Welwyn to get more free parking?

FREE parking in a village centre may be extended from one hour to 90 minutes if a consultation process is successful.

Recommendations to amend the permitted parking time in High Street, High Street car park and Church Street in Welwyn – in place from 1970 – were given the thumbs up by borough councillors at a meeting.

Residents, traders and shoppers submitted a petition to Welwyn Hatfield Council to extend the current waiting time after businesses were badly affected by the controversial one-way system introduced to allow refurbishment of The Wellington pub, gutted by fire in June.

The petition with 659 signatures was presented by Welwyn resident Henry McIntosh.

He said: “There is a very strong public feeling the present one hour for parking is now unacceptable.

“In one hour you cannot shop for clothes, visit a hair salon or meet for lunch at one of the restaurants.

“The situation is aggravated by the fact that alternative long stay parking areas in the immediate vicinity are extremely difficult to find due to commuters and those working in the village.”

Most Read

He added: “It is extremely important for the village to remain viable.”

At last Tuesday’s cabinet planning and transportation panel meeting, Cllr Mandy Perkins said she “completely” supported the recommendations.

She said: “The nature of business in Welwyn has changed over time.

“There are businesses where people need to go to more often and one hour is not always enough time for people to complete all their errands.”

Cllr Perkins added: “I do completely support this recommendation as it is the right thing to do.”

Cllr Tony Skottowe, Lib Dem group leader, said: “I would agree with what Mandy said.

“We should, however, not take into account what happened with The Wellington pub fire [parking spaces in the High Street were limited because of the one-way system] with this [recommendation].”

Durk Reyner, head of client services, said the cost of the work would be met by the council’s existing parking controls budget.

However, he could not say when the consultation will take place but hoped the work would be started in 2011.