Challenge to parking charges
Residents and traders are opposing a decision to end long-stay free parking in Southwell.
People living on King Street want a residents’ parking scheme, while traders are considering a legal challenge to the charges being brought in by Newark and Sherwood District Council.
Charging at the council’s King Street and Church Street carparks will begin in May when civil parking enforcement is introduced across the district.
King Street residents leave their vehicles in the nearby carpark because there is no on-street parking.
Mrs Alex Byrne (37) said they were unhappy there was no provision for residents.
“They haven’t even bothered to ask us what we think,” she said.
She said a consultation carried out two years ago on behalf of the district council showed a need for long-stay parking provision for residents.
“It is going to be a real pain for us now,” she said.
From May there will be two hours free parking, it will cost £1.50 for the next two hours and £1 an hour after that.
The charges will apply from 8am to 6pm seven days a week.
Mrs Byrne’s husband, Mr Tony Byrne (45) who works as a train driver, often returns home in the middle of the day after a night shift, so they would have to pay the daytime charges if they continued using the carpark.
“We always knew we wouldn’t have parking in front of our house but now we shall be crowded out,” said Mrs Byrne.
“It is going to have a knock-on effect on people living on the Burgage and Burgage Lane who also have no parking.”
Mrs Rebecca McNish (38) said: “It feels like we have been completely ignored.
“We want some sort of provision to acknowledge that there are people living here.”
Mrs McNish and her husband, Mr Jamie McNish (40) have five children aged two-11. The family has two vehicles.
Mrs McNish said it would be difficult to get her children to the car if they had to park a long distance away.
“Once again Newark and Sherwood District Council has completely over-ruled the views of local residents,” she said.
Rachel Thackray said when King Street was made one-way four years ago the road was narrowed to one car’s width, meaning residents could no longer park outside their homes.
She said the charges would make life difficult for people who lived in the town centre and called on the district council to reconsider its decision.
“Town centre living in King Street is important to help keep vitality in the town,” she said.
The leader of Southwell Town Council, Mr Peter Harris, said previous planning applications for residential conversions of town centre properties had included provision for parking in the King Street carpark.
Mr Harris, who is also a district councillor, said they would call on the district council to introduce a residents’ parking scheme.
Letters are being sent to town centre residents to gather information that can be presented in support of the request.
The secretary of Southwell Traders’ Association, Mr Robert Beckett, said the introduction of parking charges was disastrous.
He said the traders were considering a legal challenge because charging went against the original purpose of the Church Street carpark.
He said the principle of free parking in the town dated back to 1964 when the Church Street site was donated to the town by Mr Charles Caudwell as a carpark for the benefit of residents.
Mr Beckett said the charges could deter people from shopping in the town.
“Southwell shops thrive on the support of surrounding villages,” he said.
“These villages are, along with the inhabitants of Southwell, the lifeblood of shopkeepers in the town.”
Mr Beckett said they had spoken to solicitors and were seeking further advice.
He said if the Church Street carpark was kept free, in line with its original purpose, the King Street carpark would have to follow suit to ensure people used it.
The district council’s portfolio holder for carparks, Mr David Payne, said the county council was responsible for residents’ on-street parking schemes.
He said residents should lobby their county councillor for residents’ carparking.
He said there would be no provision for residents’ parking in the King Street carpark.
“The carpark is being maintained at great public expense so it has to be paid for,” he said.
Mr Payne said any legal challenge to the parking charges would be strenuously defended.