The Parking Scheme Threat To Local Retailers
As chairman of the Odiham Town Manager Group, I have just written to Hampshire and Hart Councils to query the so called ‘public consultation’ on the parking scheme. This is because available information says the responses to the consultation were unanimously against the scheme - and yet the Parish Council is still proposing to press on with it.
The three reasons the OTMG objected were based on a survey of local retailers and businesses, and are:
1 The scheme reduces the number of parking spaces in the centre by more than 20 – this is just going to make things worse
2 The plan threatens the viability of the retail centre – and this would change the character of Odiham for the worse. Retailers and businesses who own properties in the area will not be allowed to park on the street – but residents owning properties will be. This is pure discrimination and means that retailers will either have to park outside Odiham, or pay a ‘stealth tax’ of £700+ a year for each member of staff to park in the car park. How sustainable is this for local businesses?
3 The scheme splits the village between the residents in the central area who will have to pay up to three times as much in parish taxes, and those living outside the central area who will pay not one penny more and are hoping for the benefits.
It is clear that the Parish Council is dismissing the core principles of democracy and ignoring its basic duty of representing the views of residents – and this must be challenged.