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HomeNewsCouncillor warns ending free parking in Bushey could devastate high street

Councillor warns ending free parking in Bushey could devastate high street

Axing free parking in Bushey and Radlett could be the “final nail in the coffin” for some of Hertfordshire’s small high streets, a councillor has warned.

Hertsmere Borough Council has agreed to introduce a one-hour tariff at car parks in the town and the nearby village.

Tariffs will also rise by up to 50p for stays in Bushey, Radlett, Borehamwood and Potters Bar. The charges feature in a 33-page fees and charges schedule book which Hertsmere Borough Council members agreed at a meeting on Wednesday, February 28.

“The proposal assumes every car park fits a common criterion,” said Conservative councillor Paul Morris, of Bushey Heath ward.

“The Kemp Place Car Park has always been considered a location that supports the retail high street in this location.

“The residents of Bushey deserve better from the Labour-Liberal coalition.”

Motorists can park for free for one hour at the Kemp Place and Bushey Country Club car parks in Bushey, and the Newberries Car Park in Radlett.

Afterwards, the fee rises to £1 per additional hour for up to five hours, then £6.50 for stays longer than this period, which matches the scale which the borough council uses its car parks in Borehamwood and Potters Bar.

The new charges approved by the authority feature a £1.10-for-one-hour charge at all of the borough council’s car parks. Drivers face paying £2.20 for stays of up to two hours, £3.30 for three hours, £4.50 for four hours, and £5.50 for up to five hours. Longer stays are set to cost £7.

“This will undermine the retail businesses,” Cllr Morris said.

“This is a village high street with small businesses like Mavis the wool shop, Cowlings the hardware shop and Bushey Pharmacy significantly, all of whom would be affected by such a move.

“It could … signal the demise of the local high street.

“I’m at a loss to understand why, when the retail sector is already struggling, this Labour-Liberal coalition wish to put the final nail in the coffin of this local high street.”

Conservative councillor Caroline Clapper represents Aldenham West ward on the authority, which includes Aldenham village and streets in the west of Radlett village.

She said she “fully supported” a 2023 Hertsmere Labour manifesto commitment to “provide a free hour in all council-owned car parks near high streets”.

Cllr Clapper said: “Radlett is just a short drive away from the retail park in Borehamwood which provides free parking and Radlett needs to compete with that.”

She said Aldenham Parish Council had been asked to increase its £12,500 contribution to continue free parking to a “simply unaffordable” level.

Liberal Democrat councillor Chris Shenton is responsible for Hertsmere’s budget. The Bushey St James councillor said: “We invited Aldenham Parish Council to pay the full economic cost of the contribution.

“They had been making a contribution but it was tiny compared to the full economic cost.

“They decided they didn’t want to.

“Consequently, we’re obliged to charge the same amount for Radlett car park as Borehamwood, Potters Bar, Bushey Heath, and all the other ones across the borough.”

According to a meeting report, the potential lost income from a free hour of parking in Radlett is around £80,000 per year.

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