening of the Sainsbury's on West Street.
In 2012, Bucks County Council shelved a proposed scheme to introduce a residents-only zone on York and Cambridge Roads, much to residents’ annoyance.
Instead, town coucnillors agrued for a more holistic, town-wide solution, fearing the problem of crowded streets could simply be displaced to other areas of town if residents zones were introduced in some areas.
And last month, town councillor Kathy Thomson raised fears workers at town centre businesses could be priced out of Marlow if forced to pay-and-display every day.
With all three councils keen to strike the right balance for visitors, residents and workers, the review was postponed at the town council’s request so data from the ANPR system could be analysed.
In a joint statement by the town council, WDC, BCC, the Marlow Society and Marlow Chamber of Commerce state: "We believe it’s essential to wait until this study is completed before making any changes.
"We understand that during the last two years BCC have put time and commitment towards the current review, but believe that without including an off-street review of the town, the data is insufficient to deliver a solution.
"It is the view of all concerned that we must ensure any changes to parking in and around Marlow are made with all the available facts."
Transport for Buckinghamshire, part of BCC, confirmed the review is still underway and hopes to be able to consult residents after the summer.
Spokesman Dan Elworthy said: "Transport for Buckinghamshire is currently working on producing revised scheme designs in respect of the Marlow parking review.
"These will be produced over the summer months. There will then be a period of consultation with residents." What do you think should be done about parking in Marlow? Share your thoughts with firstname.lastname@example.org