Friday, 20 October 2017

Residents face losing disputed parking spaces

RESIDENTS of Bell Street, Henley, will see their allocated parking spaces halved within weeks.

RESIDENTS of Bell Street, Henley, will see their allocated parking spaces halved within weeks.

Oxfordshire County Council will create four parallel parking spaces alongside the green triangle where at least eight cars can be parked now.

The move follows the decision of a government inspector to reject application for a “stopping-up” order which would have removed public highway status from that part of the street.

Marlow developer Chesterton Commercial wanted to create a new layout for nine private parking spaces outside 94-102 Bell Street but the proposal was rejected by the Department of Transport inspector following an inquiry in August.

This week, residents were sent a letter by Colin Bailey, highways and transport asset manager for the county council, outlining a two-phase plan.

The letter says that following a meeting of Henley town councillors, the county council and South Oxfordshire District Council, phase one will be implemented in April.

All existing lines and signs that relate to the current parking arrangements in Bell Street will be removed. Parallel parking will be set up where cars park diagonally now and the four new spaces will be available for anyone to use.

A full parking review of a 300m radius of Bell Street will be undertaken at the end of May or early June. If any changes are required, a traffic order may be issued.

Mr Bailey wrote: “We understand that you may be disappointed with the inspector’s decision. However, we are seeking to work on the best possible solution.

“As a result of the inspector’s report, there are some safety issues that need to be addressed and the implications and timing of these was a main point of discussion at the meeting.”

Town and county councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “The county council is required by the outcome of the inquiry to keep the road a public highway.

“To do that there are a number of health and safety issues to take into account, including the health and safety of people coming out of their front doors straight on to the pavement and people walking past.

“There is the possibility of cars mounting the pavement and I think that is what they do at the moment, although I have never seen it. With at least eight spaces at the moment there will certainly be some upset.

“The county council will have to do an audit of all the roads in the area to see if any on-street car parking spaces can be found.”

Deputy Mayor Stefan Gawysiak said: “The inspector backed up the town council’s view that the current dangerous and unsafe situation had to end as a matter of urgency. Henley’s parking problems are obvious to all residents and any steps to improve parking in the town are very welcome.”

In March last year, Chesterton Commercial offered to gift the green triangle to Henley if the town council withdrew its objection to the removal of highway status but the council declined, saying it was opposed to “giving away” public land.

Bell Street resident Amanda Chumas, who bought two of the current bays, argued that stopping up would enable nine residents’ cars to be accommodated.

The letter says that following a meeting of Henley town councillors, the county council and South Oxfordshire District Council, phase one will be implemented in April.

All existing lines and signs that relate to the current parking arrangements in Bell Street will be removed. Parallel parking will be set up where cars park diagonally now and the four new spaces will be available for anyone to use.

A full parking review of a 300m radius of Bell Street will be undertaken at the end of May or early June. If any changes are required, a traffic order may be issued.

Mr Bailey wrote: “We understand that you may be disappointed with the inspector’s decision. However, we are seeking to work on the best possible solution.

“As a result of the inspector’s report, there are some safety issues that need to be addressed and the implications and timing of these was a main point of discussion at the meeting.”

Town and county councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “The county council is required by the outcome of the inquiry to keep the road a public highway.

“To do that there are a number of health and safety issues to take into account, including the health and safety of people coming out of their front doors straight on to the pavement and people walking past.

“There is the possibility of cars mounting the pavement and I think that is what they do at the moment, although I have never seen it. With at least eight spaces at the moment there will certainly be some upset.

“The county council will have to do an audit of all the roads in the area to see if any on-street car parking spaces can be found.”

Deputy Mayor Stefan Gawysiak said: “The inspector backed up the town council’s view that the current dangerous and unsafe situation had to end as a matter of urgency. Henley’s parking problems are obvious to all residents and any steps to improve parking in the town are very welcome.”

In March last year, Chesterton Commercial offered to gift the green triangle to Henley if the town council withdrew its objection to the removal of highway status but the council declined, saying it was opposed to “giving away” public land.

Bell Street resident Amanda Chumas, who bought two of the current bays, argued that stopping up would enable nine residents’ cars to be accommodated.

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