THE SHORTAGE of parking spaces in Hedon causes persistent controversy in the town and is the subject of regular discussions at the town council. Several ideas have been raised in the last twelve months to try and alleviate the problem. A proposal to encourage local drivers to leave their vehicles at home and instead use a local council funded mini-bus service to get into Hedon town centre, got little support or interest in a public poll when the majority of the 8% of residents who took part rejected the idea.
However, the council intends that its latest proposal to extend the car park at the old railway station yard does get more public support and can attract external funding. The £57,000 scheme currently under investigation, if it went ahead, would see up to an extra 15 new bays to complement the existing 14 spaces already there.
But Councillor Terry West, who originally identified the area at the old station yard as a possible site for an extended car parking area, believes much more can be done there than is currently on the table.
Using plans from the old Humberside County Council dating back to the 1980s Cllr. West discovered that the council-owned land behind the old station buildings was once earmarked as an amenity area, it is twice the size of the existing car park area and he believes another 40 – 45 space car parking area could be built there.
Cllr. West, says he has a very pragmatic proposal: “If we really want to make a difference to parking in the town and be able to justify imposing restrictions or shorter stopping times at other parking areas, then we need to have alternative parking facilities available. The whole of the East Riding council owned land at the railway station yard site could be used to create a major new parking area – and a bigger project would reduce the unit cost of each new parking bay constructed.”
“This wouldn’t need to impact on the old historic railway building on the site, but would use existing surplus land. I imagine it being quite a rustic car parking area preserving the history of the place. As well as providing an alternative to parking in the town, it would also be used by those exploring or walking the old railway track and local countryside.”
“Those using the railway car park on a visit to the town centre would need to make a short 5-minute walk to reach the town and so this might offer a disincentive to those used to parking nearer to their destination or place of work. But the incentive is that it would mean more spaces available in the town centre for customers and shoppers.”
Cllr. West referred to the recent survey conducted by his town council colleagues councillors Mike Bryan and Di Storr which revealed that around 350 parking spaces around the town centre are taken up everyday by local traders and their workers. “The aim would be to encourage those currently parking in town to use the additional bays created at the railway car park,” he said.
Councillor West, who is a UKIP member and candidate for the East Riding of Yorkshire Council elections in May, says he plans to take his broader vision for developing the new car park to the Hedon Town Council for further discussion and investigation.