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One of largest employers in Berkhamsted could go if permits scheme goes ahead

What Berkhamsted's new multi-storey car park could look like.

What Berkhamsted's new multi-storey car park could look like.

One of the largest employers in Berkhamsted says he may have to pull his firm out of the town if new parking permits go ahead.

ABC chief executive Jerry Wright was speaking outside a public exhibition of the plans at The Court House in the town’s Church Lane yesterday (Thursday).

He said they would lead to fewer spaces for people to park – which would damage businesses.

The permits, proposed by Berkhamsted Town Council, have been mooted alongside Dacorum Borough Council’s plans for a £3m multi-storey car park in Lower Kings Road.

But Mr Wright said: “We are offered this vision of a car park, which at the moment seems to be a very hazy vision, but the parking permits scheme seems to be very concrete.

“In principle, taking cars off the street and putting them into a dedicated car park building makes sense, but it has to be done in an integrated way at a price that’s affordable.”

The media measurement firm employs 100 people at its Berkhamsted High Street base and Mr Wright estimates that it brings £750,000 a year into the town.

He said: “We like Berkhamsted and have been here for over 20 years and as our business has grown, we have been able to bring a lot of benefits to Berkhamsted.

“We do not want to leave, but if this parking problem cannot be solved come another couple of years, that may be something we have got to consider.”

The permits would see new residents-only zones drawn up around Berkhamsted’s train station and Charles Street.

A protest group gathered outside of The Court House during town council exhibitions on Wednesday and Thursday. A third will be held at Berkhamsted Market on Saturday.

Colin Garrett, 70, of North Road, Berkhamsted, said the two schemes were ‘nutty’ and ‘barmy’.

He said: “Berkhamsted needs more parking, not less and the permits would give us less – it’s a nonsense.

“Although I am pleased to hear about the proposed car park, you want that first and the permits later if you still need them.”

He said that Dacorum Borough Council promised a replacement for Hemel Hempstead’s Pavilion leisure venue, which closed in 2002, and that never happened.

Others complained that the permit plans were inaccurate and past consultations on it had been misleading.

Town councillor Julie Laws, who helped draw up the plans, said if there is no appetite for the permits scheme, it will be abandoned.

She said it was launched to tackle a problem with nuisance parking in the town: “We want to stop residential streets looking like car parks.”

The multi-storey and permit plans are available to view in Berkhamsted Civic Centre until Friday, October 26.

You can see them between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Thursday or from 9am to 4pm on Fridays.

To have your say, email berkhamsted.towncouncil@dacorum.gov.uk

 

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