Business fears are misplaced
PUBLISHED: 12:41 09 February 2007 | UPDATED: 19:56 01 June 2010
YOUR recent article, in which you followed Councillor Roger Green, leader of Wisbech Town Council, on a tour of the chaos that is the result of the parking regulations in Wisbech Market Place, once again highlighted the inflexibility, not of the problem,
YOUR recent article, in which you followed Councillor Roger Green, leader of Wisbech Town Council, on a tour of the chaos that is the result of the parking regulations in Wisbech Market Place, once again highlighted the inflexibility, not of the problem, but rather of those searching for a solution.
Those of us who regularly use this delightful area, with its eclectic mix of both architectural styles and shopping experiences, are distressed to see the protracted and pained debate continue, as if it were some highly-rated TV soap opera.
It certainly attracts top billing when one discusses it with anyone using the area. Channel 4 could well be interested.
Just like any good soap opera the debate's longevity hinges on the divergent opinions of the characters and their continued hostility to the others' views.
Everyone seems agreed that shoppers in the Market Place benefit from pedestrianisation.
But the businesses fear that if drivers cannot, at all times, drive into their shops and up to their counters, they will choose to drive several miles to another shopping centre, park a good distance from the shops, probably paying to do so, and then walk to those other shops to do their business. This seems muddled thinking to me.
In Wisbech there is extensive free parking available adjacent to the central shopping area - the Horse Fair, which is still free to short-term parkers, despite some very confusing press reports which seemed to imply that everyone now has to pay; St Peter's and Somers Road car parks are both free and within a short walk. In addition there is on-street parking in Castle Square, Union Place, Ely Place, The Crescent, Church Terrace, Falcon Road, Blackfriars Road and Nene Quay.
Cllr Green says: "I have never come out in favour of total pedestrianisation or parking. All I have said is sort it out one way or another."
Here lies the key. A scheme must clearly be found that benefits everyone and gives all involved something of what they want.
Surely a way could be found which gives pedestrians complete possession of the Market Place at peak shopping periods, offers the disabled free access when things are less busy and they can therefore circulate more freely and with fewer hazards, and allows fuller access to vehicles at other times, perhaps even allowing evening and overnight parking to all.
An efficient method of enforcing and regulating such a scheme would, of course, have to be adopted. But is it beyond the wit of man to conceive such a scheme? Surely not.