St John’s car park, to the side of St. John’s Chapel, which is also the town council chambers, has been a point of contention for some time, after the previous Conservative led town council agreed to an expensive contract with the diocese to restrict its use to town councillors and annually rented spaces, whilst contributing to its renovation. The Labour town council, which took over in May, promised to cancel the contract and remove the barrier, opening the car park to free public use.
There are supporters and detractors of both schemes.
As the previous council had signed a legally binding contract, there were some stumbling blocks to fulfilling this promise and renegotiations have had to occur. During this time the barrier was raised during working hours to allow the public to use the car park during the day.
The car park has now been declared as officially open for use by the public.
The council stated on its website, “This will be for a trial period of 6 months and if no issues are to be found the full lease will be varied.”
This suggests that if there are no problems, the terms of the lease can be altered, but have not yet been permanently altered.
There are 3 spaces reserved for town councillors, 2 spaces for disabled badge holders, and 26 more for use by the public. The rules are to only use the designated bays, and not to park in a disabled bay without a disabled permit.