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Carparks bypassed

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Motorists are opting for on-street parking to avoid Southwell’s new carpark charges.

The Church Street and King Street carparks were emptier than normal this week as fees were introduced.

Town councillor Mrs Beryl Prentice on Wednesday said people who worked or lived in the town centre were parking on the roads rather than paying.

Parking is free for the first two hours at the carparks, which are owned by Newark and Sherwood District Council.

After that it costs £1.50 for three hours, and then £1 for each additional hour. Charges apply 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. Sundays are free.

“People parking on the Burgage are causing a problem although interestingly Church Street isn’t any worse,” Mrs Prentice said.

“Burgage and Burgage Lane have been packed every day this week so far, so that’s going to be a sticking point because we don’t want yellow lines all over the town, so we’ll have to try and work out something sensible with people.

“Some local shoppers think it is super because when they are in town for only an hour or an hour-and-a-half they can guarantee getting a parking space.”

Mrs Prentice said it was early days and the town council would wait to see how the situation developed.

“The district council is going to be very disappointed if revenue from the carparks is low,” she said.

The district’s community facilities manager, Mr Jim Besson, said one of the aims of implementing charges was to discourage long-stay parking.

He said: “The carpark seems to be being used more for short-stay usage and people are staying for the free two hours.”

Mr Besson said although it was hard to tell at such an early stage, the district council would probably be able to make back the cost of implementing the scheme in the first year, thanks to money contributed by the town council to keep the first two hours free.

He said: “I think with the contribution of the town council we should just about break even with the running costs, which is about £30,000.”

Mr Besson said the town council had permission to put up signs in the Church Street and King Street carparks directing drivers wanting to stay more than two hours to the carparks on Bishop’s Drive and Park Lane, which are free.

Mrs Prentice also criticised the fact that visitors to the Antiques Roadshow at the minster were ticketed by traffic wardens for on-road parking.

Mrs Prentice: “The traffic wardens were not giving warnings they were giving notices, and I felt that it wasn’t in the spirit of the day. They could have at least warned people.”

Mr Besson said: “As part of our contract with NCP we can divert parking wardens when we know a particular event is being held and traffic congestion may become heavy or dangerous.

“Parking wardens were in Southwell when the Antiques Roadshow came to ensure traffic congestion was not aggravated or did not become dangerous by drivers parking illegally.

“On the day, six penalty charge notices were issued.”

Mrs Prentice stepped down as town council chairman at the annual parish meeting on Wednesday evening.

Mr Graham Ball, of Hillside Drive, Southwell, will replace her, stepping up from vice-chairman.

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