Fears over Hatfield parking restriction proposals

PLANS to introduce parking restrictions in Hatfield have come under fire from business owners, who believe the move would kill the town once and for all.

Welwyn Hatfield Council has written to businesses in the town centre asking them to fill out a questionnaire on employee and customer parking habits.

The feedback would inform a proposal to place a two-hour free parking limit in the car parks surrounding the centre.

But business owners have rejected the idea outright, with many believing unlimited free parking is the town centre’s sole attraction for shoppers.

Carl Welch, owner of CW Carpets, said: “I think if you do that you will kill the town centre and all the businesses feel the same.

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“They’re suggesting a two hour parking limit. Where are all the people living in the flats going to park? Where are all the businesses going to park?

“If you wanted to pop into the town, chat to a few people and have a coffee, you’re not going to do that – you’re going to be looking at your watch worrying about getting nicked.

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“I thought they were going to make a go of the town centre, but they’re just making it worse.”

Toffee Odusina, who owns Defaith Hair and Beauty Salon in the town centre, said businesses should start a petition against the plans.

“It’s becoming a nightmare,” she said.

“The parking is the only advantage of Hatfield. It’s the only reason people still come here.

“I’m really furious. I think we need to start a petition.”

A Welwyn Hatfield Council spokeswoman said a full consultation with residents and businesses would begin at the end of the month.

“A letter and questionnaire was sent to businesses in Hatfield town centre requesting specific details from businesses on their employees and customers’ parking habits, which would then shape further proposals to introduce free waiting restrictions in the car parks within the town centre,” she said.

“Some suggestions have led to the amendment of the initial proposals, and consultation with both residents and businesses within the town centre is due to begin in late September.”

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