Dacorum Tories Force a Flawed and Unpopular Parking Scheme on Berkhamsted

13 May 2012
Lib Dem logo bird projected on blockwork

Despite a Liberal Democrat challenge the Conservatives voted as a block to brush aside reasoned argument from Cllrs Nick Hollinghurst (DBC) and Garrick Stevens (Berkhamsted Town Council). The concerns and protests of residents and business were also disregarded. Just as in the case of the Moor End Road Bus Lane we were treated to the spectacle of Conservative councillors insisting they know best and everyone else is wrong. It was a foolish and expensive strategy in Moor End - will it be similarly disasterous in Berkhamsted?

What Dacorum has presented for the Berkhamsted Parking Zones M & P has really been decided upon already.

The only choice is now is just between non-residents being blocked for:
A a 2-hour period or B a 10-hour period in Zone P and a 12-hour period in Zone M

But the proposals for both Zone M and Zone P lack support and are confusing for the following reasons:
1. The extent of the schemes is not clear. The Town Council proposals list 11 streets in Zone P but the consultation results list only 5. The Borough Council decision papers do not define the zone at all.
2. The way the data was obtained was flawed. In 2002 a professional survey was carried out by Ove Arup. It resulted in a massive rejection of parking zones in Berkhamsted.
With many more commuters it was reasonable to test again the acceptability of parking zones.
However, DBC did not make resources available for a second professional survey.
So town councillors carried out informal surveys in 2008 and 2010. Good for them, but they are unqualified and inexperienced.
Not enough residents in surrounding streets were consulted - and their views are crucial since they bear the adverse effects of displaced cars. Nor was local business parking allowed for.
3. The Way the Data was Collated was flawed
Council officers thought up a data category of "Provisional Acceptance". This undermined the data that was collected. Answers in this category were so highly qualified as to be incompatible with what was offered. They should therefore have been counted as rejections- not as acceptances.
When the Dacorum Parking Centre surveys were carried out in 2011 this same flaw was present in the results and the collated data.
Many responses arrived by e-mail and were mainly comment. Officers interpreted the answers and added them to the dodgy "Provisional Acceptance" category - then counted them as "acceptances".
This invalidated the preliminary Dacorum Parking Centre consultation, which should have enabled respondents make simple YES/NO decisions about clear proposals.
All this completely discredits the claim that the scheme is acceptable to residents.

To sum up, the Conservatives are pushing ahead with a scheme where:
1. The proposals are not clearly explained.
2. Insufficient consultation has taken in adjoining streets.
3. The results are undermined by the "Provisional Acceptance" category.
4. The results do not show sufficient acceptance of the proposals.

Liberal Democratse say that the process should be halted for further consultation to take place on a sounder basis and over a wider area.

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