Councillor’s call to arms over Henley-in-Arden parking headache

By Andy Mitchell - Local Democracy Reporter

10th Jul 2024 | Local News

'Residents are potentially unable to find a parking space' in Henley (image via SWLP)
'Residents are potentially unable to find a parking space' in Henley (image via SWLP)

A councillor has called for restrictions to free parking in Henley-in-Arden amid complaints that medical centre patients are left with nowhere to go. 

Cllr Ian Shenton suggested that Stratford-on-Avon District Council considers bringing in daytime charges for stays beyond 90 minutes at Prince Harry Car Park, Henley, in a bid to deter office workers from hogging spots all day.

In a question to Cllr Lorraine Grocott, the district's portfolio holder for environmental and neighbourhood services, Cllr Shenton said feedback from Henley-in-Arden Medical Centre suggested patients complain "on a regular basis with regards to not being able to get a parking space" and that "problems have got worse" since daytime charges were introduced at the Croft Shoppers Car Park in February 2023. 

"It is obvious that this is a cross-party issue and that the council should investigate solutions," said Cllr Shenton. 

"Residents are potentially unable to find a parking space, making them either late for or too late for their appointment by the time they manage to park.

"As many patients of the medical centre must travel some distance it is not acceptable that the designated spaces are occupied by inconsiderate vehicle owners who instead go into the town or walk one of the right of ways around the area."

He suggested a ticket machine with charges that "escalate significantly the longer that vehicles remain" after 90 minutes would discourage workers.

Acknowledging that "any solution needs to be pragmatic and proportionate", he asked Cllr Grocott to act swiftly and bring forward a report "outlining the issue with possible remedies" for councillors in affected areas – those served by the medical centre – ahead of consideration by the Liberal Democrat councillors in charge of the authority that owns the car park. 

Cllr Grocott replied: "There isn't an easy solution. Part of the issue is that charges were introduced at the Croft Car Park, something SDC has no control over, and yellow lines being painted on the roads. 

"It is not just a cross-party issue but a cross-organisation issue. However, I can give you my assurance that we will investigate this issue again in the near future."

Cllr Shenton argued that the response had simply "rehashed" his appraisal of the problems, adding: "The issue is getting worse. We have lots of residents, not just in my area, who are having trouble parking in this car park. 

"We own it, the problem is ours. It is not across organisations, so I would ask that you look at this sooner rather than later.

"My question is very simple – can we say the near future is less than three months?"

Cllr Grocott stopped short of that commitment but insisted the council was "looking very closely at the issue".

"Unfortunately, this is a free car park and we cannot adjudicate who gets there," she said.

"We are looking at this on an ongoing basis. Moving forward, we will be looking again and get back to you as soon as possible to move this issue on."


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