Waverley Borough Council (WBC) have appointed a Consultant to review and make recommendations in regard to parking across the borough.  On behalf of the Chamber,  Narn McHugh and Brenda Roper attended the meeting with some councillors from Haslemere Town Council.

We were reassured by the Consultant that each town within the borough was to be considered separately and that he had no remit to produce recommendations on a ‘one size fits all’ basis.  He also said that he had no remit to increase revenues for WBC.

We noted that on-street parking is outside the remit of the Consultant as it is controlled by Surrey County Council Highways Department and specifically not by Waverley Borough Council.  His report will therefore not include any recommendations in regard to on-street parking in Haslemere.

On behalf of Chamber members, we pressed the Consultant to give consideration to our proximity to other towns were parking is cheaper and/or free such as Midhurst and Grayshott.  We pressed home the point that we wanted to increase footfall in Haslemere and that nothing should be recommended that would discourage folk from coming into town.  In addition, we continue to lobby for Tanners Lane car park to either be closed before 0800hrs or to be more expensive at earlier times in order to discourage commuters from using that car park thereby retaining places for shoppers and people who work in Haslemere.

Ideas mooted at the meeting were the potential for a short free parking period at each car park in Haslemere, 20 minutes or similar and/or pay on exit.   We want to encourage people to linger in town and do more than quickly visit a pharmacy, dry cleaners etc. so we would discourage any free parking period to be no less than 20 minutes.

We also discussed the potential for a Hoppa service, or similar, from Fernhurst and/or Hindhead for commuters which would reduce their parking requirement in Haslemere.

The Consultant has no remit to engage with South Western Trains, Network Rail, bus companies or Surrey County Council Highways Department so a truly strategic and integrated approach is most unlikely to be anything other than a ‘nice to have’ strategic recommendation which is very disappointing.  It is not lost on the Chamber that commuters regularly parking in WBC facilities are a cash cow for WBC, see for example the upcoming plans to charge for parking at the Wey Hill Fairground site, so a sympathetic approach to parking from WBC for those of us who live and work in Haslemere will take extensive lobbying by Town Councillors, the Chamber and others.

Once the Consultant’s report is published we will update you further.