Emotions rev over '˜unsightly' car park

Three-quarters of Berkhamsted think a four-storey car park will '˜blight the town', according to a group which gives residents a voice.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 7:00 am
An artist's impression of the proposed multi-storey car park in Lower Kings Road, Berkhamsted

There are plans in place for a 331-space car park in Lower Kings Road next to Waitrose, replacing the 122-space pay and display car park owned by the authority.

Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) is due to discuss the proposal in the coming months and it is hoped that more spaces will alleviate pressure on the station car park and residential streets.

But there is strong opposition to the plans, including from Herts County Council and The Berkhamsted Citizens Association (BCA).

B-Hive, which gauges interest in Berkhamsted developments, has found 57 per cent of the 232 people it surveyed are against the car park.

The group said three-quarters think the structure would ‘blight the town’ and 61 per cent of people are worried about emissions affecting the air quality.

It says more than 70 per cent of people surveyed think DBC ‘has not done enough’ to involve and inform local people.

B-Hive spokesman Jane Collis said: “There is a strong message that local people object to the car park proposal and are disappointed by the council’s consultation process.”

There are currently 37 objections compared to five approvals which have been submitted to DBC.

A resident who lives in Egerton Road said: “I feel that this multi-storey car park will increase congestion and be an eyesore in such an attractive town.”

Someone living in Greenway said: “It does not fit in with the surrounding listed architecture and will attract more traffic to an already congested town centre.”

And a Moore Road resident said: “I object to a huge sum of public money being squandered in this way.

“I have very rarely seen the existing car park at capacity – even on a Saturday. What are the benefits of an unsightly, costly and arguably unnecessary development?”

As the highway authority, the county council recommends refusal because of ‘unsuitable’ junction assessments.

The BCA says the car park will have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the conservation area, in particular the views from Lower Kings Road.

Berkhamsted Town Council does not object to the plans but has ‘serious concerns’ about ‘the manner in which the programme has been managed’, ‘the reliability and accuracy of statistics’, traffic impact and design details.

If the plans are given the green light by the council’s development control committee, work would start in the coming months with the car park opening in time for Christmas.