Members of the Ventnor business community took part in a gathering organised by the Ventnor Town council (VTC) yesterday (Monday).
A new initiative by the VTC to potentially take control of the Ventnor car parks was announced.
Andy Stafford, of Parkspace Consulting, has been appointed as a parking expert, to look at the problems Ventnor face and after consultation and anaylsis will make his recommendations for a Ventnor-based car parking service.
Community Right to Challenge
Town clerk David Bartlett told On The Wight, “His work is funded by a grant of £9,020 we have secured as part of an implementation of the Community Right to Challenge as set out in the Localism Act 2011 and by the Isle of Wight Council’s policy for its application.
“The Isle of Wight Council officers are aware of this development which is expected to provide VTC with a robust Expression of Interest in the delivery of the local service in due course.”
Call for a reduction of on-street parking restrictions
As the densely-packed Victorian town suffers a lack of residential parking, residents, shoppers and workers who commute to the town are all fighting for parking spaces.
A range of concerns were raised by local businesses at the meeting yesterday. Linda Chester, who has been in business in Ventnor for over 18 years said, “parking has always been a problem.”
There was an almost unanimous call for the 30 minute restriction of on-street parking on Pier Street and the High Street to be increased to either 60 or 90 minutes, in order to encourage shoppers to visit more than one or two shops. This was not supported by Matt from Island Wine Company who told the meeting we was likely to oppose any increase in the current limit.
Over-zealous parking wardens
John from Troubadour Tearooms explained that prior to the on-street parking being heavily policed, shoppers would visit two to three shops in town, then finish their trip by stopping for a cup of tea and a cake. He told the meeting that as soon as parking wardens were shipped in from County Hall, this instantly killed his trade, resulting in shoppers leaving town without stopping for tea.
Several businesses shared the same views about parking wardens, claiming they were “over-zealous” and lacked consideration for those businesses trying to receive deliveries.
Plenty of ideas put forward
Many ideas were put forward during the meeting, such as returning Dudley Road car park to free parking, changing ticket machines in all car parks to allow visitors to pay on exit – therefore encouraging longer stays in town – rotational free parking in each car park over the week, a dedicated car park for commuters and workers and more.
The idea of a loading bay outside the Blenheim pub was well received by many of the businesses who explained the difficulty of taking deliveries without receiving parking tickets.
Concerns were raised that the soon-to-open Tesco would offer free parking for their customers, although this was considered unlikely by Mr Stafford.
Overall, businesses seemed to welcome the opportunity to discuss the problems and possible solutions.
We’ll let you know how the project develops. Perhaps this could be the trigger for other towns to take control of parking in their towns too.
All praise to the Ventnor council for spearheading this initiative.
Image: © Google Streetview
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