Dales parking proposals are high street ‘suicide’

NMAM 18-6-13 MC 1'Car Park in Bakewell
NMAM 18-6-13 MC 1'Car Park in Bakewell

Traders and residents in Bakewell have hit out at proposed changes to parking in the Dales, with one business owner describing them as “suicidal” for the high street.

Bakewell Town Council invited people to a public forum on Monday, June 17, to give feedback on Derbyshire Dales District Council’s parking review ahead of submitting their formal response.

But attendees felt the review lacked transparency and appeared to have been “thrown together” in haste.

Cllr Bernard Friar of Bakewell Town Conucil said the review smacked of a “Friday afternoon effort” adding that Derbyshire County Council should have been part of the process, as it controls roadside parking.

Attendees said an overnight parking period from 6pm until 6am was “not sensible” and would not allow revellers enough time to get to their vehicles. They also thought motorists could be “stung” by the 30 minute charge, if jobs took longer than expected.

In addition, proposals to increase parking fees were fiercely contested.

Paul Wilson, Director of Planning & Housing Services, who led the car parking review, said it was “interesting” that proposals were being criticised as many were “suggested by the traders themselves”.

He added: “Claims that the consultation lacks transparency is surprising considering it has been promoted across the district via numerous press releases, social media, councillors, our website and posters in our car parks.

“Around 500 people have completed the questionnaire in a consultation that ends this Friday, June 21. So far as awareness goes, we would also point out that this issue has been the Matlock Mercury’s front page lead story in three out of the last six weeks!”

Mr Wilson stressed that “no decisions” had yet been made and the authority “absolutely understand” the need to promote town centres.