Saturday, 24 September 2011

The view from the heart of Stamford

We have lived in central Stamford for nearly 30 years and for 25 of those have been pressing for residents' parking, either through neighbourhood groups or by letters to councillors or officers. It seems that the buck has always been passed and no one was prepared to take up the cause. We have survived because of understanding shown by a traffic warden and also the police, but there is considerable hostility from officials whose stance appears to be: "Why did you buy a property without off-street parking if you have a vehicle to park?" Of course, there are hundreds of such properties within central Stamford and many of the owners or tenants have vehicles, because they depend on them for getting to work, visiting relatives, carting children about, trips and holidays. It is extremely expensive to purchase season tickets for long-stay car parks, and where we live is too far from such a car park to make this practicable. Also there is a history of cars being vandalised on these car parks. We have tried to rent a council garage but these, too, are so far away from where we live, that this is simply not an option. In addition, council garages are so small that only the smallest vehicles fit in them at all. There is not enough space to store the bikes that would give a means of getting home from the garage, and besides, this is not officially allowed.

We are told that residents' parking can only be considered as an option once CPE is in force, and even that will require considerable political input. What we are not told is what we are expected to do with our vehicles in the interim. Sell them? Scrap them? Park them somewhere on streets without restricted parking? The cars will not simply disappear! There could be a campaign of everyone simply refusing to pay any fines levied or to refuse payment of council tax until the matter is resolved.

Very important is that the councils involved are made aware of the contribution that residents make to the economy of the towns where they live. If they can park their cars safely near their homes, these people will use the local shops and services on foot, without adding either congestion or pollution to the roads or clogging up car parks. If they have to move their cars elsewhere, they may as well shop out of town or use services in other places. Stamford is a market town with an unusually high number of residents living, and often also working within the historic core or nearby. This contributes to the liveliness, economy and safety of the town centre. However, because of Stamford's historic layout, many of the houses are terraced, front the street and have neither rear access nor gardens at the front or rear. The people in them rely on on-street parking in order to be able to live there, and this is why a residents' parking scheme is overdue, necessary and a top priority to be organised alongside CPE. It is time the substantial number of residents' voices are heard and action taken to give them support.


  1. As a resident of St Leonards Street, I agree wholeheartedly with Liz. I am sure that like me, all of the town centre dwellers take every opportunity to walk to Stamford's great shops, bars, cafes,restaurants, the Arts Centre and so on. We keep the town alive, spend our money locally and take pride in our surroundings. Having a car is inevitably part of everybody's life these days, and surely a residents parking scheme is so blatantly obvious. Otherwise the outcome will be for those cars to be parked in other streets, causing inconvenience to the residents and making their lives difficult as well. Never once have I known poor parking in the town's residential streets to cause any danger or obstruction, people are not selfish or inconsiderate, they just want to live, park and be a vital part of our town.

  2. Can I reiterate everything that Liz has said. I too live in the centre of town and am an active user of all the Stamford facilities - shops, restaurants, Arts Centre. My children all walk to the local school or travel by bus. I use my car primarily for driving to work and back. I need to be able to park near my house and am happy to pay a reasonable amount for a residents permit that allows me to do so. If CPE is brought in without a residents parking scheme, there will be a snowball effect with the remaining free streets in Stamford finding parking impossible as town centre residents look for other options. Perhaps we should create our own permits and refuse to pay fines?! I just can't believe the council could introduce one scheme without the other. It's nonsensical.


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