Landlord voices fury over parking changes as new trial launched in Swaffham
Parking changes have been criticised by the landlord of a central pub in Swaffham.
Rob Bartram, of the Red Lion, said it was “pathetic” two spaces outside the Green Parrot in the Market Place had been replaced with parking meters.
He said: “Instead of just turning the metres around, they got rid of two parking spaces.
“Breckland Council in their own infinite wisdom just ignore the views of the town. Quite frankly it's pathetic.
“They said it was for wheelchair access safety but I do not think it’s safe for them as there are no disabled bays.”
In response, Independent Swaffham councillor for Breckland, David Wickerson, said: “This is a decision made by Breckland officers because of the Disability Discrimination Act.”
It comes as Breckland has introduced time limits on some car parks in the town centre as part of a trial to boost Swaffham’s economy and to make spaces “more readily available.”
And a spokesman for Breckland Council added: "Breckland Council has recently invested in refurbishing car parks in Swaffham, using funds from the Market Town Initiative, ensuring an increase to the overall number of car parking spaces, which includes a number of disabled bays, in the town.
"At the request of the town council, we are about to commence a two-hour limit trial within three of our car parks - Market Place, Pitt Lane and Pedlars - and hope that this will provide a boost to local businesses and the town in general.
"The trial has required the installation of ticket machines which have had to be positioned in such a way to take into account things like accessibility for all users, safe queuing space, access to electricity, and land ownership.”
From Monday, drivers will be limited to parking for a maximum of two hours in Market Place, Pedlars and Pit Lane car parks for a period of six months.
People will be required to display a ticket in their car and anyone exceeding the two-hour limit will be liable to pay a fixed penalty notice.
These Breckland Council-owned car parks will remain free to use for two hours with no return within one hour, but drivers will be required to display a ticket in their car.
Theatre Street Car Park is not involved in the trial and remains free to use with no time restrictions.
Breckland Council agreed to introduce the enforced time limits on a trial basis after being approached by Swaffham Town Council.
During a town council meeting yesterday evening Breckland Conservative councillor Ian Sherwood said initial leeway will be giving people time to understand the operation.
"I have been assured that initially it will be a light touch," he said.
"There have been various viewpoints and you could argue about it all day. People are saying there are no disabled spaces but it does not mean disabled people can't park in another space if they need to."
Residents4Residents town councillor Ian Pilcher pointed out during the meeting that Blue Badge users have the right to three hours of parking without restraint so would not need a two-hour ticket for the new trial.