Traders’ fury over car park changes delay

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BUCKINGHAM traders are furious that Aylesbury Vale District Council appears to be blaming them for delays to much-needed changes in two of the town’s car parks.

Last week, the Advertiser learned AVDC was planning to reduce the cost of long-stay parking in the Western Avenue and Stratford Fields car park, following protests from residents in the Western Avenue area.

But the plans have this week been put on hold.

Since a £2.50 daily charge was imposed at the Western Avenue car park last August, motorists have been refusing to park there.

And while the car park stands virtually empty, residents say overspill parking is causing a nuisance and a serious traffic hazard on the side streets.

Overn Avenue resident Carole Fisher organised a petition against the charges, gaining 734 signatures, which was presented to AVDC in December.

Since then, Mrs Fisher has continued to push for change, and this week she was told by AVDC’s parking services manager Stephen Harding that discussion over reducing the long-stay rates was ongoing.

However, AVDC director Tracey Aldworth told the Advertiser yesterday the proposal had been put on hold following discussion with the Buckingham Traders Association.

She said: “It has become apparent that a small minority of traders are not supportive of the proposed changes to the tariff structure. In view of this, we have agreed with the traders association to put the proposed changes on hold and to discuss the matter further with them.”

West Street traders Catherine Ince at Mooch and Ann Foster at The Beauty Box reacted angrily.

Ms Ince said: It’s very unfair for them to point the finger at traders. We started having conversations with AVDC back in October. As soon as they put the first parking charges in, there was a massive impact on walk-past trade. It didn’t make sense in the first place and it still doesn’t make sense.”

Ms Foster said: “It gives a completely untrue slant to the situation. They’re trying to make out the traders are being deliberately awkward. It’s downright disgraceful.

“All it does is prolong a situation that should have been resolved months ago. They neither know nor care about the impact this has had on our business.”