‘These plans are not what we lobbied for’

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Calls for a public meeting with Central Beds Council to 
discuss its parking plan for Biggleswade have been backed by the town council.

More than 60 members of the public packed the town councils extra ordinary meeting on Tuesday. They voiced the opinion that a consultation was not enough to put forward the strength of feeling about the plans and asked for a public debate.

And the town council agreed – saying it would push for both a consultation and public meeting to take place.

The council also blasted the proposals, saying they bore no relation to the parking strategy it had drawn up for the town, or the plans discussed with the unitary authority in meetings with the joint committee task group.

Councillor Madeline Russell said: “It doesn’t reflect what the town council has been lobbying for.”

She added that the council was surprised by the strong push for residents’ parking permits – as deputy leader of Central Beds Maurice Jones had told her he was not in favour of them. Permits could cost £10 for the first car and £70 for the second – plus extra costs 
for visitors.

Martin Thomas, chairman of Biggleswade Chamber of Trade and joint committee task group member said: “Central Beds in presenting this proposal to the council is trying to put a time limit on there. This means to me that they want to try to rush it through.

“This document does not represent what we discussed, and should be revisited. It has not covered major issues with the trade scenario.”

The document also fails to touch on the issue of enforcement.

Mr Thomas added: “I urge the council to start listening to the what the town council and town people are saying – and they’re not.

“We’re fighting all the time. We keep hearing ‘yes yes yes’ and we end up with ‘no no no’.”

The council has appealed for all residents to take part in the consultation, which it described as ‘absolutely vital.”

Councillor Russell added: “Nobody whether they’re an office or a councillor can possibly know all the ins and outs of the roads that will be affected by these plans.

“There will be issues, so every street needs to be looked at in detail and you are the people who know best.”

Central Beds Council said consultations were likely to begin in the summer, and would take between 12 and 14 months to complete.

The town council resolved to send a list of issues with the plan – along with a letter detailing residents’ concerns – to Central Beds. The full proposal is set to be uploaded to www.biggleswadetown
council.gov.uk