New strategy could be developed to tackle parking in Harpenden

Salisbury Avenue

Salisbury Avenue - Credit: Archant

Controversial proposals to stop all-day station parking on the streets could be incorporated into a wider car parking strategy.

St Albans council has been consulting on a parking scheme for the Avenues in Harpenden but the proposals have come under fire because residents’ visitors would have to pay for permits and retail staff who relied on free parking on the roads would no longer want to work in Harpenden.

In addition,the close proximity of many roads in Harpenden to the railway station could result in displaced parking and the problem being pushed further out.

The Avenues consultation response is due to be considered by a council car park working party in June and that will recommend if it should be treated in isolation or become part of a wider consultation into parking in the town.

The parking strategy is to be developed to address growing demand for parking in Harpenden where there is perceived to be a shortfall in spaces.

Portfolio holder for community engagement and localism, Cllr Beric Read, is leading the review and will consult with district councillors from Harpenden over the next few months.

Data from the council’s car parks, occupancy rates of bays and turnover will be analysed with the aim of introducing a new strategy in the autumn.

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Cllr Read said: “Harpenden is a very lively and attractive town and it is clear that demand for parking is growing. It is now at the stage where we need to look and see what new approaches are required.”

The Avenues scheme is proposing that sections of the roads should be restricted to permit holders during certain times of the day with some spaces being designated for business use.

But a number of local residents and district councillor Mike Weaver have come out against it pointing to the High Street decline in recent years and the need to make as much car parking available as possible to bring shoppers in.

There are also concerns that the scheme would not stop the parking but just force workers and friends and families of residents to buy vouchers to park at certain times of the day.

Cllr Weaver told the Herts Advertiser last month that he would be pushing for a long-term parking solution for the town rather than the piecemeal approach of dealing with the Avenues alone which he feared would spread the problems elsewhere.