A warning for those intending to park in Saffron Walden town centre

I FELL in love with Saffron Walden after my first visit in the late 70s and eventually moved here in 1980.

I have raised my children here, and for the last 20 years or so have worked for local employers. Until now, I have had nothing but pride for our wonderful town. However, I now feel like a criminal!

Why? – Because last Tuesday I parked (sensibly of course) in the town centre between 7pm and 9.30pm to attend a meeting of the Saffron Computer Club. I’ve done this on two Tuesday evenings every month in or around this same place for the last four years without problem, but this time on returning to my car I find notice of a parking violation demanding payment of a �70 fine, reduced to �35 if paid within 14 days.

To add insult to injury, just two days later I received an intimidating letter from The North Essex Parking Partnership in Colchester demanding full payment.

On investigation, I discover that there is now a blanket parking restriction within a central area of the town centre and because there are no kerbside yellow lines to act as a reminder I genuinely feel this is tantamount to entrapment and yet another squeeze on the unwary motorist.

I fully understand that in large towns & cities, such restrictions may be needed, but, in our town of perhaps a population of only 16,000 or so, can this really be justified - especially during a weeknight when the only traffic in this zone is that which is searching for a parking space.

I know that ignorance of the law is no excuse, and I will, begrudgingly, pay the fine.

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However, having moved to Clavering about three years ago, I knew nothing of these changes, having been out of the loop with local events, and consider this to be grossly unfair.

There are many fine restaurants and public houses in our town that are open in the evenings and they deserve the support of residents together with the many out-of-towners that are drawn here because of their excellent reputation.

But, unless these absurd new regulations are rescinded, I fear that the ‘powers that be’ have yet again shot themselves in the foot, and those visitors that succumb to these ludicrous and petty regulations will justifiably never visit again.

I regret that to say that this episode has left such a nasty taste in the mouth that I will now think twice about spending my hard earned cash in the town centre and feel forced to join the ever increasing band of shoppers who shun our town centre for those places that offer a fairer deal for the motorist.

Richard Dawe

The Hyde