Stop bureaucrats and Balfour Beatty from killing Sherborne, help us decide our own future.
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Dorset CC, West Dorset DC, Sherborne TC and Balfour Beatty Property Developers have had a working party on a 'joined up parking strategy in the town centre' for the past year. They have come up with 'a proposed way forward' and want to implement it quickly, allowing a bare fortnight for public response and without proper notice.
Surely the residents, businesses, shop workers, shoppers, visitors and others should have been consulted before a working party started. The present scheme appears to many to be a tax raising scheme, as has happened elsewhere in the country. (£756million during 2016 in England - RAC Foundation)
The working party did not seem to address the following issues that should have been considered, particularly as the present town car parks are not fully used..
1. To help town centre businesses by attracting shoppers and visitors. With the rise in internet shopping and out of town supermarkets, town centres need to attract shoppers, one way to do this is by free car parks.
2. To help residents to be able to park safely and reasonably close to their homes. The proposed scheme seems to offer a lottery whereby the resident pays £x a year with no surety as there are too many residents cars for the permit spaces.
3. To help improve the safety of pedestrians by reducing speed limits and looking more closely at limiting traffic flow. This has been done successfully elsewhere, particularly using parking spaces as traffic calmers.
4. To consider if the 9.30 - 6.00 Monday to Saturday restrictions are still relevant and fit for purpose. The busiest times on the roads in Sherborne are 8- 9 am, A. Brown of DCC (when I talked to him at the 'consultation') thought that there were no real problems at this hour, even though residents cars are still parked on yellow lines, in fact he thought it calmed traffic. So why do we need all those lines and restrictions during the quieter periods of the day? And why do we always get visited by traffic wardens on Bank Holiday Mondays when the town is quieter than a quiet thing?
There are many more pertinent questions that could and should be made, but these should be addressed before a scheme is put together.
We would like to see the Town Council look back to the days of the 1960s when we were most fortunate to have a far seeing council that protected Sherborne from the wanton destruction of so many other town centres. In fact the Town Council has a duty to safeguard Sherborne's future and protect us from the other rapacious Councils.
So, please Sherborne Town Council, allow Sherborne to truly debate this rather than allowing a flawed plan to be rushed through with unsightly haste and foisted upon us.
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