Shops need your sup­port as road works due to start

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

BUSI­NESS own­ers have urged the pub­lic to con­tinue shop­ping in Chal­font St Peter de­spite the ex­pec­ta­tion that a park­ing ‘nightmare’ will hit the vil­lage next month.

For six weeks from Au­gust 1, park­ing bays along Mar­ket Place will be sus­pended as Per­sim­mon, house­builders be­hind the 300 home devel­op­ment at the Holy Cross site, build a ve­hi­cle en­trance and a foot­path in part­ner­ship with Bucks County Coun­cil (BCC). The new route will run from the for­mer Bud­gens su­per­mar­ket up to the en­trance to the den­tists’ surgery.

A pedes­trian cross­way from the new foot­path to the ex­ist­ing shop front foot­path near the en­trance to The Vale is also planned which the par­ish coun­cil has ob­jected to on safety grounds.

But shop own­ers fear the sus­pen­sion will neg­a­tively im­pact on their busi­nesses and have ral­lied round to pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing.

Marie Ca­vanagh, owner of Fired Works, pointed out there will still be two lanes of traf­fic which will only af­fect the ‘bot­tom end of Mar­ket Place’.

“What we need to do is stop the all day park­ing,” she said and sug­gested that not all the bays will be sus­pended at the same time.

She added that those who can walk in should do so to leave space for cars. She said: “We’re not go­ing to close for six weeks. We need peo­ple to keep com­ing in.”

Dis­miss­ing any wor­ries about traf­fic

Con­tin­ued from front page she said: “I think the traf­fic’s go­ing to be fine and will keep flow­ing. You might have to walk fur­ther but keep sup­port­ing your lo­cal busi­nesses.”

Ms Ca­vanagh said: “We’re work­ing on ways to keep peo­ple com­ing in – things shouldn’t be as bad as peo­ple are ex­pect­ing.”

And added: “We’re not sit­ting back and say­ing it’s a disas­ter – we’re look­ing at ways to al­le­vi­ate the prob­lem as much as pos­si­ble.”

Nathan Min­cham, owner of Ex­press In­te­ri­ors, added: “The main point for us is long term – we’ve got 300 houses go­ing to come across to the vil­lage shops.”

Mr Min­cham, 36, said there were ‘lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion’ be­tween the cham­ber of com­merce, the par­ish coun­cil and Per­sim­mon, and they were work­ing on so­lu­tions, such as Per­sim­mon pay­ing for an ex­tra hours car park­ing at Church Lane car park.

He added: “Any­one com­ing to the vil­lage to shop, it shouldn’t af­fect them at all – keep it lo­cal.”

Emma Ja­cobs of Opera Luna Tat­too said: “We’re all work­ing to­gether to make sure there’s plenty of park­ing for every­one.”

And added: “It just might not be that con­ve­nient – you won’t be able to drop in out­side the shops.”

Ad­dress­ing shop­pers she said: “All the busi­nesses are in­de­pen­dently run busi­nesses. If peo­ple go away it’s a trav­esty, we need peo­ple to come here more.

“It will be fine. It’s only for a few weeks and it will be back to nor­mal.”

Adele Kelly, owner of Flag Bou­tique, said: “It’s go­ing to be a nightmare but we’ve got to hope it’s not.”

She added: “One of the things I hear out­side my shop is ‘Oh, I’ve been lucky – I got a space out­side and I’m com­ing in’.”

Miss Kelly said that with the loss of up to 30 spaces, it is ‘not go­ing to be easy. Peo­ple love con­ve­nience, they’re there for a rea­son – they do work’.

But she added: “I’m de­ter­mined – this is a span­ner in the works. Who can tell you it’s not go­ing to im­pact on busi­nesses?”

De­scrib­ing it as a ‘chal­lenge’ Miss Kelly said: “I’ve been here 10 years and noth­ing will stand in my way be­cause I’m so pas­sion­ate about Chal­font St Peter.”

She added: “In life you just have to get on with ob­sta­cles – there isn’t an ob­sta­cle that I haven’t con­quered. You just get on with it and it will work it­self out.”

A state­ment on the par­ish coun­cil web­site reads: “The par­ish coun­cil is con­cerned for our lo­cal shop­keep­ers, and has re­quested that Per­sim­mon work with BCC to lengthen the cur­rent one hour free park­ing in Church Lane car park, while this work is be­ing done.

“The par­ish coun­cil is push­ing Per­sim­mon to pay for an ex­tra free hour’s park­ing in the Church Lane car park to com­pen­sate for the loss of the Mar­ket Place park­ing.

“The Par­ish Coun­cil rec­om­mends that res­i­dents make due al­lowance for ex­tra jour­ney times through Chal­font St Peter dur­ing Au­gust.

“These are cir­cum­stances be­yond our con­trol but we are res­o­lute in our de­ter­mi­na­tion to force Per­sim­mon to min­imise the dis­rup­tion by com­plet­ing the works as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

A spokesman for Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil said: “Lo­cal Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil mem­ber David Martin and col­leagues at Chiltern District Coun­cil have been in dis­cus­sion with Per­sim­mon Homes, de­vel­op­ers of the for­mer Holy Cross Con­vent site, about pos­si­bil­i­ties for ar­rang­ing al­ter­na­tive free park­ing in the Mar­ket Place area of Chal­font St Peter dur­ing the pe­riod when the on street park­ing is sus­pended in Au­gust and Septem­ber.

“Per­sim­mon Homes has been very re­spon­sive, and it is hoped that, sub­ject to the agree­ment of car park own­ers, suit­able al­ter­na­tive two-hour free spaces will be in place for shop­pers so that the im­pact of the devel­op­ment on lo­cal traders is as small as pos­si­ble.”

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