EXTENDED PARKING PERMIT AREA FOR PLAYGROUP BUT NO LOADING BAY AT CENTRE

The area covered by parking permits for the Jigsaw pre-school playgroup has been extended to include the underground car park at Waitrose but no loading bay has been allocated at the George Reynolds Centre. Parents who take their children to the popular weekday playgroup, which takes place in the GRC, have always been able to obtain a parking permit for the Henhayes car park with a maximum stay of 15 minutes in a parking bay.

The George Reynolds Centre has experienced parking problems for its delivery drivers since it opened in November 2012. After stopping briefly to unload goods and supplies to the centre, drivers have returned to their vehicles to find a parking charge notice for the penalty of £70, attached to their windscreen. The GRC is owned by Crewkerne Town Council and run on its behalf by Crewkerne Sports and Youth Activities Ltd. The centre is promoted as a premier community, sports and licensed recreation club. Manager Sarah Wills told Crewkerne Headlines And Topics that she had written countless letters to South Somerset District Council, backing up appeals against the parking fines, which she added had mostly had favourable outcomes for the delivery drivers, exhibitors, musicians and visiting sports teams and referees that had been issued with them.

Sarah Wills has raised the parking problem for loading at the centre with the town council on numerous occasions. She has also been issued with a parking notice when returning from cash & carry with provisions, as have brewery lorries, tradesmen contracted to work at the GRC, stall holders at exhibitions, musicians and bands. An argument put forward by SSDC is that vehicles with the boot open would not incur a parking penalty, as it would be evident to the district council’s civil enforcement officers (previously known as parking attendants) that the driver was on a delivery. Ms Wills replied by explaining that leaving a vehicle unattended with the boot open is an invitation to any person so inclined to help themselves, or if raining could ruin catering provisions or damage expensive equipment.

There are double yellow lines in front of the George Reynolds Centre, a parking area reserved for buses dropping off people to the Aqua Centre, a parking space for mini-buses dropping off visitors to the Henhayes Community Centre, which is opposite and has several parking spaces reserved for their permit holders only. Following the recent developments of an extended permit area for the playgroup, we contacted Sarah Wills to see if the loading problems had improved. Sarah Wills said: “The council have now marked ‘No Parking’ from the bus drop area downwards, so it would appear that the GRC is not getting a loading area. The GRC has received no updates to tell us otherwise and as far as I know, the parking permits are only for Jigsaw parents.”

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