The installation of state-of-the-art parking sensors in Marlow town centre has been branded a “fiasco” by a long-standing business owner – amid claims the High Street was completely shut off, affecting shops. 

New ‘smart tab’ parking sensors were finally put in place in the town centre last weekend in a bid to prevent drivers from abusing the limited-waiting parking bays. 

However the installation has been slammed by residents and business owners – including Bernard Burger, owner of Burger’s tea room in The Causeway.

At a meeting of the Marlow Chamber of Commerce, which was hosted by Mr Burger at his eatery on Monday, he criticised the lack of attention from the authorities to the ongoing parking issues in the town and said the parking sensor set-up negatively affected shops in the town. 

He said: “I wrote to Marlow Town Council to complain about the fiasco with the installation of our state-of-the-art parking sensors and the fact we had no parking on half the High Street for most of the weekend and nothing happened about it.

“I wonder whether our local authorities understand that parking is at a premium in this place. Marlow is actually suffering through lack of parking spaces.

“All along this road was shut off and it is understandable that people like me that make our money out of customers that can park and come in and see us. I am upset and I feel that nothing has been done.

“I looked back yesterday and there was parking feasibility studies done in 2000 and in 2010 and still nothing has been done. We are talking about spending money on a brand new leisure centre and we’re talking about better roads in the industrial estate – but that’s only an hour or so in the mornings and an hour and a half in the afternoon.

“We’re talking about the degeneration of Marlow High Street and just nothing gets done. Today I presume the parking sensor is not working as I haven’t seen any enforcement officers at all.”

Resident Rod Braybrooke added: “Because they made a cock-up of the road all they say is ‘I’m sorry’. Who is going to pull these people over the coals? They are still working and still doing it.

“In an ideal situation someone is sacked or hauled over the coals. It is typical of bureaucracy. They have just been able to apologise for it. It is politics but it is disgusting. They just say sorry for disrupting the town.”

Another business owner also complained that parking sensors were installed in nearby Institute Road – even though the whole road is set to be resurfaced.

Cllr Alex Collingwood said Bucks County Council is trying to implement an integrated system across the town so enforcement officers can see where drivers have overstayed their welcome.

He said: “I have made clear to them that they have made a mistake. But we also have problems with our residents parking where they like and when they like because that was causing problems. Where the sensors are put in they obviously need the space to physically install them which in some cases there wasn’t. It wasn’t a case of putting a bit of sticky plastic on the ground they actually had to drill it in and the rest of it.

“I am meeting with the officers later this month because it wasn’t very successful.”

Mark Averill, head of highways at Transport for Bucks explained why the work was carried out as it was at the weekend.

He said: “The recent suspensions across Marlow town centre were to enable two different activities to be undertaken. These included refreshing the existing lines and implementation of new lines for the smart sensor project, and the installation of smart sensor units into the marked bays.

“Unfortunately the lining work was extremely weather dependent and ended up being delayed twice, meaning additional suspension periods were deployed as a result of this.

“The project manager covering both of these projects decided to complete the lining works at the same time as the smart sensor unit installation to reduce further disruption to the area.

“The suspension activities, where possible, were split into morning works on one side of the road and afternoon works (up to 5pm) on the other side of the road, to ensure that the road was never completely closed to the public.”