Support our village shops - don't hog their parking spaces!
Many people write to me complaining about parking problems, especially around the railway stations where commuters don’t want to pay the NCP charges and park on the roads instead. There is another parking related issue - the impact thoughtless parking has on our village shops (see below) but first a bit about parking enforcement and the police’s role.
As the level of policing enforcement of parking has declined over the years to not very much at all, because the police have other more pressing priorities, the irritation of residents of villages near the rail stations has grown. I’ve probably raised this concern with the local police more than other issues, though we did have a good session with local parish councils and the police to discuss the trespass and traveller problems from the camp at Thriplow Heath last winter so the police are responsive on some community concerns. .
There was a scheme a few years back for parish councils to pay for the Police Community Support Officers to do some patrolling and ticketing of errant motorists, but the police decided it would not be viable for them even with the financial support.
The police have told me that where there is obstruction of someone’s drive, that they will come out and ticket. And it helps if the lines on the road are clearly marked out. to remove any defence that it was difficult to see what there was on the ground. That’s a job for the county council and I’ve chased them on a commitment to do just that.
But back to the village shops - at Foxton and Whittlesford - both whose owners have appealed for people not to park for long periods of time outside the shop. Doing so blocks off the spaces that are there to allow passing trade to call in.
Both shops are well stocked and I know the owners put many hours into serving their villages. No one makes a fortune from running a village shop. But in the economics of retail trade, it is the fraught motorist who is in urgent need of a box of After-Eights (bit of retro-chic there for you) a bottle of wine, or a ready-meal and who calls in to the village stores who can generate a good margin on the sale.
But if the space is blocked by someone who parked up a few hours back and has gone off for the afternoon, without a backwards glance at the fuming shopkeeper, then the motorist will simply drive on.
And village shops are a model of sustainability! People walk or cycle to the village shop - why wouldn’t you. So they cut down on those short car journeys too. Its not the most pressing issue in the world, agreed, but village shops do need all the help they can get.
Mans we will see what the police are willing to do on parking more generally.