Thursday, 15 August 2013

Epsom Parking letter printed in Epsom Guardian

Epsom must stop fleecing motorists over parking charges

9:00am Friday 9th August 2013
I was reading with interest your story (Parking problems 'could force shop to close down, August 8) on residents' parking and how it will affect shops like the Mini Stores in Church Road, which I have used for many years and which members of my family still use.
It is important for the council to address parking not just road by road, as it does currently but for Epsom as a whole. It is not sufficient to just move traffic problems from one road to another.
Residents need to be able to park near where they live, and commuters who work in Epsom need to be able to park affordably near where they work. Users of the town centre need to be able to access the restaurants and shops without having to pay the large sums of money that they have to currently. Epsom's parking charges are very expensive compared to other similar town centres in Surrey and also are more expensive than many shopping centres in London.
I have written to the council regarding the parking charges as recently a judge ruled in London that it was unlawful for councils to raise more money for parking than is required for road maintenance and road related activities. It may be that this judgement could have a huge impact on the council's attitude towards parking charges.
In areas where parking is cheaper, high streets and shops like Mr Patel's flourish despite these difficult economic times. Resident Association councillors have often said that if charges were not increased council tax would have to increase and another RA councillor said via twitter 'We [Epsom and Ewell Borough Council] get around £1.5 million a year from car parking. How would you raise that kind of money?'
Those attitudes simply are not good enough. Epsom needs to have a scheme providing reasonable parking rates for employees. It needs to look at the residents' parking situation as a whole and it needs to address the high charges in the council car parks, so Epsom High Street is restored to the thriving shopping hub that I remember as a child.
The Epsom Guardian is a bastion for successful campaigns notably Epsom Hospital and Zone 6, I would ask that the Guardian run a similar campaign to Save Epsom Town Centre from expensive, possibly even unlawful parking charges encouraging the Epsom and Ewell Council to come up with a proper parking scheme for the whole of Epsom that will be mutually beneficial for residents, commuters and visitors alike.
I would urge the council to take some emergency measures for Mr Patel's shop rather than waiting for a review, by which time it will be too late.
Jane Race

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