It’s good news for Ewell Village traders after the council voted this week to keep the parking bays they say they need to survive.
There was outrage in April when Surrey County Council gave the High Street businesses just a few days’ notice that they would be removing the parking bays outside their shops for congestion and air quality reasons - a move traders argued would kill the village.
An emergency consultation with the traders’ association produced a compromise proposal to keep the parking bays, but restrict them to 30 minutes during the day, with no waiting during rush hours.
Borough and county councillors discussed the issues at a public local committee meeting on Monday. Ewell ward councillor Michael Arthur spoke strongly in favour of the 30-minute suggestion, making a point of how little consultation there was when the original removal was planned.
Stoneleigh ward councillor Mike Teasdale was sceptical, arguing it would be "virtually impossible" to enforce, as there is enough difficulty enforcing the current longer limit.
Also supporting the 30-minute parking proposal were county councillor for Ewell John Beckett, who worked with them on the proposal, and Stamford ward councillor Colin Taylor.
"It is important that we do not cause the shops to go bankrupt," Coun Taylor argued, addressing the worries about enforcement. "Between the difficulty of enforcement and making the shops go bankrupt, we have to give consideration to the shops."
Coun Beckett mentioned disagreement among the business owners about when rush hour starts - with some arguing 3pm is too early, however other councillors pointed out that school pick-up starts from that time.
The committee backed the traders’ proposal 7-2, with just Coun Teasdale and Town ward Councillor Neil Dallen voting to remove the bays altogether.
The parking bays will now remain in place for an experimental period of up to 18 months, with free 30-minute parking between 9.30am and 3pm, no waiting during rush hours and unrestricted parking on Sundays and overnight.
The county council will assess the move’s success during this time.
Erol Harman, owner of Ewell Village Dry Cleaners, one of the traders involved in the proposal, said: "Everybody’s very happy; half an hour suits everybody just right.
"At least they came and listened to us - it’s the first time the council’s listened to its tenants!"