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Parking bays saved at the eleventh hour to relief of traders in Ewell Village
Parking bays in a congested village have been saved at the eleventh hour to the relief of worried traders.
Surrey Country Council was scheduled to get rid of the bays in Ewell High Street on Monday as part of a trial to tackle congestion and air pollution.
But following uproar from shopkeepers last week, a councillor stepped in and secured a stay of execution.
New double yellow lines were still painted along the street as planned this week.
Councillor John Beckett spoke with traders over the weekend and emailed late on Sunday night to ask council officers to keep the eight bays and change the parking times instead.
Coun Beckett said: "It’s an emotional subject. I feel sorry for traders because they have just got over six weeks of gas works and it’s an unfortunate timing issue."
He said he had suggested reducing the waiting time to 30 minutes, which would still give people time to pop into shops and pick up dry-cleaning on the high street.
Mark Peach, from computer repair shop Fastfixyourpc.com, said they were informed about the removal of the parking spaces last Thursday - a move that would have killed off trade.
Mr Peach said: "There’s been zero consultation. We understand it was an air quality issue but they did not consult any of the traders at all.
He said these parking bays were taken out during recent gas works, adding: "Footfall went off a cliff. It was a nightmare."
He thanked Coun Beckett and Epsom and Ewell MP Chris Grayling for intervening to save the bays, but feared the double yellow lines could discourage restaurant patrons in the evening.
In March at an Epsom and Ewell local committee meeting, it was recommended that parking changes were tested and a public consultation carried to during the trial.
The council paper said: "It is recognised that the removal of parking may be a contentious proposal. Therefore it is recommended to make the parking changes using the experimental Traffic Regulation Order procedure."
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