Parish Council rejects its own parking scheme!

by simon quarrell on Tuesday 27th March

Last night with a vote of 5 to 4 the Parish Council rejected the parking scheme it has been ploughing on with for over 15 months. It was good to hear what the 5 Councillors (Fleming, Bennett, Smith, Ball and Spruce) had to say because it was clear that they have listened to the views that the various communities in the village have been putting forward continuously over the whole period.

In contrast, the 4 lead by Councillors Horton and Ebert again stated they were going to deliberately ignore the views of residents because they 'knew better' and wanted to pursue their own agenda of control.

A good result for the village overall. There are some minor local parking and traffic issues which now need to be dealt with - but on a simple basis and not over-whelmed by the proposed red-tape, bureaucratic, stealth tax, control freak system that is now history.

Parish Council decides to extend parking scheme costs to hit all residents

by simon quarrell on Sunday 28th January

While quite deliberately ignoring the STOPS petition and its hard evidence that virtually no one in the village wants this scheme, the Parish Council continued to pursue its own agenda on Monday by agreeing to make sure that every household in the village will have to pay. It doesn't matter if you live in Potbridge, Whitehall, Park Corner, Derbyfields, North Warnborough or even Odiham - you will have to pay!

Why is this? Well, Councillors Horton & Ebert proposed that the Parish Council takes on the administration of the scheme so that they have more control over which individual residents can or cannot not have a parking permit - or "increased flexibility" as they called it.

So Odiham will have to pay for the admin costs - but the revenues from the permits (and fines!) will still go to Hart! Fair chance they'll agree to that!The admin costs will have to be added to the Parish Precept (tax) which is charged to every single household in the parish.

Those of you living outside the parking zone might have thought you weren't going to be hit financially - sorry, but you will be! If you are not happy with this, I suggest a direct protest to one of the more sensible councillors might be appropriate - and soon!

Tags: | | STOPS | taxes

Parish Council votes to double parking charges for visitors to Odiham

by simon quarrell on Wednesday 24th January

The PC voted on Monday evening to double the short term charges in the car parks, so it will cost £1 for up to 60 minutes. The promoters of this idea, Councillors Horton and Ebert, stated that this would benefit local retailers - which is curious given that they haven't consulted either retailers or the OTMG on this, and it seems common sense that users of the shops, who are short term visitors to the village, are less likely to be encouraged to come if its going to cost them twice as much.

Fortunately the final decision is with Hart, and I am sure that the retailers and the OTMG will make sure Hart gets a view that reflects reality.

Tags: | visitors

STOPS petition presented to the Parish Council

by simon quarrell on Wednesday 10th January

I hear that the Stop The Odiham Parking Scheme petition was presented to the Parish Council at their meeting on Monday.

Incredibly, over 800 people have signed this petition in a very short time. This number includes over 70% of residents living in the central zone who will be hit by taxes and restrictions, over 300 retail and business owners, staff and customers, and 300 living just outside the zone but fear being overwhelmed with more people trying to park outside their houses.

With this level of response, I can't see any reason the Parish Council can possibly have for continuing with this scheme rejected by the community - unless their real plan is simply to raise more revenue through taxes using permits, fines and parking charges!

Personally, I congratulate John Fletcher, Gordon Wrenn and Brian Fleming for their hard work on STOPS - and hope that it stops the PC wasting more of people's time and public money on this. There are real solutions out there!

Tags: | | | protests

Parish Council pursues its own agenda on Parking Scheme

by simon quarrell on Thursday 16th November

I understand the PC is still pushing ahead with this scheme despite:
- our district councillor, Ken Crookes, presenting them with strong survey evidence that there was no support for it
- it is opposed by the Odiham Society on behalf of residents
- it is opposed by the OTMG on behalf of members and businesses
- it is opposed by Neighbourhood Watch

This scheme will:
- reduce the total amount of parking available in the village
- not give anyone paying a lot of money for a permit any guaranteed parking
- be a significant cost hit on retailers and threaten their viability
- be a significant cost and bureaucratic nightmare for residents

What is their reason? Where is their support? What is their right - when their job is to respresent the views of residents - not push their own agenda? 90% of them don't even live in the affected area

I know that Ken Crookes was the original sponsor of this scheme. But he is now aware that we really don't want it - and has told the PC they should also change their position. What will make them do it?

The responsibility is down to you, yes you, as an individual. If you think this scheme is not right, then tell the PC and councillors right now - ring, write, speak, e-mail, go to the next meeting on the 27th - and tell them what to do. If you don't, then you will take the consequences.

Tags: action | | PC | threat | unrepresentative

What will make you use local shops more?

by simon quarrell on Monday 18th September

Hart District Council completed a retail survey in July this year. It only covered Fleet, Yateley, Blackwater and Hook - because these are defined by Hart as the "main settlements" in the district.

Odiham was left out, presumably because we are classified as a "Rural Service Centre" along with Hartley Wintney - but interestingly we have more shops and retail services than either Hook or Blackwater!

One of the interesting questions in the survey was "what improvements or new facilities would encourage you to make more use of your closest town centre?"

The top 5 answers were:
1 Nothing / very little
2 More major shops and stores
3 Better range of shops
4 More parking
5 Better quality shops

This seems to support the OTMG position on the need for more parking spaces in Odiham - and not the current proposed scheme involving less parking, stealth taxes and overwhelming signage.

Obviously we are limited in what we can do to encourage more shops - but we can help I am sure in encouraging local shops provide the goods and service that residents want. This will only work by being specific to Odiham and North Warnborough and not being based on Hart wide surveys - so in the near future we will be looking to do very specific surveys on this site to get your views and needs, and to communicate them to our retailers.

Please keep visiting and give your feedback when possible. It's important to all of us.

Tags: improvements | | retailing | surveys