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Disappointment at council's decision to lease out public parking bays
PARKING bays available to parents and residents have been reduced next to a Loudwater park after a council has leased out spaces to businesses.
Wycombe District Council (WDC) has leased out 65 of its 130 spaces at its car park next to the Kingsmead recreation ground to the owners of Kingsmead Business Park.
Some parents of pupils at Loudwater Combined School have had to park elsewhere for the morning school run and there have been concerns raised that the wider public was not consulted on the decision.
Trevor Snaith, district councillor for Ryemead, said: "Residents have been up in arms. Myself and Cllr Ray Farmer are disgusted at the cavalier attitude of WDC.
"Yet again WDC are giving away public assets without due consideration of needs of local residents and other factors at play."
Headteacher Clare Cunnington from Loudwater Combined School said it has had a huge impact on parents as there is limited room to park.
She said: "That is where they have been used to parking to walk along the road and drop off their children safely.
"They are now having to park on the road and further away, which makes their lives difficult."
Mrs Cunnington said the worst thing is there was no consultation about the change and although there was no formal agreement with WDC, the council did not seem to have taken the time to see who uses the car park.
She said: "The health and safety of the children really doesn't seem to have been taken into account."
Spokesman for WDC, Nick Sykes, said: "We are aware of the informal use made of the car park by others and specifically as a drop-off/collection point by parents of children attending the local school.
"As far as our records show, there is no agreement with the school for such use as part of the School Travel Plan, however."
He said the council recognised the spaces were under utilised for much of the time and the council were approached by the owners of Kingsmead Business Park to lease spaces.
He said this was considered feasible as the car park was empty during core business hours and letting of the space would support the council’s objectives for economic development by making sure businesses stayed in the area.
Mr Sykes also said: "The council is seeking ways to make better use of its assets and so help the burden on council tax payers. By letting part of the business park to use the car park and so generating an income to the council, this is considered a compatible use alongside those using the recreation ground."
Terms have been agreed for the business park to take half the car park between Monday to Friday between 7am to 6pm. This agreement is for five years with council lease break options.
He added: "Given we were still making provision to continue wider public use on part of the car park, we did not consider the need to consult more widely."