PARKING TROUBLE ON WAY
Shops need your support as road works due to start
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.”