Pay and display row in Knebworth
TRADERS are fearing for their future as new car park charges are introduced in their village.
St Martin’s Road car park behind the Co-op store in Knebworth is currently free to use and run by North Herts District Council.
But plans to introduce pay and display charges in a bid to alleviate the village’s parking problem have been met with concern by workers, many of whom use the area, to keep the high street clear for shoppers.
QVM charity shop manager Jean Mafham is worried her volunteers may be put off helping out if they have to pay for the privilege.
She told the WHT: “I can’t see my volunteers coming in.
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“Most of the traders and our volunteers use the car park.
“It would mean our volunteers wouldn’t be able to come to work.
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“Without our volunteers we wouldn’t be able to cope, without them we couldn’t have the shop.”
She added: “Everyone is against it. The council isn’t encouraging people to use the local shops.”
Fellow trader Jon Wheeler, owner of 1st Call Signs, agreed: “The council is making a bit of a mistake, people are just going to park everywhere but the car park.
“It will be a nightmare.”
But councillor Tom Brindley said the idea of charging was actually the traders’ idea.
He said: “Over the past year, the council has been working with the Knebworth Parking Initiative Group, which includes traders and the parish council, to discuss a number of parking issues in the village and has decided to make the St Martin’s Road car park pay and display.
“This idea of charging was initiated by Knebworth traders, who had concerns regarding the long stay use of the St Martin’s Road public car park which means that the parking bays are rarely available for short stay users of village shops and services.
“The income from the St Martin’s Road car park will allow the council to provide better parking facilities throughout Knebworth, including more enforcement.
“The increased availability of short stay spaces will make it easier for residents and visitors alike to enjoy the wide range of shops and services available to them.”