County ground parking proposals put to the people
1:10pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in By Dominic Gilbert
OPTIONS to deal with the influx of traffic parking around Walcot and Shriveham Road on match days are being put to residents by Swindon Council.
After a survey of the area proved inconclusive, the council commissioned officers to find proposals which would go some way to solving residents’ concerns about football fans clogging up streets while maintaining support at County Ground.
While some residents have campaigned for a new scheme for years, others are baffled as to why any change is needed.
The options include introducing residents’ parking, extending yellow lines and bringing in weekend restrictions.
Mark Walker, localities lead for the town centre, said: “This is not just about football parking. The Walcot area is having issues around commuter traffic as well.
“There are slightly different issues but fundamentally it is about inconsiderate parking.
“This has come about through conversations with councillors and residents who are frustrated with the existing schemes. At Shrivenham Road we had a petition from 500 residents saying they had had enough.
“The next stage would be finding the funds, and there are some opportunities at the moment.
“It is not the cost of the paint but the process behind it that is expensive.”
Residents say access problems are leaving their homes cut off from emergency services.
Susan Boscombe, 63, of Beau-mont Road, said: “When people park down my road you could not even get a normal car in there, let alone a fire engine or ambulance.
“All we want is freedom of access in and out of our own properties. I don’t see why the football club can’t organise bus services for supporters on match days to bring down the numbers parking. “If they got one bus they would save 50 cars coming here. We have been battling this for years.”
But others are bucking against the idea they may have to pay for their own parking.
Tom Roberts, 50, of Upham Road, said: “This is a waste of time. I don’t see why I should have to pay to park outside my own house. We have lived here for years and we have never had any problems. I think when extra cars park there it is like a contraflow to stop people speeding.
“It is going to cost a great deal of money to stop people whinging, but they do that wherever you go. The football ground has been around forever, so I do not understand why this is coming up now.”
While businesses in the area are inevitably affected by the influx of football traffic, some are content with the status quo.
Harold Mitchell, 80, owner of Mitchell Cycles, on Shrivenham Road, said: “We can understand people’s concerns about parking, but the football crowd has to park somewhere.
“Swindon Town needs support, and if you close down all the parking they will not get it. As long as everybody’s situation is taken into consideration, it can be worked out satisfactorily.
“We are affected by the football fans, but we have been here for 45 years and we are not expecting that to change. There is a contradiction between residents and football supporters and we have to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs.”
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