SO the Ramsey bus gets stuck in Priory Road, (The Hunts Post, February 11). Emergency vehicles have difficulty getting through. Residents frequently complain to me that, returning during the day, they are often unable to park near their house. Not much f

SO the Ramsey bus gets stuck in Priory Road, (The Hunts Post, February 11). Emergency vehicles have difficulty getting through. Residents frequently complain to me that, returning during the day, they are often unable to park near their house. Not much fun if you have impaired mobility. These examples show the extent of the failure of parking policy for Huntingdon.

What is needed is a more thoughtful and thought through response. Parking policy should have two aims: to support Huntingdon town as a centre for work and shopping and to enable residents to park reasonably close to their properties.

How is this to be achieved? Well, it is not that difficult.

To deal with those who come into our town to work, establish three park-and-ride centres at Brampton, Tesco and the Hartford roundabout. Frequent shuttle buses to run 7-10 in the morning and 3.30-7 in the afternoon. The charge should be free for the first year.

In our recent survey only six per cent of replies said the subsequent charge should be at the full rate: 91 per cent said it should be a nominal charge or free. Any charge should be based on the car and not the number of passengers. This encourages car sharing.

This move would kill off most of the rush hour peak that makes travel at that time so miserable. Short-stay parking costs in town should be reduced to encourage shoppers, but long stay increased to discourage all day parking.

Residents in Ambury, Avenue, Priory, Cowper, Primrose and any other roads that suffer should be given a sticker for their windscreens. This would give them permission to park in these roads between 1pm and 2pm. All other cars should be banned from parking there at that time. The police should be asked to enforce this rigorously. Repeated £30 fines are an effective way of encouraging use of the park-and-ride.

Once applied, commuters would have a way of getting into work that does not clog up Hartford Road and other main approaches into our town. It would free up spaces in the town centre. It would also reduce the stop-start nightmare on the ring road at peak hours.

Shoppers would be able to access the town centre to support a vibrant commercial economy. Residents near the town centre would be able to drive away knowing that they could park in their road on their return, and buses, fire engines and ambulances would be able to get through.

This is all straightforward and doable if those in charge of the district council had the political will to do something about it, rather than unimaginatively sticking up parking charges which simply brings forward the death of Huntingdon town centre.

Councillor MIKE SHELLENS

Huntingdon Liberal Democrats