Hundreds sign petition over Saffron Walden parking times

Jacqui Portway, Richard Lightly, Serzgin Yildirim, and Sandra Eden with the petition

Jacqui Portway, Richard Lightly, Serzgin Yildirim, and Sandra Eden with the petition - Credit: Archant

Halving parking times on Saffron Walden Common from four hours to two has hit trade according to businesses in the town.

Hundreds of shoppers have signed a town council petition to get the decision reversed.

On market day on Tuesday, people queued to add their signatures.

Richard Lightly, a fruit and veg market stall holder, said: “We are not getting people staying in town as long. They are doing their shopping but looking at their watches and rushing off. Takings are down.”

Jacqui Portway, whose stall Country Collections has been at the market on Tuesdays and Saturdays for the past 32 years, said: “This is creating a bad vibe in Saffron Walden. Normally, they come here looking forward to shopping in the market in a relaxed atmosphere. Now they are in a hurry.”

Serzgin Yildirim, owner of the Maze Restaurant in the Market Square, said: “It’s bound to affect business, though we are still busy.”

Hairdresser Michael Riccio of Riccio Hair Design said: “All our clients are complaining, it’s causing them a lot of stress.

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“We have had such a backlash of complaints and people apologising for being late because they were looking for somewhere to park. We’ve been here 28 years and we’ve never had so many complaints about something happening in the town.”

District Councillor Susan Barker, responsible for environmental services, said: “Uttlesford District Council commissioned an independent review of its car parks across the district.

“One proposal was to encourage more short stay parking at the Common for greater turnover of spaces. We have had regular meetings with the town council and town team and they were aware of these changes.

“There are a number of other car parks for longer stay. Swan Meadow has ample capacity and convenience for the town centre. The Fairycroft/Waitrose car park is a similar walking distance from the town centre and people can park there for three hours.”