Thursday, 22 July 2010

Too much piecemeal and incoherent planning

Thanks to one of the residents, the bins in our road were emptied again yesterday. A month or so back, most residents in the road, a cul-de-sac, went for three weeks without any bin collection simply because the bin lorry was unable to squeeze between the cars parked by commuters on both sides of the road! So an enterprising resident made a notice asking cars not to park on one side on Wednesday so that bin collections can be made. So far, to be fair to commuters, the notice has worked.

But why should it be left to a resident to do this? Is this an example of David Cameron's "Big Society" at work? To save the Council both money and the awkward job of having to make a decision?

When proposals for parking restrictions were proposed for certain roads over a year ago, our Chairman pointed out that this would only push the problem onto other roads and that what was needed was an overall plan for parking throughout Leatherhead. He has, of course, been proved right.

To make matters worse, Surrey County Council in it wisdom decided not to implement any restrictions in two of the designated roads. What a surprise that the situation has got worse! Meanwhile we do what we can to get our bins emptied. But on any other weekday, I see no way delivery lorries, fire engine or ambulance could get up our road. Tradesmen who have come to our house have been amazed that such a situation has been allowed to arise when a solution is so obvious.

Now we have once again talk of yet another revamp of the High Street and the bit of Church Street between the barrier and the High Street. In view of the history of the various past attempts, can we have any confidence that the current efforts will be any more successful? Or will it be another patching up job? And what about the rest of Church Street? Coming into the town past empty shopping premises is not exactly a good advertisement for the town.

What about Bridge Street and North Street? Shouldn't we be thinking about the whole of the town centre, not tinkering again with just part of it? Would it not make more sense to have an overall strategy for the whole town centre? That of course, must involve parking, which is what I started with.

In my opinion Leatherhead has suffered too much from piecemeal and incoherent planning: we need an overall and coherent strategy for parking for Leatheread as a whole together with a coherent strategy for the whole of the town centre.

Little wonder that some people look back with nostalgia to the days of the Leatherhead & Urban District Council. Give us back out town!

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