Pub patrons can’t park outside establishment.

Harpenden pub hits out at council “overkill”

A FAMILY-RUN Harpenden pub has slammed harsh new on-street car parking restrictions which are costing them customers.

Ever since St Albans district council (SADC) imposed tough parking conditions on Leyton Road last November, limiting daytime parking to residents with parking permits only, The Silver Cup has suffered a corresponding drop in trade. The traditional coaching inn is situated on Harpenden Common in St Albans Road, next to Leyton Road.

Pub landlady for the past ten years, Liz Gaire, who runs The Silver Cup with sons Charles and Michael, said that when the council consulted local people before altering parking rules, the family had assumed SADC would impose restrictions aimed at stopping commuters parking on the road from about 5am until 11am only.

Instead, restrictions give priority to residents with parking permits between 8.30am and 6pm.

While the pub has a small on-site parking bay, owned by the council, it is limited to just five spaces, which is inadequate given that The Silver Cup also offers six B&B rooms.

Customers don’t always see the council’s signs about restricted parking and get hit with fines. Liz said: “It’s definitely affecting my business.

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“I don’t mind some restrictions to stop people parking [on Leyton Road] all day – that would be a good thing for local residents. But I feel the council has gone into overkill; they have used a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

Mike Gaire said: “I used to have a thriving lunch trade, regularly having 35-40 people to eat and drink during the lunch period. I am now lucky to do 10 covers, and I have been told this is a direct consequence of a lack of parking. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to be told by a customer, ‘I tried to come and eat with you but I couldn’t park so I went elsewhere’.” He said that the restrictions had resulted in Leyton Road having empty spaces “all day while locals have nowhere to park in the area.”

An SADC spokeswoman confirmed restrictions were introduced six months ago to deter all-day parking. She said that before parking conditions were altered, the council had advertised and sent letters informing and asking local residents and businesses on Leyton Road for feedback on impending changes.

She added: “Only a few objections were received and none related to The Silver Cup. The council has since received a complaint about the effect on the business and is arranging to meet with Cllr Mike Wakely and the manager of Silver Cup to discuss the issue. However the restrictions will remain in place until after the meeting, when a view can be taken.”

She said that while “most residents” welcomed controlled parking zones which allowed them to park outside their own homes, the council would look into issues raised by locals and businesses “and try to accommodate the needs of both.”