ADDITIONAL long stay spaces have been allocated at the main town centre car park in Fordingbridge.

Twenty four of the existing short stay spaces have been turned into long stay at Fordingbridge Town car park for a three month period, which New Forest Council says will be reviewed.

Tim Devane, of Timothy's, is one of the business owners that have been pushing to get more long stay spaces as staff have to park in short stay and risk getting a fine if they are unable to move their vehicles in time.

He said there was a “tremendous pressure” on the town centre car parking, which had been impacted by the population growth and properties being built without parking, adding: “The amount of bays for long-term parking far out ways the demand.

“Many of the local tradespeople who have businesses within the town centre find themselves unable to find a space for long-term parking and are forced to use the short stay car park, and then move their vehicles after three hours.

“On many occasions getting to your car in time has proved extremely difficult for so many reasons - customers or clients in the shop - making it impossible to leave. This has resulted in many businesses being fined heavily.”

He says he was “delighted” extra bays for long stay parking had been arranged. 

Tim contacted New Forest District councillor Edward Heron last November about the car parking issues and there have been discussions, as well as Zoom meetings, since. 

Emily Coots, who runs Emily’s Beauty, has also been lobbying the council and welcomed the change. She has ended up with car parking fines herself.

She said: “I’m very pleased to see they have actually listened to us.”

Concerns were raised about the lack of long stay spaces during a December meeting of Fordingbridge Town Council.

There had also been calls from a resident to reconfigure the car park due to the impact of more people working from home during the pandemic and needing to park for longer.

An NFDC spokesperson said: “In response to the changing use of the car park following lockdowns, more residents using long stay spaces and the vaccination centre being adjacent to the car park, we have allocated 24 of the existing short stay parking spaces as temporary long stay spaces, for an initial three month period to July.

“Their use and occupancy levels will be monitored and we will review and make a decision on the balance of long and short stay spaces which make up the car park at the end of the three months.”

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