No analysis on parking
2:55pm Thursday 12th April 2012 in Epsom
I thank Councillor James Clarke for his letter on the matter of parking in relation to business and the disabled (Letters, March 29).
Over 10 years ago when I was a member of the council, there was a proposal to increase car parking charges.
I asked for an analysis of the effect of the proposed charges on local business, and was told that no such analysis existed and that there were no plans for one.
The aim of the increase was simply to increase revenue for the borough.
I live within walking distance of the town centre but visit only to see my doctor, otherwise I shop at Tattenham Corner or Banstead High Street, and my guess is that Sainsburys, Ashtead High Street and Worcester Park also benefit from Epsom and Ewell shoppers escaping poor and expensive parking. Certainly a survey is needed, for parking exists to benefit the residents not just the borough treasury.
The popularity of disabled parking spaces at the Ashley Centre Car Park must in part be due to the very popular Shop Mobility scheme, which my partner, a blue badge holder, uses constantly. It would surely be sensible, if spaces are lost at the Town Hall, that at least the whole of the lower ground floor at the Ashley Centre Car Park be made over to disabled parking, for it must be remembered that whist the able bodied can use the disabled parking spaces, the opposite is not the case, due to the need for wide door space for unloading wheelchairs etc.
With an aging population, the number of disabled will increase. At present the statistics collected by the borough are unreliable even when the figures from the Office of National Statistics are being quoted, but out of context.
In short, a thorough survey needs to be made of parking in the borough, for the mobile and the disabled, and the needs of business. It must be hoped that detailed advice can also be provided by the police on on-street for blue badge holders who enjoy special rights in this regard. Until this happens no final decision should be made.