Wednesday, 10 August 2022

'Get tough on car park misuse'

DRIVERS who misuse a Henley car park could face a crackdown by the town council.

Councillors claim that the Wootton Manor car park in Greys Road is being used for all-day parking by commuters and builders working on a housing development nearby.

It is meant to be used for short-term parking by people visiting the “Top Shops”.

Councillor David Eggleton said he had even seen traders selling vehicles from the car park.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s town and community committee, he suggested offering two hours’ free parking for shoppers and installing a pay and display machine to prevent people staying all day. He added that a permit scheme could be introduced for residents.

But Councillor Glen Lambert opposed this idea, saying it would not have the desired effect and it would take a long time to recoup the cost of installing the machine.

“I live very close to the car park and I’ve never seen it full,” he said.

 “I do appreciate that the builders are abusing it at the moment but they are not going to be there forever. Once they finish the development behind the Top Shops they will be gone. If we put parking meters in, it will discourage people from using the car park. Although you may stop a few people abusing it, the net effect would be detrimental to the people using it.”

Cllr Lambert said he wanted to avoid anything that might have a negative effect on the retailers whom he said had recently had their rents increased by a new landlord.

Councillor Ken Arlett said the car park was full by 10am on weekdays and had been very busy during the last few weeks.

He proposed putting up a sign saying there was two hours’ free parking and suggested asking Sean Roberts, a legally licensed clamping operator working in Henley, to patrol it.

Councillor Sam Evans said: “If we give people at least two hours’ free parking it means there’ll be a fairly high turnover of cars.

“Then when people drive past and think of popping into the shops if they see free parking spaces they will drop in there because we’ve freed them up.”

Councillor Sarah Miller suggested monitoring the car park while the development at the former Makower trading estate continued.

Members voted 4-3 in favour of monitoring the car park and if the problem persisted installing the sign and issuing fines for offenders.

The issue will now be considered by the full council.

Meanwhile, the committee agreed to recommend increases in the council’s licence fees from April 1 next year. The cost of a licence for restaurants and coffee shops to have seating in Market Place would rise by five per cent as would the cost of parking permits for Upper Market Place.

The cost of the licences to use both Red Lion Lawn and its moorings would also rise by five per cent.

The committee was told that the moorings licence was currently held by only Hobbs of Henley and that little interest had been shown by other boat hire operators.

The cost of the licence for use of part of Singers Park for storage by the Angel on the Bridge pub would rise by £50.

The charge for the use of Market Place for markets at the weekend would remain the same.

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