The Planning Application for the Lower Kings Road car park was approved and signed-off by the Planning Authority (Dacorum Borough Council) just before Christmas – 22 nd December 2016 to be precise. We understand that the procurement process for the delivery of the multi-storey car park is now under way.This being Berkhamsted, however, nothing is straightforward, and a group of residents and businesses has come together to mount a legal challenge – a judicial review – of the approval decision by Dacorum. The judicial review process is governed by a strict timetable and is not an ‘opening up’ of the Planning Application per se, but rather a review by a Judge to establish if the decision taken by Dacorum was lawfully made. Judicial reviews do not come cheap, however, and it remains to be seen how the various stages in the judicial process play out.
The construction of a multi-storey car park on the Lower Kings Road site has divided opinion in the town. Some people think that provision of more parking spaces is long overdue and the car park should just be built. There are those who argue that the £3 million cost of a multi-storey car park is money that could be better spent elsewhere, others who believe that more parking is needed but that building on the Lower Kings Road site will cause traffic gridlock in the town, and yet more who want more parking but consider the proposed car park design to be ugly and out of keeping with its location in the Conservation Area. Another view is that the planned layout of the car park is out-dated and fails to address the changes in car design which mean that the dimension of a ‘standard’ car parking bay are no longer adequate for today’s vehicles.
We wait to see what develops.
Berkhamsted Citizens has secured representation on the Town Council Parking Forum, which meets every couple of months. Your views on what is right and what is wrong with parking in Berkhamsted are needed. Should grass verges be paved over to provide more parking spaces, as is happening in Hemel ? Should some amenity greens be sacrificed to allow for additional parking – perhaps with Grasscrete surfacing or Astroturf to maintain a green appearance ? Please respond via the Chairman of Townscape’ sub-committee(), or let the Chairman know your views.