Letters round-up: Car park price hike is bad news for theatre goers

Letters to the editor
Letters to the editor

The rise in car parking fees dominates this week’s letters round-up.

MK PARKING IS FREE

The article by Adam King regarding car park charges seemed good news for theatre goers in that the evening tariff is to be scrapped.

Then I read down only to discover that the evening parking rate does not start until 9pm at night.

I am not sure what Aylesbury is trying to do, especially when I read that Counciller Brian Roberts says that “Aylesbury wants to encourage people to support local businesses and keep the economy buoyant”.

My wife and I are regular theatre goers at both Aylesbury Waterside and Milton Keynes. We like to enjoy a meal prior to a production (and help keep the economy buoyant).

If we go to Milton Keynes then we can park yards from the theatre from 6pm for nothing.

Aylesbury Vale have been very supportive of the Waterside Theatre so I would like an explanation as to why cinema users receive a refund and will continue to do so for parking after 6pm and those using the theatre are penalised to the tune of £2.50.

I have sent a copy of this letter to AVDC and invite them to reply.

This letter comes with full permission to publish my name and address and I just wonder why so many people are scared to have their name and/or address published!

Geoffrey Aldridge

The Chestnuts

Leighton Road,

JUST TO BE CLEAR

Having watched the trail of emails on the Bucks Herald website, I felt I just had to respond to set the record straight because of the mis-leading statements by certain contributors to try and make political points.

Firstly the increase in Car Park Tariffs apply to the Exchange Street car park ONLY.

ALL other car parks charges remain the same except for Sundays and evening charges.

The Aquavale Leisure Centre is covered by the first 4 hours being refunded.

There is a similar system with the Cinema; turn up after 6.00pm Monday to Saturday or anytime on Sundays and you get a refund of your ticket.

The last time the car parks had any significant increase in tariffs was 2007. Since then the only change has been when the 90p charge was squared up to £1.00. A £1.00 charge for all day parking on Sundays, and a £1.00 evening charge.

As part of our car parking strategy, we have kept any charges to an absolute minimum to just one car park - Exchange Street Car Park:

Up to 30 minutes. £0.50 to £0.80

Up to 1 hour. £1.00 to £1.50

Up to 3 hours. £2.00 to £2.50

Up to 4 hours.£3.50 to £4.00

Up to 5 hours. £5.00 NO CHANGE

Up to 24 hours. £8.00 NO CHANGE

Sundays and Bank holidays £1.00 to £ 1.50 for all day parking.

There are nine other Town Centre car parks unaffected by the new charge apart from the evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday changes, these car parks are usually half empty most of the time:

Waterside Car Park - NO CHANGE

Hamden House - NO CHANGE

Whitehall Street - NO CHANGE

Walton Street Car Park - NO CHANGE

Upper Hundreds Car Park - NO CHANGE

Friarscroft Car Park - NO CHANGE

Coopers Yard Car Park - NO CHANGE

Walton Green Car Park - NO CHANGE

Hale Street Car Park - NO CHANGE

The evening charge will be cancelled with normal day rates applying up to 9.00pm when all parking is free until 8.00am the following morning.

This decision was taken because of the confusion the £1 evening charge has caused.

These changes are not excessive, we still have some of the cheapest parking facilities for miles around, the car parks still need to be maintained, secured, lighting and enforcement which all costs money.

This was a difficult decision to make, but with all the cutbacks in government funding for Local Authorities the shortfall would have had to come from Council Tax, which incidentally we have only increased by 4% over the last 5 years when inflation over that same period has been around 15%.

Another comment has been made about the Waterside Theatre.

If we compare the old Civic Centre; in its last year of operation it cost £630,000 to run for a 400 seat arena.

The Theatre, which takes 1,200 seated or 1,800 standing, costs less.

It puts on many London Theatre quality shows at a fraction of the cost, without having to travel to London.

It contributes an estimated £2.5million to the local economy, it creates employment, it brings people to our town from far and wide, and in most cases they spend money in OUR town. And finally, sometime ago Mr Yerby was a Conservative Cabinet Member when the 90p to £1.00 adjustment and the Sunday parking charges was introduced.

Now he has to be seen to be criticising these charges because he needs to ingratiate himself with his new found friends.

Brian Roberts

Cabinet Member for Civic Amenities, Aylesbury Vale District Council

50% IS RATHER HIGH

Open letter to Cabinet Member for Civic Amenities, Aylesbury Vale District Council

I read in the Bucks Herald (11th February) the article concerning the proposed increases in car parking charges which are likely to be introduced in due course.

Whilst I accept that charges have not significantly increased for a number of years, a 50% increase is rather high and a more modest increase would be more acceptable.

I am particularly interested in the Exchange Street car park which seems to have been singled out. You seem to think that free parking after 9pm. is a plus, but for how many?

I use this car park fairly frequently for visits to the theatre as do a lot of theatre patrons.

I usually park after 6.30pm. which gives time for a coffee before the shows start at 7.30pm. and this costs £1 to park for the evening.

Under your proposals with daytime charges running to 9pm, this will now cost £4.50, an increase of 450%.

How can this be justified? It seems that theatre goers are going to be hit hardest, unless of course this is an oversight and fairness will be considered.

I urge you to take into account the number of people who frequent the theatre and encourage them to continue doing so by making car parking charges for the evening either free or at least at an acceptable low charge.

Alan Lambourne

Waddesdon

FIGURE IT OUT

Comments have recently been made by a Councillor alleging that £600,000+ could be saved by cancelling the contract with ATG who manage the theatre on behalf of AVDC.

