Anger over St Neots parking ban
ST Neots Town Council has been accused of being short-sighted after councillors decided to ban parking on a piece of land outside a village church. The town council-owned land outside Eaton Socon Parish Church in Great North Road has been used as a car p
ST Neots Town Council has been accused of being short-sighted after councillors decided to ban parking on a piece of land outside a village church.
The town council-owned land outside Eaton Socon Parish Church in Great North Road has been used as a car park for church-goers for years.
But that practice has now ended after the council decided the land was unsafe and they could not justify providing a permanent car park.
Instead the land, which is part of the village green, is to be restored to grass and a fence erected to prevent vehicles parking on it. Councillors did, however, agree to make a gravel right of way across the land to allow access to the church for funeral vehicles.
The decision has caused anger and upset among the church council which believes the land should be retained as a community parking facility.
Richard De Fraine, a member of the church council, said: "I think it is incredibly short-sighted of the council to revert this space to village green all for the sake of a relatively small sum of money, in the scheme of things, which would allow it to be maintained as a community facility.
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"I am concerned for the young families who use the church in the week having to find alternative safe locations to load and unload their children.
"It is a well-used community car park, used by visitors to the village, the Tesco store and the church.
"The council just seems to making its decision on costs alone and not looking at the long-term benefit to the community."
Cllr Steve Van De Kerkhove said the chosen option was not the cheapest but one that would prove most beneficial to St Neots taxpayers.
He said other options explored to retain the parking spaces included a tarmac car park, which would have cost �6,700 or a gravel one for �975.
Cllr Van De Kerkhove said: "It is not a car park - it is part of the village green. We just cannot justify the rest of the people of this town having to pay more tax to provide this car park.