Council does a U-turn on car park changes

Council does a U-turn on car park changes

As reported in the Times last week, retailers along Camden Road said changes made by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to Beech Street car park were a ‘kick in the teeth’.

The Council wanted to move all permit parking to the one car park in Beech Street, freeing up Camden Road Car Park for pay and display users.

A spokesperson said the decison was made by council officers in conjunction with the Cabinet.

She added: “The intention was to make Beech Street a season ticketholders only car park, and make Camden Road the visitors and shoppers car park. We would then upgrade Camden Road with new signage, planters and payment machines, making it a more attractive location.

“The decision to make Beech Street season tickets only was because Camden Road Car Park is larger and easier for motorists to negotiate.”

She continued: “Beech Street has tight spaces and is accessed from a narrow residential road, whereas Camden Road Car Park is entered from the main road.”

But traders criticised the move, arguing it made no sense to have Beech Street Car Park standing half empty throughout the day, while shoppers and visitors had to compete for the limited spaces at Camden Road.

Jack Ward, owner of Velocipede bicycle shop, opposite Beech Street Car Park told the Times the change was the latest ‘kick in the teeth’ following weeks of roadworks that had already disrupted trade.

He said: “My customers will end up going somewhere else where they can park.”

He even warned the Council he would fight the move by starting a petition ‘among other things’.

Last week, the Council decided to backtrack, reverting the two car parks to how they were, with permit holders and pay and display visitors able to use both car parks.

A spokesperson said: “Clearly from the feedback we received, the decision was not well received and we are very sorry about that.”

She continued: “Businesses pointed out that there were unused spaces in Beech Street which suggests that season ticket holders are not using the car park on a daily basis.

“We have reversed the decision and both car parks are now operating exactly as they were previously.”


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