OPINION: Council faces tough decision to stop motorists parking on common land in Kendal
NEXT week, the South Lakeland District Council cabinet will be faced with the painful but necessary decision as to whether to prevent cars from parking on an area of common land in the centre of Kendal.
Readers who have been following this saga, will recall that there has for sometime been concern about the parking of some 200 cars on common land on New Road next to the river Kent. While this provides a much needed car parking capability, (without cost to the driver) it is unregulated and, as a result, unsafe.
The area has been the scene of several minor incidents. Indeed, the car park has been confirmed as unsafe by recent inspections and reports. This indicates the clear danger to pedestrians and other motorists of the current parking configuration.
As we know from a 2009 fatal accident in a privately run car park in the district, car parks need to be well marked and well organised to be safe. Sadly the current arrangement on New Road is not.
If the cabinet approves the recommendation next week, you may wonder what will happen to the 200 vehicles that park there everyday? Well, we certainly hope that they will not be parked on the residential streets outside the town centre. To offer an incentive to drivers to park in the Westmorland Shopping Centre car park, we are proposing to lower the cost of all day parking to £1.00, for those drivers who park between 7am and 9am.
We did something similar at Stockbridge Lane (£1 a day, but no time restrictions on entry) with great success. The Westmorland Shopping Centre car park, like the Stockbridge Lane car park, is under-utilised and should be able to absorb the extra usage.
This, however, is a short term solution. We recognise the need for long term affordable car parking and as a result are urgently exploring other viable options to increase capacity at reasonable costs.
It is our goal that our towns in the district offer safe and attractive car parking facilities to workers, residents and visitors alike. This proposed action will move us one step closer to this objective.
Leader of South Lakeland District Council