The Molesey Residents Association is a non-party political organisation which aims to protect and enhance the amenities and the environment of East and West Molesey.

Letter to Molesey News and Mail about Car Parking Charges

To: The Editor, Molesey News and Mail

It is disappointing that you continue to misrepresent the position of the Molesey Residents Association (MRA) on the introduction of car park charges in the Walton Road car park (News & Mail front page, 9 September).

The fact is that the MRA has consistently opposed plans to introduce car-parking charges in Molesey, and furthermore we are the only group on the Council to have done so. I should explain that we have no objection to the principle of charging for use of the Council’s car parks, but as far as Molesey is concerned we do not believe that the knock on effects have been properly thought through, and we remain concerned about the Council’s current proposals. The main problem in Molesey is a shortage of overall parking capacity. The car park is very small, and there simply aren’t enough car parking spaces. Action to address potential displacement by extending yellow line restrictions in nearby roads would simply reduce parking capacity still further, and we are worried that this in turn will affect the ongoing viability of our remaining local shops.

The introduction of car parking charges throughout Elmbridge has been the subject of a long series of debates in Council over many years, and in these debates MRA Councillors have always voted against charges. The key decision to introduce charges, and to make the necessary Parking Places Order, was finally taken by the Council in February 2005, in spite of MRA opposition. The October 2005 Council vote you refer to in your article concerned the subsequent Cabinet proposals for implementing the Council’s decision. MRA Councillors supported these proposals simply because, in the light of pressure from the MRA, the Cabinet had agreed to place Molesey in the final stage of a phased implementation programme. The rationale was to allow sufficient time to consider the difficulties we had highlighted. During the debate (and on other occasions) the then Cabinet portfolio holder, Roy Green, assured us that no charges would be introduced in Molesey until these outstanding difficulties had been investigated and addressed.

It is regrettable that in spite of continued attempts to so we have been unable to engage either the current or the previous Cabinet portfolio holder in serious discussions about our concerns. Last year I prepared a paper for the MRA analysing the existing parking capacity in Molesey, and recommending a number of easements to the to the current yellow line on-street parking restrictions before car park charges were introduced. The MRA submitted the paper to both Elmbridge and Surrey last year for consideration, but in spite of repeated efforts to chase it up I am afraid we have still to receive any feedback on our suggestions whatsoever.

I spoke to the Cabinet portfolio holder at Elmbridge Council as recently as last month, and was advised that he would contact me shortly to discuss the implementation plans and timetable for Molesey, including the MRA’s recommendations, but I am still waiting to hear from him. In the meantime the MRA would urge Elmbridge Cabinet members to defer any plans to introduce car-parking charges in Molesey until the concerns we have repeatedly raised about the knock-on effects have been fully considered and addressed.

Michael Axton

Elmbridge Councillor. Molesey South