The Aqua Centre bus stop is to be used by coaches bringing visitors to the Henhayes Centre for a trial period of six months. A request from the trustees of Henhayes Centre was presented to town councillors by Rosemary Prince, during the open forum at last month’s meeting in the council chambers. Rosemary Prince confirmed that the request was to allow for short stay parking on the Aqua Centre bus stop on Henhayes car park, on the centres busiest days when car park spaces outside of Henhayes Centre were full, so that visitors, many of whom were elderly, frail and vulnerable, could be safely guided into the centre from the closest parking space. Rosemary Prince advised councillors that they had been monitoring the area for traffic using the Aqua Centre bus stop, at their busiest times, and apart from three recycling lorries on the Monday and a coach bringing children for swimming on the Wednesday, there had been no other buses or heavy traffic.
Councillors were concerned that due consideration would need to be given to any further requests from the George Reynolds Centre or Aqua Centre if they granted permission. Henhayes Centre has several parking spaces reserved for their permit holders outside of the centre and a parking space for mini-buses outside of the GRC. The George Reynolds Centre 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 but has no reserved short-stay parking space for delivery drivers, exhibitors, musicians or visiting sports teams and referees, who have found their vehicles issued with a parking charge notice of £70 on numerous occasions, since the GRC first opened in November 2012.
There are double yellow lines in front of the GRC and a possible parking space from the bus stop downwards was marked ‘No Parking’ in March this year. Parents taking their pre-school children to the playgroup at the GRC have parking permits that allow them to short-stay parking in the underground Waitrose car park, a point which was clarified at the council meeting by councillor Mike Best. Councillor Angie Singleton said that the timetables at the Aqua Centre were never the same and that coaches often brought children for swimming lessons at short notice, when they would need to use the designated bus stop. A proposal by councillor Ben Hodgson to allow Henhayes Centre’s request for a trial period was seconded by councillor Katy Pritchard and agreed by a show of hands from the other councillors.