Fleet parking restrictions to be scrappedBy Stephen Lloyd
January 22, 2013
TOWN centre parking restrictions, which have caught out more than 12,000 drivers, are to be scrapped.
Hart District Council has been working with Fleet Town Council in a bid to resolve an issue that has been rumbling on for six years.
Thousands of drivers have been caught out after parking in loading and unloading bays in Fleet Road. But Hart District Council confirmed last week that free 30 minute parking will be returning.
Enforcement stopped in April 2011 following a parking appeal. Fleet resident Adrian Tate, who parked in one of the bays for no more than 10 minutes to buy a balloon for his daughter’s 18th birthday, appealed and the issue was thrashed out before the independent parking adjudicator Andrew Keenan, who ruled the signs were misleading and defective.
Hart has been busy reviewing its pay and display parking arrangements with parish and town councils across the district.
As part of the review, county councillor Sharyn Wheale said she has been working on a more effective solution for both traders and the community. She added that following an agreement between Fleet Town Council and Hart, she has requested that Hampshire County Council provides free 30 minute parking along Fleet Road.
Cllr Wheale said: “It had been expedient to wait for the outcome of the district council’s review, as this will now provide a balanced service and a more complete strategy for car parking.”
Councillor Gavin Evans, Hart’s cabinet member for Fleet, said he had discussed a number of options with Fleet Town Council, which wanted to make short-term parking more attractive in the town.
“They requested a low cost 20p half-hour ticket (for council car parks) and to do away with the free 30-minute red bays, and this is what I have agreed to do,” he added. “We are also going to simplify the evening charges, which will now start at 6pm.”
Kevin Whibley, chairman of the Fleet Business Partnership, has welcomed the news.
He said: “It has been a very long time coming, and is very welcome indeed.
“It is great the county council has finally agreed that the free parking on Fleet Road should be returned. It is just a shame that they did not listen and act sooner before so much damage was done.
“But once changed, I hope we can draw a line under this sorry situation that has dragged on for more than six years and move forward to a more prosperous future for the town.”
Mr Whibley, who owns Capture Moment photographers in Fleet Road, said he also noted the 20p for 30 minutes’ parking option.
“I hope this will prove to be an excellent incentive to the short-term shopper,” he said. “The red bays were often contentious as it was luck of the draw and if you could not get one it could cost you 80p for your short visit. This does seem fairer but only time will tell.
“I would like to thank the town council’s proactive approach to the businesses of Fleet in pushing this through and I look forward to now seeing the changes made as soon as possible.”
District councillor Jonathan Glen, who led the car parking review, said that each parish council had different priorities when it came to supporting residents and businesses.
He said: “In Odiham, Hartley Wintney and Hook the parish councils wanted to encourage more use of the car parks for people who otherwise would park on street all day, people like those who work in local businesses. So for these villages we have reduced the all-day parking charges and season tickets.”