Proposed parking permit scheme in Kettering to be discussed

The proposed extension to the residents' parking scheme in Kettering
The proposed extension to the residents' parking scheme in Kettering

Residents have been invited to two drop-in sessions to give their views about plans to extend a parking permit zone in an area of Kettering.

Earlier this year, Kettering Council consulted with householders on the streets neighbouring The Crescent and Queensbury Road, with a view to potentially extending the residents' only parking scheme currently in place around the train station.

The majority were not in favour but there was some support for parking restrictions to be introduced in The Drive, part of Headlands and part of Broadway.

It could see this area become a permit holders' only zone, with restrictions in place all day, every day. Each permit would cost £35, although having a permit would not guarantee residents a space. Visitor parking permits would be £6 for a book of 24.

The council will be carrying out a postal survey later this year but is first holding two drop-in sessions to try to get a better understanding of residents' views.

The drop-in sessions take place tomorrow (September 3) at St Michael and All Angels Church in Garfield Street from 5pm to 7pm and then at Kettering Council offices on Thursday, September 19, from 5pm to 7pm.

Caroline Carr, owner of CC's cake supply shop in Broadway likened the proposals to "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut".

She said: "I'm divided because I can see the point of view of the people who live around here but during the day, we don't have a problem so I think it's a bit over the top. I think it would make more sense to have parking restrictions in place between 8am and 10am, which would also give the traffic wardens a specific time to check the area.

"I couldn't afford to pay for the tickets I'd have to buy to allow my customers to park outside so I would have to move. It would also put my customers off, particularly the elderly ones if they have to struggle in and out of the shop with visitor permits."

However, David Begg, who lives in Broadway, says residents in the section of the street earmarked for the scheme are unanimously in favour of parking restrictions. He suggested a parking permit scheme but with some parking allowed for non-residents, such as introducing a two-hour limit.

He said: "I have lived here for 40 years and over the years the problem has got worse - we're sick to death of not being able to park outside our houses. We see commuters every day, getting out of their cars at 7am with their laptops and heading to the station. They don't get back until late so people who live here who get home earlier have nowhere to park. We've even seen some of them leave their cars on a Monday morning and not come back until Friday.

"This would just be an extension of the scheme in Queensbury Road. We have always borne the brunt of commuter parking because we're closest to the station."

One Headlands resident, who did not wish to be named, said several houses on her road do not have driveways, which means those residents very often have to park in neighbouring streets. She said she would like to see a parking permit scheme in place along Headlands but still with the option for non-permit holders to park for up to two hours.

She said: "I haven't been able to park outside my house for years. When I've parked in other streets, I've had my car vandalised and abusive notes left on it. I think there's a misconception that all the houses on Headlands have driveways but they don't."

The issue appears to have divided residents in the area. Janet Marchand is the secretary of the Headlands Area Residents Association. She encouraged householders to make their feelings known so the council can make a decision based on as many responses as possible.

She said: "Feelings are running high in both directions. It's so important that people make their views heard now so council knows what decision to make.

"My own personal opinion is that I'm happy with how things are at the moment. We're further down Headlands so the issue here is that pupils from Bishop Stopford School park along this part of the road. That isn't a problem - it just means residents' parking would make it difficult for them.

"I do think this idea of just doing half the area would cause more problems as you might get a situation where someone who has to have a permit parks outside a neighbour's house who is not in the scheme."