In December, we posted an item about Wiltshire’s plans to extend car-parking charges to Southwick Country Park. Last week the Environment Select Committee produced a report making its recommendations to Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet, which will meet on 30th January 2018.
The report draws on the results of a public consultation held in the autumn of last year and the proposal for the park is below in Appendix 6:
It is good to see (column 4) that the committee understands that the revenue from even extortionate fees (columns 2&3) will never cover the cost of upgrading the infrastructure. Half the car park has spent half the winter under water and that sort of drainage does not come cheap.
Column 5 is quite startling. Wiltshire’s 2017-2027 business plan talks quite specifically about the need for good access to the countryside in order to promote a healthier population, but here they are proposing to off-load the whole problem of access to this piece of countryside on to the local community. And as proposals go, it lacks something in detail.
If the asset transfer/service delegation is not possible, parking fees will be recommended. The last section of column 5 says: Operation MiPermit only. MiPermit is an electronic payment system, no doubt chosen to avoid the problem of vandalised pay-and-display machines and to reduce the cost of security. But many of the park’s users and almost all the Friends who maintain it are past pensionable age and will not have the technology to make an electronic payment. If this is to be the only method of payment, they will, in effect, be barred from the park.
The final decision will not be made at the 30th January meeting. There will be another period of consultation in March and April of 2018.
There is still time to voice your opinion before the cabinet meets next Tuesday, by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: Parvis Khansari, Director of Highways and Transport, County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, B14 8JN
Comments are open.