Car parking in Hitchin is dreadful. The local Conservative-controlled Council has created of a patchwork of parking permits that now covers almost the entire town. Whilst there are some public car parks, their capacity is inadequate, and they're charged in the wrong way, which discourages visitors to the town and makes it difficult for those who commute to Hitchin in order to work.
A 'pay-on-exit' arrangement would encourage people to stay longer in the town, thereby supporting local businesses. There also needs to be the ability to buy car parking tickets for the day ahead, which would help to discourage drink/drug driving.
To a lot of local residents, the current system of car permits feels like a scam. On the roads where they've been introduced, parking spaces have been removed, and an infinite number of permits can seemingly be sold for a finite number of spaces. Each year, the few roads which don't have permits then suffer unbearable parking problems, and huge increases in pedestrian and road accidents. The roundabout on Periwinkle Lane is one current black spot.
Car permit zones are all different, all with different hours and limits, and don't take any consideration of grandparents, childcare providers, and local businesses. Equally, in the heart of the town centre itself, after 3pm most days, the streets are empty, yet busy workers (who pay for the whole system) can't drive in and park for a few minutes for the sort of small errands that would support local retailers.
All these problems have been created by the inadequate provision of car parking both at Hitchin Rail Station, and in the town itself. The Liberal Democrats support the develoopment of more public car parks within walking distance of the town centre and the railway station, and we want to reform the approach to ticketing and permit provision to provide a better deal to local people.