Monday, 3 February 2014

A letter to the agents of Eddisbury Square - sent 3 February 2014

What follows is the text of a letter sent to the agent acting for the owners of Eddisbury Square:

Dear Mr X -
[at the request of the property agents this name has been redacted the question of whether they are entitled to this privacy is being discussed.  Change made 13:53 5 February 2014]    

Letter sent:  3rd February 2014

Eddisbury Square, Frodsham

Further to the correspondence that has passed between you and both Cheshire West and Chester Council (‘CWaC’) and Frodsham Town Council (‘FTC’) we write to you directly as the Councillors for Frodsham on Cheshire West and Chester Council.

You are doubtless already very well aware of the considerable disquiet in the Frodsham community caused by the recent decision to bring in car parking enforcement at the Eddisbury Square car park. 

In the final analysis Eddisbury Square is a private car park and as such you are free to do with it what you like within the law and your contractual arrangements.   You are clearly aware, given your unilateral actions, that you are not obliged to discuss anything with us, CWaC, FTC, or with or the local community.  You do not need anyone’s approval – nor have you sought it.  However we would have thought it was in your best interests to consult the local community before taking the actions you did.

It must be in your economic best interests, as it must be for the owners of the Square and its tenants, for the Square to be inviting and accommodating of the local community.  We would have thought it would be in everyone’s interests for the Square to be a vibrant, bustling and successful place to do business.  This includes having a successful car park.

Your actions in bringing in car parking restrictions and enforcement without adequate notice or any communication or consultation with the wider community has caused unnecessary and avoidable annoyance and disquiet.  Your actions come across as high-handed, arrogant and potentially self-defeating.  There is a strong feeling that those motorists who have been penalised have been treated unfairly given the failure to advertise your changes in advance and the small insignificant signage deployed. 

There is disquiet concerning the level of penalty being imposed and the apparent ‘big brother’ tactics being used to support enforcement.

You should be aware that there is talk in Frodsham of locals boycotting the Square both through annoyance and through fear that the enforcement regime is arbitrary, unfair, disproportionate and unwarranted.

We suggest that you take steps immediately to restore confidence in you and in the Square.  We see the steps you should take as being the following:
  •    immediate suspension of your current enforcement arrangements and the posting of notices to that effect;
  •    reimbursement of all penalty charges levied and cancellation of all in course of being levied; and ,
  •    you joining with us, the tenants and the property owners in discussions as to how your legitimate interests can be managed with the community.

Those of us living in Frodsham do expect those benefiting from the commercial activity in the town to act responsibly and reasonably.  We all share the town – and we all have a legitimate interest in seeing that the town functions as well as it can – you as well as us.  We actively seek to support the commercial vitality of the town – and we therefore expect business to support the wider town too.  This means we expect, at the very least, discussions and consultation. 

We envisage, that following the discussions we seek, that some form of public consultation and advertisement will follow so as to ensure that members of the public fully understand the rationale behind any parking restrictions and what the rules are.  We trust that your rules will be seen as reasonable by the community.  The current ones are not.

As you will readily appreciate the issuing of Parking Contravention Notices and the enforcement of them is a civil matter for your agents.  We are aware that many of the local community are educating themselves with regard to the ways in which such notices and any proceedings can be challenged – with all the continuing aggravation and cost for all concerned.  You may already be aware that Graham Evans MP is looking into this matter as well.

We trust that you will agree to meet with us swiftly and look to create a solution that is understood and accepted by the local community.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Andrew Dawson      &     Cllr Lynn Riley