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Column 19th May 2021

Options to resolve parking issues in Wantage Town Centre

In last week’s column I mentioned that the County and District Councils are taking over parking enforcement from the Police and that we have been doing a regular survey of parking in the centre of Wantage to see what the real situation is.

During March (in lockdown), it was rare that the number of cars parked illegally exceeded the number of spaces available, but from 12th April everything changed.

Since then the number of cars parked on yellow lines has exceeded the number of parking spaces available.

So will our Councils do anything about it?

There appear to be three options:

First, continue to not enforce parking regulations.

Obviously this is the easiest option for the Councils, but it does raise several problems.

There are several streets in Wantage where it can be very difficult for residents to get to their own homes by car because of the illegal parking and it could be very difficult to get emergency vehicles down the same streets.

This would get even worse if the Town Council’s plans for pedestrianisation go ahead.

Also, the change in parking enforcement is a costly process and I’m sure that the Councils expect to recover the money from parking fines.

Second, declare Wantage Town Centre a no car zone.

I’m sure some of the residents would be very happy with this, but I’m not sure that everyone would be and I’m sure that the trade in the town would reduce dramatically.

Although many of the residents of Wantage could walk to the town centre, I don’t believe everyone could, or would want to and the level of public transport would need to increase dramatically.

We are supposed to be the centre of a rural area and there has to be a way for people to get from the villages into the town if the town is to thrive.

Third, create more parking.

Using the residential streets around the town centre for parking is one alternative but residents would need to have the option of parking permits, and highway safety would have to be carefully considered.

Charlton Village Road is already a case in point. On-street parking around curves and bends makes it very difficult to see traffic coming the other way and cars often take to the verge or pavement to pass each other.

Perhaps a park and ride facility could be part of the new Grove Station or is that just me dreaming again?


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