Outrage for parking limits ‘which force car moves every few hours’ in Hatfield town centre

PUBLISHED: 11:17 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:01 05 October 2020

Parking in Hatfield town centre has become difficult, traders argue. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin

Parking in Hatfield town centre has become difficult, traders argue. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin

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A number of traders have complained that they and employees are constantly moving their cars to get around Hatfield town centre’s car parking time limits.

Parking in Hatfield town centre has become difficult, traders argue. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlinParking in Hatfield town centre has become difficult, traders argue. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin

As new housing replaces parking spaces and a new multi-storey is built, at The Commom, as part of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s regeneration project, time-limits have been introduced to cope with demand.

Currently, Link Drive is now for permit holders while Dog Kennel Lane, Asda, the Fourways temporary car park, Kennelwood Lane and Welfield Road are temporary and only Lemsford Road is long stay with 149 four-hour and unrestricted parking spaces – which is a trek for more elderly people who want a quick shop to the town centre.

As argued by Mandy, from Hatfield Town Centre Traders Association, free and convenient parking is what makes Hatfield unique and a good place to shop compared to other towns.

“We don’t have a John Lewis or a big draw,” she explained. “But what we do have is a town where you can fall out of your car and into the centre.

Parking in Hatfield town centre has become difficult, traders argue. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlinParking in Hatfield town centre has become difficult, traders argue. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin

“I know that two staff have already left their jobs. As you have to move your car three or four times a day to a different car park. We’re loosing employment because of this issue.”

She also expressed frustration that those living in Welwyn Hatfield have to pay for parking at home, through a permit, and in the town centre, through a business permit, and worries that the new multi-storey will not be free.

This sentiment is echoed by other traders in the town including hairdressers, CW Carpets, barbers, cafes, shops JJ Burgess and Barnados who are all up in arms about the parking situation.

For Sharon – who works at Barnados, which will close in February, – this means moving her car several times a day or getting one of those coveted long-stay spots.

Parking in Hatfield town centre has become difficult, traders argue. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlinParking in Hatfield town centre has become difficult, traders argue. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin

“It’s always been an issue. There are lucky ones with a permit,” she said. “But I cannot run out as sometimes I’m here on my own.”

Justin from the funeral parlour is facing the same issues and though he does not think that custom has been lost due to The Common closing, he just does not know.

“People come in and say I’ve been driving around for hours looking for a space [..] My employees are complaining.”

The general mood from many of the business WHT spoke to is that they would like to use public transport, which does not work due to the time of day, or cycle but they live too far from the centre or need to carry heavy material.

Parking in Hatfield town centre has become difficult, traders argue. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlinParking in Hatfield town centre has become difficult, traders argue. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin

The uniqueness of some businesses poses other challenges such as long hair appointments, which fall outside of the three or four hours allowed for town visitors, or those who need to load.

When the WHT visited Carl from CW Carpets he had just got another ticket, when he was cutting carpet and loading, which wardens said was outside the 10 minutes.

“There is no leeway with the wardens. They’re more interested in giving out tickets than saving the town centre. Fees for parking [outside the limits] is killing it.”

Welwyn Hatfield borough councillor Stephen Boulton, executive member for environment and planning, said: “Striking the right balance to meet the parking needs of everyone visiting a town centre, as well as residents living there, is no easy task.

“Shoppers, workers and residents all need different types of spaces and we do our best to provide them. The views of local businesses are essential. We listen very carefully and consult widely on any proposals before they are put in place. This will continue as we progress discussions around the multi-storey.”

A spokeswoman added: “Since introducing business permits in February, the council has been monitoring the car park to understand usage. As promised, we are reviewing the business permits at the end of this month and hope to release more.

“We increased our loading bay observation time from five to 10 minutes, in response to feedback from businesses.

“Discussions are ongoing through the cross-party Hatfield Town Centre Regeneration Board regarding how the running costs of the [multi-storey] car park will be funded. This will also be considered as part of the budget setting process going forward. Businesses will be engaged and asked for their views.

“Business permits are subsidised. Resident permits have been introduced in some areas to ease parking pressures on roads around the town centre to make it easier for people to find a space near their home.”

The WHT is running a series on the problems facing traders in the town centre and will look at Asda’s doors being closed and abuse by members of the public.


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