Staff at Leighton Buzzard vets urged to use their car park as parking permit decision is deferred

Better signs and talks with a local business may hold the key to resolving a parking issue in Leighton Buzzard.

A group of residents in Hockliffe Road will be denied a parking permit scheme for the time being, while attempts are made to resolve the issue they face.

Hockliffe Road, Leighton Buzzard    (Google)

Hockliffe Road, Leighton Buzzard (Google)

The residents of 78 to 96 are frustrated by casual use of the parking spaces outside their homes.

Resident Anton Beale, who has lived on Hockliffe Road for four years, described it as a busy, long, straight road.

“The speed limit is 30mph,” he told Tuesday’s meeting of Central Beds Council’s traffic management committee. “But people often drive in excess of that, and lorries travel along this route.

“The vets opposite has several parking bays that it uses for its customers.

“The owners and employees refuse to use the car park and try to leave the car park free for their customers.

“Often they get there at 8am and don’t leave until 8pm, so you’ll have three to four cars parked there for a 12-hour period.

“I have a young family and often I am forced to park across the road, outside the vets, and then I’m forced to cross the road with my young children.

“If I’ve got my work bag or shopping and two young people it’s quite difficult,” he added.

“A neighbour has a bad leg and he has to walk sometimes quite a distance to get to his car.

“And a lady has put her house up on sale. She just can’t cope with it any more.

“We often have vehicles from Pelham Mews parked outside our house and those vehicles can be left outside for up to a week at a time.

“There’s a transit van, an Aylesbury Council vehicle, and that can be parked outside for three to four days.

“There is enough space if people weren’t occupying these spaces for such a long time.”

Hockliffe Road (A4012) is a main access route into Leighton Buzzard from the A5.

Conservative Leighton Buzzard South councillor Amanda Dodwell suggested the residents raise a petition for a permit scheme, after they approached her.

“Given the officers’ report agrees the vets and Pelham Mews have sufficient on-site parking I am somewhat bemused that their recommendation is the residents’ request be refused.

“This seems to contradict the evidence contained in the report.

“I appreciate the residents are not guaranteed a space outside their home.

“But it seems grossly unfair that a business should occupy those bays when they have spaces on their own premises, as does Pelham Mews, particulary when those off-road areas aren’t available to Hockliffe Road residents.

“I think the report gives little consideration to the residents’ legitimate concerns and dismisses their request without giving them a fair hearing.”

Conservative Arlesey councillor Ian Dalgarno said: “The parking bays are sufficient for the number of properties there.

“I recognise the effect the veterinary surgery is having an impact on yourselves.

“When we’ve looked at the car parking for the vets and signage it’s extremely inadequate.

“There’s one sign saying veterinary car park,” he added. “But it’s covered up with a big bush, so as you’re driving along the road you can’t see it.

“Before we go putting in a parking scheme what I’d like to do is work with the veterinary practice to get them to change their behaviours to improve the signage and direct staff to use the car park.

“We’ll look at what highways can do for directional signage on Hockliffe Road, directing people into the vets.

“The situation will be monitored,” explained councillor Dalgarno, who chairs the meeting.

“If the vets doesn’t change its behaviours, we’ll review that and then look at a permit scheme. We’ll bring this back to the May meeting.”