Parking masterplan needed

PUBLISHED: 18:28 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:28 26 October 2009

Sir – Your item about car parking and safety in Thistle Grove, WGC (WHT April, 23) reminded me of the years in the 1950s when I worked with a local architectural practice who were the designers of this and other areas for the Development Corporation durin

Sir - Your item about car parking and safety in Thistle Grove, WGC (WHT April, 23) reminded me of the years in the 1950s when I worked with a local architectural practice who were the designers of this and other areas for the Development Corporation during the years of massive housing expansion in WGC and Hatfield.

Most schemes were for weekly rental with a majority of three bedroom houses which complied with the Government housing manuals, cost restraints and planning aims for the garden city.

The initial requirement was one garage per 10 dwellings with space for one more per 10 in the future, on the basis that any car owner would never leave the car in the open. Most garages were in small groups with a few small lay-bys for visitors. The explosion in car ownership over the past 50 years has put enormous pressure on these and many pre-war estates, made more intolerable where the roads are used by commuters, hospital visitors, students and others.

Fortunately in these lower density areas than occurs today, the majority of terrace houses facing a roadway were set back far enough to allow the creation of personal hardstandings, without which Thistle Grove and similar could only have survived by forming large parking compounds on all open spaces, or demolishing houses to create more space.

Apart from the visual impact of hardstandings on the original hedged or open frontages, the parking pressures on the roadways, some of limited width, remain as noted in the article. With Thistle Grove estate more than 50 years old, I suggest this would be a good time for an in-depth study to be made with no holds barred, to produce a masterplan for improvement with input by residents, both tenants and owners.

Thus everything to be considered including open spaces, verges, highway boundaries, planting etc and including the experience of the borough council, highways and police, with the objective of achieving good and safely adequate parking and roadways in the best possible environment.

Such a study, which should be led by an experienced design professional, could be useful for other estates.

David Sutchiffe, Hatfield


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