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Opinion : Wycombe’s Special Parking Area (SPA) was a good idea – Let’s take it to the next level

| August 4, 2015


Those who have lived in High Wycombe for a reasonable length of time will remember the Special Parking Area (SPA) that was created back in 1997 as park of the ‘Positive Parking’ initiative.

Parking, especially beside the road, has always been a problem in Wycombe and the Special Parking Area was an initiative that addressed the issues head on.

However the scheme had one flaw. Namely it was intended to operate at a profit. Of course profit is not always certain, or desirable, in a scheme that is run for the public good.

For those who may not remember the introduction of the SPA and what it entailed I will enlighten you with the basics.

The SPA was created after Buckinghamshire County Council applied to the Secretary of State for Transport for an order under paragraphs 1(1) and 2(1) of Schedule 3 to the Road Traffic Act 1991(1).

The SPA brought in tighter controls on parking and enforcement in the town centre, more yellow lines were painted and in certain streets residents could only park in the road if they had purchased permits to do so.

A network of pay and display meters was also introduced so those parking in the town centre could pay to park beside the road.

At the time there was a great outcry, traders claimed it would lose them business and residents were furious at having to get permits to park outside their homes and well as purchasing scratch cards for their visitors.

Looking back on the scheme, despite the ‘for profit’ flaw, the scheme certainly controlled parking in the town centre and those residential roads where residents had to get a permit. The ‘Positive Parking’ scheme was a great success.

I feel the successful SPA scheme needs to be expanded and now it the right time to do so.

At the moment the area where residential parking is controlled ends at Oakridge Road. I feel this should be expanded in two phases, firstly to cover the whole of Castlefield then right up to the outermost point of Booker and Downley so the whole western part of the town is covered.

Next the scheme should be rolled out eastwards until parking in the whole of Wycombe is under control.

At the moment we have ‘half a scheme’, the powers that be either need to push ahead and roll out the SPA to the whole of High Wycombe or declare the scheme a total failure and revert to the parking arrangements in force before 1997.

High Wycombe’s SPA was an ambitious scheme and in my opinion it only failed to make a profit because the scheme wasn’t ambitious enough.

Indeed the whole of the town should have been covered especially when it comes to painting yellow lines in residential areas and issuing permits to residents so they can park in the street.

What do you think?

*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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