Thursday, 19 July 2018

Residents back shop in parking fight

RESIDENTS are opposing plans to change the parking restrictions on a Henley street.

RESIDENTS are opposing plans to change the parking restrictions on a Henley street.

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, is carrying out public consultation on the proposals for a section of Bell Street.

It wants to create two residents permit holder spaces in Northfield End, north of King’s Road, alongside two 20-minute bays.

Three residents voiced their opposition at last week’s Henley Town Council meeting, saying the change would threaten the viability of Northfield End Stores.

Hojugar Arura, who took over the business earlier this year, has already protested.

He says he needs two parking spaces for his staff and a “keep clear” period for customers and delivery vans.

He said: “If they take away the parking spaces it would be very difficult for customers because they won’t have much space.” Doreen Jones, of Rupert Close, told the council: “That area has always been used for the store and people have always used it sensibly.

“Residents of neighbouring houses have historically parked cars there. I’ve lived here for 25 years and have never seen anyone leave their car all day.

“I feel very sorry for the man who has just taken over the store and spent a fortune renovating it. A lot of senior citizens use that shop. If it fails, the premises will remain empty because it will no longer be worth having.

“And who is going to check that the 20-minute limit is being adhered to? You never see a traffic warden at that end of town, let alone a police community support officer.”

Bill Bowder, of Northfield End, said: “The new arrangement would lower the standard of living for residents. That area has been in general use for a very long time and it has always worked well.”

His wife Caroline added: “We want assurances that the needs of residents and the store will be taken seriously.”

County councillor David Nimmo Smith, cabinet member for enviroment, said the consultation period had been extended.

He said: “The council wants to regularise what has become a somewhat informal arrangement but doesn’t wish to disadvantage anyone. I am still receiving feedback so that highways officers and I can discuss the best solution.”

Previously, he said that the shop should be treated no diffferently to other similar retailers in the town with yellow lines outside â?? New News in Reading Road amd Station News in Station Road.

But in a letter to last week’s Henley Standard, former town councillor David Silvester said that people parked outside these shops anyway and were never caught. He said: “Cllr Nimmo Smith has a duty to put the Northfield End Stores in a parking position no worse than it has been in historically, in a position to compete with its competitors.”

The council is also considering introducing a 9m stretch of “no waiting” outside Rupert House School in Bell Street during the week and on Saturdays, parking restrictions outside 11 Northfield End to allow some evening and Sunday parking and allowing some evening and Sunday parking near Adam Court in Bell Street.

It is also considering a formal loading bay with a maximum 10-minute stay in the lay-by outside the shops in Reading Road by Station Road and creating 11 additional residents permit holder bays in Albert Road.

Comments should be sent to: Director for environment and economy, Oxfordshire County Council, Speedwell House, Speedwell Street, Oxford, OX1 1NE.

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