Lack of parking the real issue

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Further to Councillor Rowlands assertion in your paper that Buckingham is ‘very adequately covered with off street parking provision,’ (‘Towns to benefit as wardens go private’, Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser, March 30) I was not surprised to see he doesn’t live in the town.

With his unhelpful comments he seems to be confusing ‘need’ and enforcement.

As far as I am aware, we have had reasonably effective parking enforcement in Buckingham for many years, and a change of contractor will have no effect other than, presumably, saving money.

The real issue, as anyone who knows or works in Buckingham will tell him, is there is a serious lack of available parking in many parts of the town. This was made worse when for no reason that stands up to question, the car park at the drop in centre in Well Street was closed just before Christmas last year. A great help for the rate paying shops and businesses at this end of town!

Poor parking and an unhelpful charging system, are harming trade in the town’s shops and with the forthcoming occupation of the Bridge Street flats, (which have inadequate parking provision) and the 700 new houses near Tesco, things can only get worse. It is over a mile from most of Buckingham’s estates to the town centre - too far for many to walk - so where will they park? Or will they just go to Tesco or Milton Keynes.

If we want Buckingham to remain a place to shop, we must tackle the problem of parking now. Our population is growing but our infrastructure is going backwards. It may be fashionable to criticise car use, but to ignore the problem will only lead to further contraction of the shopping areas and a reduction in choice for the people of Buckingham.

Retail failures increased by 64 per cent nationally in the first three months of this year. Let’s have some constructive dialogue so it doesn’t happen here.

Martin Hornsey, owner of The Courtyard at No 6, Bridge Street, Buckingham