Traders frustrated by town parking meeting

Cllr Peter Allen in Towcester Market Square.'130214M-C776
Cllr Peter Allen in Towcester Market Square.'130214M-C776

Towcester traders were ‘vociferous’ in their opposition to plans to halve the number of car parking spaces in Market Square during a town hall meeting this week.

On Wednesday evening, town centre business owners and members of Towcester Town Council were invited to share their views on plans to cut the number of Market Square parking spaces from 28 to 14.

The redesign of the square came after the Highways Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs made £100,000 available to improve air quality in Towcester town centre.

Initial plans included scrapping the current two-hour waiting limit for a 30 minutes.

Peter Allen, a member of Towcester Town Council, was at the meeting and said: “They pulled the 30-minute waiting limit they had originally included. Whether that’s because they had a lot of people who were against it I don’t know, but people were quite vociferous so we might have had some effect.”

He also believes the plans have not been drawn up while taking into account the Moat Lane Regeneration project, which will include changes to the number of parking spaces.

He added: “There’s also this £350,000 for a new car park. Although they won’t say where it is, everyone knows and thinks it’s more of a park and ride than a town centre car park.”

David Reed, a member of Towcester Business Club summed up the feeling of those present as ‘frustrated’

He said: “There was a full array of experts and representatives from various organisations, they were saying ‘basically this is it’. There were a lot of suggestions made, alternatives which had not been thought of, or had been given scant consideration, and there were some very good questions that were not really answered.”

Mr Reed said traders were unanimous on the need to reduce pollution, but that the only way to properly resolve the problem was to create a bypass around the town.

Margaret Cairns of Drop Dead Gorgeous asked if there would be compensation due to the potential lose of business.

Town councillor Jacqueline Hart pointed out vehicles exiting the car park onto Chantry Lane by the town hall steps would be forced to use a blind corner in order to get back on Watling Street.

A public consultation into the plans is expected to take place in the spring.