The figure quoted is incorrect, as apart from the contract management fee, other costs such as building insurance, rates, subsidies to charities who hire the theatre, are included in this amount.

The amount paid to ATG is always under review to ensure value for money.

The Civic Centre when it closed in 2010 was costing £800,000 per year, which would be a lot higher now and only seated 600 people as against 1200 at the Waterside. It’s the producers who take the risk on staging events 
not AVDC and the larger capacity theatre together with an expanding population will attract more headline 
events.

The local economy has improved by an estimated £2,000,000 per year just because of the Waterside and those who say that only the elite use the theatre have little idea of the schools, dance groups, charities and sporting events that take place.

Howard Mordue

Cabinet Member for Leisure

AVDC

HOBBLE ON THE COBBLES

The Aylesbury Town Council’s decision to cancel Hobble on the Cobbles is one big mistake.

There has never been a problem with dates before.

Did they not consult their diaries?

Previously Hobble and Proms/Parklife have been on two separate weekends, and worked very well, so why not leave well alone.

They can make all the excuses in the world, but the truth is, that combining Hobble and Parklife has made life easier for them.

I have attended all three events over the past couple of years, and Hobble was by far the most well-attended.

In fact, I actually wrote to the BH last year commenting on the disappointing turn out for Parklife.

They also want to co-ordinate their excuses. The ATC spokesperson states that the reasons are ‘logistical’ plus concerns over taxpayers’ money.

Cllr Smith blames ‘the way the Bank Holiday falls’, and actually states that there is little difference in the budgets from last year.

As for the comment that it will still be the ‘Hobble’ but without the ‘Cobble’! Do 
they not get it? It’s in the name!! We waited years for Hobble to be ‘resurrected’ and now, after just two years, it has been knocked on the head again, for no other reason than an ‘oversight’ on the part of Aylesbury Town Council.

Frances King

Aylesbury

NO PLAN, NO IDEA

It’s all very well for UKIP and the Tories celebrating the Secretary of State’s decision on Hampden Fields and Fleet Marston, but what short memories they have.

When Cllr Yerby and the Tories could vote against Hampden Fields –they voted for it and it was in recorded vote, when they were flailing around trying to put together a local plan. Such short memories!

Aylesbury Vale is a known growth area, but for too many years has grown without an overall plan, with housing need outstripping supply.

In recent years the District Council has tried to limit growth, without any plan or evidence about homes, employment, roads, schools, and local facilities needed by Aylesbury and the Vale.

Recent planning decisions may offer a breathing space – Hampden Fields and Fleet Marston rejected (for now). But this opens the door to smaller developments of tens or hundreds of homes on small sites across the District, without proper and planned contributions to infrastructure. And Hampden Fields and Fleet Marston will be back.

Back in 2010 Aylesbury Vale had a robust plan for housing growth and infrastructure, but chose to withdraw it.

In 2015 the District Council is at least two years away from an adopted Local Plan – very fertile ground for developers to submit unchecked applications.

The District’s growth depends on new homes and employment areas; families living and working locally; part of the local community and economy.

The Tories have failed to develop a plan or strategy for growth – the Lib Dems will prepare a Plan that delivers the right balance of homes, infrastructure and services for Aylesbury Vale.

Mary Baldwin

Address supplied

POETS CORNER

I am what I am, just an ordinary fan

I am not your modern day footballer

who collects his wages in a hay loader ...

from the Premier League pay loader;

aided by Sky TV and now BT money bag dream makers;

so happy to pay ‘the fakers and the takers’ on and off the field.

and so happy to take hard earned brass from the working class.

I’m just an ordinary fan;

“I am what I am”.

What happened to the working man’s game?

hijacked by those who just seek money and fame,

which just isn’t funny;

to those who follow the game,

it’s a crying shame,

to forget your roots like that!

No I’m no trend setter,

no go getter,

no position seeker,

no power climber.

no football cheater

no racist banter

no foul mouthed ranter

no ‘prima donna’.

I’m no crowd pleaser just a word teaser,

no people pleaser, who’s trying to fool ya.

Just a football fan, that’s who I am.

Perhaps a word rhymer,

a letter writer,

a campaign fighter,,

or a motivator.

The power is in the written word;

mightier than all the chairmen of the board.

No streets here paved with football gold;

paid for by the poor fans I’m told.

No money to line my pockets,

no gimmicks,

no greedy agents

with slimy tricks,

no hangers on,

no football politics;

just an ordinary fan.

So please don’t exploit me!

By Simon Icke

POWER OF ATTORNEY

This week, Alzheimer’s Society has launched a new guidance booklet on Lasting Power of Attorney to help people living with dementia in Buckinghamshire.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal tool that allows an individual to state who they would like to make decisions on their behalf, should they become unable to do so in the future.

Shockingly, only two out of ten people living with dementia feel businesses and organisations understand a person’s rights around Lasting Power of Attorney, according to a poll carried out by Alzheimer’s Society.

Lasting Powers of Attorneys, in many cases, provide a crucial lifeline to maintaining independence. Without access, it often leads to high levels of stress and anxiety for people with dementia and their carers, not to mention an inability to use vital services.

The Accessing & Sharing Information booklet, produced with the Office of Public Guardian, is available to download at www.alzheimers.org.uk/sharinginformation

It will help people to feel confident and empowered with the right knowledge to exercise their rights. Having a Lasting Power of Attorney means your choices count, no matter what happens in the future.

For more information and advice call Alzheimer’s Society helpline on 0300 222 1122.

Linda Barnes

Alzheimer’s Society Operations Manager for Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire