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Council announces parking permits plan for Highcliffe to tackle congestion

A ticketed parking scheme is proposed for streets south of the main Lymington Road
A ticketed parking scheme is proposed for streets south of the main Lymington Road

RESIDENTS in Highcliffe face having to pay for parking permits to tackle congestion in the area, under plans being considered by BCP Council.

A series of streets south of the main Lymington Road are being looked at for a zonal, ticketed parking scheme which the council said would help ease the impact of crowds of visitors arriving in the spring and summer as lockdown is eased.

But the idea has prompted immediate opposition from residents and some councillors, who claimed the cost could be around £60 a year for local drivers and £200 for businesses.

There are hopes that the idea for Highcliffe may be stopped in its tracks, however, as Cllr Mike Greene, BCP Council cabinet member for transport, promised it would be dropped where ward councillors object.

Cllr Nigel Brooks, BCP member for Highcliffe and Walkford, has done exactly that, saying the approach was “totally wrong”.

He described the plan as involving some 230 parking bays which would be chargeable from just before Easter to the end of October, on rates similar to the Waterford Road public car park.

He said: “There has been no prior consultation on this option and what is proposed. The plethora of permitted on-street parking areas/bays proposed is counterproductive to ensuring, as far as possible, visitors use the public car parks.

“There are adequate parking spaces, including an overflow ‘green area’ in Wharncliffe Road, when it is exceptionally busy.

“The charging model is totally wrong. All on-street parking would need to be set substantially higher, at a single rate, well above the all-day summertime rate of the public car parks to deter on-street parking and encourage the use of the public car parks.

“It is not supporting residents, just putting more parked cars on residential roads. To enforce the payment of parking fees, over such a large area, and every day, will require a significant number and time commitment of enforcement officers.”

Roads listed for potential enforcement include Studley Close, Mill Lane, Chewton Lodge, Montagu Road, Abingdon Drive, Bute Drive, Marryat Court, Stuart Road, Jays Court, The Lawns, Waterford Road, Wortley Road, Waterford Gardens, Wharncliffe Gardens, Elwood Way, Redan Close, Beacon Drive, Oakleigh Way, Maple Close and Ranelagh Road.

Cllr Mike Greene, BCP Council cabinet member for transport, stressed that “nothing has been decided”, but went on: “Just putting in yellow lines merely displaces the problem to the neighbouring area and we are still left with the high cost of enforcement.

“It makes sense to mark out proper parking bays, ensuring that they allow safe movement of traffic with sufficient parking spaces and keep entrances and junctions clear.

“Through charging those that want to park in these premium locations, we can pay for the enforcement our residents want and help contribute to the upkeep of our roads.

“It also encourages people to use the car parks first and to recognise that taking the car is not a ‘free option’.”

He promised that where ward councillors reject the idea, “we have made it clear to them that we will not go to public consultation or progress the schemes”.

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