Over 30 parking spaces provided by county councillor in Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 15:55 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:55 15 July 2020

Parking on verges on Ash Drive, Hatfield. Picture: Paul Zukowskyj

Parking on verges on Ash Drive, Hatfield. Picture: Paul Zukowskyj

Archant

After residents complained about the lack of parking in south Hatfield, a county councillor has provided over 30 spaces.

Parking on verges on Bishops Rise, Hatfield. Picture: Paul ZukowskyjParking on verges on Bishops Rise, Hatfield. Picture: Paul Zukowskyj

After residents complained about the lack of parking in south Hatfield, a county councillor has provided over 30 spaces.

Welwyn Hatfield and Herts county councillor, Paul Zukowskyj, spent just over £40,000 from his County Council Highways Locality Budget to create the 31 parking spaces.

The Liberal Democrat claims that despite a number of requests over the past few years, WHBC parking services had refused to add his ward of Hatfield south to the parking works programme until capacity was available.

In response, the borough council has pointed out that Cllr Zukowskyj sits on the very panel that decides how and when to create new spaces.

Parking on verges on Bishops Rise, Hatfield. Picture: Paul ZukowskyjParking on verges on Bishops Rise, Hatfield. Picture: Paul Zukowskyj

A WHBC spokeswoman said: “There is a clear democratic process guiding the development of parking schemes in the borough. Parking proposals are assessed by our cross-party cabinet planning and parking panel, of which Cllr Zukowskyj is a member.

“The panel considers the number of requests received from members of the public as well as other areas which may be impacted due to other projects. Their recommendation is then presented to the council’s cabinet.”

However, Cllr Zukowskyj most recently raised the issue back in January, and the panel said the issue will be consulted on “when resources allow”, which he thinks could have kicked into the long grass.

The borough has added: “In addition to the 61 parking spaces that we have already created to help alleviate parking congestion in the Aldykes area of Hatfield, in February 2020, the cabinet added an area of south Hatfield, including roads from Woods Avenue to Hazel Grove.

Parking on verges on Garden Avenue, Hatfield. Picture: Paul ZukowskyjParking on verges on Garden Avenue, Hatfield. Picture: Paul Zukowskyj

“As soon as other projects are completed, we will start consultation with residents and other affected parties.”

But the Hatfield south county councillor believes this is not quick enough and could be too costly.

The cost of his new spaces was £1,300 each – compared to the £2,509 per space he claims the council paid for its current programme in the Aldykes area.

The WHBC spokeswoman said in response to these claims: “We use the same contractor as the highways authority, Hertfordshire County Council, to carry out all of the council’s parking improvement schemes. Schemes are constructed to current design guidelines provided by HCC.

“Every scheme is assessed and costed independently, depending on the location, the required construction works and the materials used. Alterations to an existing drainage system may be required as part of scheme construction, which could involve the relocation of gullies and associated pipework, or the introduction of new a drainage system.

“Alterations to other existing utility services may also have to be carried out, for example the lowering of boxes within the grass verge or footway, or upgrades relating to the street lighting network.

“With so many variables, the average cost per parking space will vary in each of the areas and they are not directly comparable.”

This comes after Welwyn Hatfield police named parking in south Hatfield as their third priority, and have issued tickets along Willow Way, Garden Avenue and Cherry Way to vehicles parked on the pavement, blocking access to those in the community who use buggies or wheelchairs.

The police took to their Facebook page and said: “We will continue to be on patrol in these roads, among others, so please park considerately.”

Cllr Zukowskyj added his voice to these concerns, saying: “Parking pressure in this area of the borough is higher than I’ve seen anywhere else.

“Road after road is jammed packed full of badly parked cars, blocking pavements, junctions, cycle routes, even sightlines on pedestrian crossings. Yet WHBC parking services simply refuse to add it to their work programme.

“The situation has become ridiculous, road and pedestrian safety were being regularly compromised, something had to be done and WHBC were simply not interested.

“I asked county officers to come up with a scheme and – for less than half the cost the borough council would likely have charged – they’ve designed an additional 31 spaces and additional protections for verges that will happen as soon as the works can be programmed.

“Yet again, our Tory borough council is failing the residents of southern Hatfield. I will continue to fight to ensure you get the services and amenities you deserve and to hold the council to account on delivery and value for money.”


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