Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

No progress on London Road shoppers parking

Regular readers of the Voice will be aware of our coverage of the issue of shoppers’ parking, especially the bay opposite Buchanan Gardens.
It is sad to relate that precious little seems to have been achieved since we first raised the matter in our issue of May 2007. We said then that “the most common complaint we hear from local traders is over the lack of parking spaces”. We interviewed traders in, and near the London Road parade of shops opposite Buchanan Gardens, including KC Computers, Little Mill Bakery, High Spirits, Mick’s, and HKS. We concluded that “it seems clear that there is broad support from general traders for the idea of 2-hour parking bays in the London Road parade”.
By July 2007, we reported that “recently elected councillor Andrew Cartwright (pictured)  formally invited Rasoul Shahilow, Hastings Council’s Parking Manager, to pay a visit to Bohemia this month and see the problems for himself.”
The plight of Bohemia’s shops was highlighted in our issue of Febraury 2008, “Five local shops are closing – and all cite the lack of parking as being mainly or partly to blame”. The shops were white goods retailer ‘Appliance Master’, specialist greetings card shop ‘Roseanna & Brian’s’, keycutters and safe specialists ‘Hastings Locksmiths’, long-established bike shop, ‘Hastings Cycles’ and internet business ‘Sell it e-Bay’.
However, by March 2008, Andrew reported “Some time ago the Voice asked me to look into the possibility of improving parking in Bohemia through a number of specific ideas suggested by the Voice’s readers. I was not satisfied with the Council’s response. In January, Cllr Trevor Webb and I met with Richard Homewood (Director of Environment at Hastings Borough Council) to discuss this. I am awaiting a detailed response”.
This year, January 2009, the Voice contacted Andrew for an update and Andrew wrote to Rasoul Shahilow. Rasoul replied “the Traffic Management Group (TMG) meeting on 5th March 2008 considered your request and it was agreed that investigation would be carried out between meetings. 
• Casual observations were made over a number of months and parking space could always be found either here or in the nearby bays thus providing adequate shopper space.
• Many of the surrounding buildings are divided into flats, so creating a need for long term parking.
• There will be conflicting use in such an area but the overwhelming need is for longer than 2 hours residential parking.
• It has been suggested that this area is working quite well at present and does not warrant a change.
• Any suggestions for change are very likely to generate objections for residents.
• It must also be considered that enforcement of such restrictions are difficult and time consuming requiring observation and noting of vehicles and positions every two hours.
If you are of the opinion that the limited waiting should be introduced here I am happy to include it in the next advertising of changes following the TMG meeting on 22.01.09. I await your comments”.
Andrew’s reply to Rasoul: “Please can you tell me why you say “the overwhelming need is for longer than 2 hours residential parking”? Also, who has “suggested that this area is working quite well at present and does not warrant a change”.
And so it goes on … or not.
Councillors for Bohemia: Cllr Andrew Cartwright and Cllr Kim Forward, both of Town Hall, Queens Road, Hastings.  tel: 203231.  tel: 717390.
Update (Feb 16) At its February meeting, the BAA set up a working party to “look again at the whole question of parking in Bohemia”. The group has four members with Andrew Cartwright as chair. Anyone interested in joining, please contact Andrew on 717140.

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