"Overwhelming Objections" to Proposed Parking Restrictions around Town Centre Streets

  • A Highways officer from Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) told a Planning Meeting of Houghton Regis Town Council (HRTC) tonight (Monday 12th July), that there were, "overwhelming objections to the proposals at the moment."


Paul Salmon, a CBC Highways Officer, was speaking at a meeting held at the HRTC offices, and online via MS Teams, saying that at the moment he was collating comments for a report. The exercise was to look at options for displacing parking for visitors to All Saints View (ASV). Phase One of that scheme was due to complete September / October this year. Mr Salmon was keen to point out that all the proposals are just that and that no decisions had been made yet. He was currently on page 69 of his report, consolidating responses to the consultation, and at the moment there were “overwhelming objections to the proposals.”   

His report will go before a CBC Traffic Management Meeting on 27th July, giving a little time to implement any decision(s) taken before ASV opens.

The meeting heard several comments and questions from members of the public and these were answered by Mr Salmon, and fellow CBC officer, Gurvinder Singh.

Mr Singh said that ASV was a development comprising 168 residential homes, 8 retail units, on-site hair salons and a restaurant. It was an independent living scheme similar to Priory View in Dunstable. The majority of residents would access town centre facilities (library, post office, supermarket, doctors, dentists) quite easily and bus stops were nearby for facilities further afield. 

ASV would have 88 spaces for mobility scooters and residents would be able to subscribe to a car club where 25 to 30 e-cars would be made available for resident's use. There would be 106 parking spaces on ASV, split over 2 phases. 41 of these would be in the undercroft of the building.

Phase 2 of the ASV project is the demolition and rebuild of Red House Court and March 2023 is the anticipated delivery date.

Public Questions

A member of the public, Sally Gray, queried the need for double yellow lines down Redhouse Court which runs from East End to Houghton Hall. The restrictions would hamper those who wished to access the playground, walk their dog, visit the Pavilion, or help with the vegetable gardens. In response, Mr Salmon said the proposal was put forward after hearing concerns from emergency services who might need access to Houghton Hall.


Danielle Osborne, a resident of Park Avenue, spoke of anxiety of residents after notices had been placed on lamposts about the prospect of a residents-only parking scheme. Mrs Osborne pointed out that some people already had driveways, others had none and wondered how a balance of fairness could be struck? She had concerns that current restrictions could not be policed, and wanted to know how the council would manage it in the future? The proposed residents parking scheme would be 8am until 6pm but she had reservations about the hours. She also wondered why 4 parking spaces had to be lost by having a 21m no parking area at the end of Park Avenue.

Local resident, Martin Cadman, queried the hours of operation proposed on the residents parking scheme for Park Avenue. He suggested it might be altered to start at 6am or even run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mr Salmon agreed that the 24/7 operation of the parking scheme had also been suggested in feedback to the consultation. He said that the hours 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday had been chosen as that covered the majority of the time that people would be out at work. The Highway Code says that the minimum no-parking limitation near a junction was 10m but they had proposed 21m to try to keep the entrance clear for emergency vehicles. 

Councillors

HRTC councillors then proceeded to carefully go over the proposals (download here (.pdf) from HRTC website). Councillors felt there was no evidence to support most of the proposals.  They did, however, agree to the proposed parking restrictions around ASV, itself. Before they could commit to supporting the proposed parking scheme for Park Avenue, they felt that needed more information and clarification that homes facing The Green would be included.

On parking permits, Cllr Ray Morgan thought that, overall, these would be a benefit for all residents who wanted to apply for them, and that they should have the opportunity to exclude non-residents from parking on that road. 

When available, the HRTC recording of the meeting will be available to watch on their Youtube channel.





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