So much to do to improve parking

PUBLISHED: 10:00 23 November 2006 | UPDATED: 13:36 04 May 2010

I WRITE as an incomer to the area, but would like to comment on the difficulties in providing parking within easy distance of the city centre facilities. There is little flat land that fits this description and the land we have is extremely valuable, both

I WRITE as an incomer to the area, but would like to comment on the difficulties in providing parking within easy distance of the city centre facilities.

There is little flat land that fits this description and the land we have is extremely valuable, both as a resource for the more distant future and for the present problem.

These two things do tie up. Our district council is committed to ensuring that small traders have the opportunity to prosper.

The district council has a development strategy and a vision for the future economic development/growth of the district.

It is a fact that 95 per cent of business in our local economy are small businesses employing less than five people. They are a vital component for the future growth of the area. Any measurements that can be taken to retain the greatest proportion of expenditure in this locality should be taken.

The local authority has done a lot to aid and improve facilities. There is a free park-and-ride facility. The Shopper Guide, which is free at the council offices, explains where to get things. Ely is a good place to live and shop.

However, the needs of tourists and visitors to our lovely city are somewhat different from mine. They wish to arrive and park, visit the Cathedral, the museum, the waterside and get a feel for our wonderful city. They will want to visit the shops and so for the tourist we need to engender an atmosphere of welcome.

But here is the nub of the matter; that with the parking problems and the perfectly reasonable need to keep parking spaces rotating we would force the very element that brings so much money into the city, the visitor, to be watching the clock and hurrying back to the car park for they will get a parking ticket if they don't.

The significant issue is that we have more population, more cars and where and how to accommodate them. Ely's population is expected to rise 48 per cent by 2021; the only solution is to ration parking space by time limits and to use park-and-ride from several points on the outskirts of the city and to couple this with electronic signs to direct traffic to the available parking spaces.

It is worth considering also the parking disc scheme used successfully elsewhere, where the person parking goes to a local shop and gets a time disc and puts it visibly on the car. It is an honour system, it does work - why not?

Lastly, to just touch on the railway company it must play its part, put its money where their mouth is, build a multi-storey. So much could be done but we must start soon.

RF PRITCHARD

Cannon Street

Little Downham

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