St Albans businessman runs out of patience with obsolete signs
PUBLISHED: 18:47 23 February 2011
A ST ALBANS businessman fed up with out-of-date and incorrect parking voucher signs in the city centre has taken matters into his own hands by printing and putting up correct notices himself.
Paul Hargreaves, spokesman for Holywell Hill Action Group, said that despite the Herts Advertiser publicising his criticism of old signs in town incorrectly directing visitors to purchase parking vouchers from Paton Books, which is closed, the council had only altered some signs.
He said St Albans district council had only done “half the job” following his complaint as old signs in surrounding streets remained and “they just look awful.”
Paul explained: “After featuring in this paper on September 28, 2010, about old parking signs in St Albans I have decided to do the job myself. I reported the old signs to the council three years ago and nothing was done.
“I then wrote in to your newspaper and you kindly ran the story and within a week six signs were changed in Holywell Hill. It is a shame that they did not however change any of the other old signs in the rest of the city. So I have changed one of the signs near our shop myself.”
Paul said that one parking voucher sign of which he took a photo was more than six years out of date and, “not only is the information incorrect but they look appalling as well.”
He went on: “We want to welcome shoppers to our city, not drive them away. It will cost less than 50p to change the signs. If the council has no money, I am happy to spend an afternoon changing all the signs for free.
“However our business rates have gone up from an average £500 per month to £1,000 in Holywell Hill within just five years. It seems none of this extra money contributed by local business is being used to promote local business or encourage visitors to the city.
“Parking is crucial to local business but it seems a low priority to council. The oldest signs I took pictures of are in Sopwell Lane which leads off Holywell Hill. But they are the same in Albert Street, Pageant Road and at the bottom of George Street. I have seen them in other surrounding roads as well.
“It would be good if traffic wardens locally could do a check while they are walking around the area.”
The council’s parking contract manager Steve Deakin said: “Thank you to the eagle-eyed resident who spotted these old signs. They are quite right that they are out of date. We are speaking to our parking services contractor NCP about how these were missed and will get them replaced.
“Apologies for any inconvenience residents may have experienced. Residents can report parking issues like this either to the council by telephoning 01727 819395 or via email at email@example.com or to NCP directly on 01727 868129.”