Rethink over Harpenden parking problems

CONCERNS over parking control measures proposed for a residential street have prompted the council to reconsider their plans.

Marquis Lane in Harpenden is heavily used by those visiting the adjoining open space as well as residents and St Albans district council (SADC) wanted to create a shallow ditch and low bank along the stretch between Station Road and Crabtree Lane to protect the verges.

But some residents were unhappy with the proposal due to the lack of alternative parking and the consultation process was also criticised.

In response, the council put the plans on hold and have since organised a meeting to take place next Tuesday (July 19) to discuss the options and to collect feedback with a questionnaire that has already been sent out.

In a statement residents Paul Howe and Pip Martyn said: “SADC’s preferred option is the bank and ditch as they feel it will enhance the area and that bollards are unsightly and that yellow lines take enforcing at all times.

“We feel, as some other residents do, that any restrictions to the area will cause major upheaval to residents and visitors to the area, whether it’s to visit the shops, local pub, park or residents themselves. We do not understand the council’s determination to achieve this when as far as we know there have only been a small handful of complaints from residents.”

They said they had spoken to other councillors and highways employees and none agreed that the ditch and bank was a good solution or would have any positive affect on the local community.

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They added: “We feel that their lack of surveys into the matter and guesswork regarding amount of vehicles actually based in the area (they hope to get this information from the short form we now have to fill in) is nothing short of peculiar.”

Mike Lovelady, head of legal, democratic and regulatory services at SADC, said: “Local residents and councillors have raised concerns with us about regular unauthorised parking along the edge of the open space that borders Marquis Lane, between Station Road and Crabtree Lane. This activity is causing damage to the open space, is potentially dangerous for pedestrians and is affecting the enjoyment of users of this open space.”

He added: “We propose to introduce some form of protection to the open space and are putting forward possible options at this meeting. We have invited residents to provide feedback on these options by completing a survey which has already been sent to them along with an invitation to the meeting.”

Five options being put forward are to do nothing, introduce double yellow lines alongside the green space, introduce a verge ban on the green space with signs erected, implement a mini controlled parking zone covering the whole of Marquis Lane which would require residents to purchase a permit for their vehicle if parking within the hours of control or the original idea of creating a ditch and bank.