Parking charges turn shoppers away
Sir – Recently I was back in the area for the first time in six months. With my friends from St Albans we went over to Hatfield. While there we decided to have a coffee in the Galleria. As we parked I was surprised to see that they have introduced car
Sir - Recently I was back in the area for the first time in six months. With my friends from St Albans we went over to Hatfield. While there we decided to have a coffee in the Galleria.
As we parked I was surprised to see that they have introduced car parking charges on Sundays again. While we were drinking our coffee we overheard people talking. It was apparent from their conversation that many people avoid the Galleria now that Sunday parking charges have been re-introduced. This could have explained the car park being half empty. Considering that the refurbishment of the town centre is now on hold Hatfield needs to do as much as possible to keep itself on the map. Discouraging people from going to the Galleria is doing the exact opposite.
As regards the town centre I have seen that with the regeneration on hold there are plans to try and improve things. One of the ideas is to put shutters in front of shops which are boarded up.
Would it not be a better idea to try and get them occupied even if they are let out at a peppercorn rent? Perhaps the council could work with the university to encourage start-up businesses.
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One could envisage shops like a small dressmaker, a bookbinder, an independent record shop, etc.
Also the market area could do with a good tidy up. Perhaps a café culture could be introduced so that people could enjoy a coffee in the sunshine after buying their Sunday paper.
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If something is not done quickly I suspect the regeneration will never happen as any potential retail outlets will lose interest forever. However nothing will work unless it is supported by local people - using retail parks for all your needs is not an option!
David Penhallow, Dedham, Essex.