Monday, 15 August 2022

Car park charge plan abandoned

CHARGES will not be introduced at a public car park in Henley over fears drivers would start parking in a nearby residential road.

Town councillors were considering a £3 daily charge for use of the facility in Mill Lane, which is one of two free car parks in the Henley, along with another in King James Way.

The car park has 55 spaces and so could generate about £25,000 per year, which could have been used to fund toilet facilities in the area.

It is used by people visiting Mill and Marsh Meadows and on matchdays by Henley Town Football Club.

The council rejected similar proposals in 2015 and at a meeting of its recreation and amenities committee, members were worried that charges would see drivers instead park on Mill Lane for free.

Councillor Ian Reissmann said: “I’m curious what problem we are trying to solve or what improvement we are trying to put in place. The introduction of charges would involve investment on our part and overheads.

“We have tried to do this before and it was met with surprisingly high resistance.

“I would say review it again in two or three years’ time to see if there’s a need or if it improves the lives of the town’s residents.”

Councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “Do we have any assessment of how many people are parking there for the day and how many for an hour or two to walk their dogs?

“What I don’t want to do is put something down there that makes people use Mill Lane, which has no yellow lines. I want to make sure legitimate users of the lane are not compromised.”

Councillor Sam Evans added: “Every time I use it you see people getting out to go for a dog walk or swim. I would question the number of people there for longer than two or three hours.

“Once we start charging it’s incumbent on us to make sure the upkeep is better than it currently is. It needs a detailed study over a period of time otherwise we are wasting money on it.”

But other councillors said charging for the car park would bring in money to improve the area.

Councillor Sarah Miller said: “I’m all for this. It came up some years ago and didn’t go down well with locals but I think it’s time to charge. I would go as far as to say that £3 is not enough.”

Cllr Miller also suggested discounts or free parking for Henley residents.

Councillor David Eggleton said: “You can’t put a big figure on this car park because it’s only busy at certain times.

“You can probably charge a different rate at weekends and the people of Henley could have a permit or token.

“In the winter time it could go back to being free because it’s not used as much.”

Meanwhile, the town council has agreed to pay up to £3,200 for a fence at Greencroft allotments off Remenham Hill to stop deer eating the plants.

Dave McEwen, who chairs the Henley Allotments Association, said he had sought quotes from contractors for 150m of fencing at the end of the site off Matson Drive.

He said: “We have a family of roe deer which started visiting the allotments at the back end of last year.

“It’s become a more serious problem as spring came on. There’s been a big explosion in their population in the area.

“They are just voracious eaters and it does need urgent action. We have had a muntjac problem which you put up with but they are eating almost everything.”

Two sides of the allotments already have fencing erected by neighbours, while the side separating the plot from Henley Cricket Club has thick hedging.

The association could use standard 6ft deer fencing or a closer mesh 4ft horsewire fence, which would also keep out muntjac deer, with an extra strand at the top to prevent roe deer from jumping over.

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