Letter to Councillor Bob Deering: Parking On Maidenhead Street
Dear Councillor Deering,
I hope my letter finds you well.
I wanted to get in touch in regards to the continued issue of parking on Maidenhead Street in Hertford Town Centre, following the introduction of a new traffic regulation order (TRO) by Hertfordshire County Council at the start of September.
When I first wrote to you on this issue at the start of June, you assured me in your response that “steps were underway to revise the TRO for Maidenhead Street to make enforcement easier,” and acknowledged that this was an issue “not caused by Coronavirus but exacerbated by it.”
I note that the new TRO for Maidenhead Street published earlier this month issues that orders be given under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to “prevent the likelihood of danger arising to the public and as a response to, or with the intention of mitigating risks related to, the coronavirus pandemic.”
We’ve both acknowledged that the parking situation on Maidenhead Street pre-dates the Coronavirus pandemic and, although it is impossible to tell what the future holds, it seems likely it will continue past the pandemic’s eventual end without appropriate enforcement.
Can you confirm whether or not these new measures will remain in place for the entirety of the 18 month period specified in the TRO or if they are intended only as a stop gap throughout the pandemic?
Should the pandemic come to an end before 18 months has passed - as we all hope it will - can you confirm that a post-COVID TRO will be put in place to continue to manage the parking issues on Maidenhead Street?
My primary concern is that it does not currently appear that the measures laid out in the new TRO are being enforced and the problem now seems worse than when I first wrote to you over 3 months ago. A number of local residents have raised concerns to me and many more have raised the alarm on social media.
This poses a particular risk with regards to the Coronavirus pandemic and I would again raise the concern I outlined to you in June: that when cars line both sides of the Maidenhead Street it does not allow for ample social distancing. As we seek to reopen the local economy and send children back to school - and as COVID-19 cases and the R rate increases across the country - this could pose a significant health risk in one of the Hertford’s busiest streets.
The new TRO explicitly states that motor vehicles should be prohibited in Maidenhead Street at any time and that there should also be a prohibition of vehicles waiting in the street at any time. This of course excludes goods vehicles and similar vehicles, which are exempt.
These measures would go a long way towards solving the issue on Maidenhead Street and circumvent any potential threat to public health. However, as it does not currently appear that they are being enforced, I would raise the following questions:
Why are the measures laid out in there new TRO not currently being enforced on Maidenhead Street?
What role are parking attendants, police and other attendants currently playing in the enforcement of the new restrictions, if any?
A question I raised in June that I would like to return to is why it does not appear that the gates installed at either end of Maidenhead Street are being used either? It is a concern I’ve heard from many local residents and, as the gates were installed in the £1 million Bulls Plain redevelopment, there is a question as to whether residents are getting their moneys worth.
I appreciate this is an issue we have discussed previously, however, in light of the new TRO I would appreciate clarification on the following points
Is there a specific reason the gates on Maidenhead Street are so infrequently used?
Will your approach in regards to the use of the gates change as a result of the new TRO?
If the attitude to the use of the gates is unlikely to change, what other methods will be used to maintain the pedestrianisation of the street?
As discussed previously, I understand that the nature of restrictions in regards to the Coronavirus pandemic are regularly changing, and appreciate the huge amount of work being done by our local authorities to comply with them. It’s vital that local people are kept abreast of the situation and would appreciate if you could confirm the following:
How will Hertfordshire County Council, Herts Highways and other relevant authorities keep local people up to date with the changing situation on Maidenhead Street?
As mentioned in previous letters, I would be extremely grateful if regular updates could be issued publicly in regards to this issue, so that information can be shared easily with concerned local residents.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and I look forward to hearing from you soon.