The Audlem Parking Problem

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This is the text of an open letter from the Audlem Tourism and Traders Groups to Audlem Parish Council.

The Tourism Group was revived by Bob Cartwright early in 2016. Its remit was to increase tourist numbers, particularly from canal-based tourism, but recognising that canal-based tourist numbers are necessarily limited by the canal's capacity which can be near saturation on Summer weekends.

The Audlem Traders Group is also concerned to increase "footfall" with the target of increasing trade. While this might seem a narrow objective, the village businesses depend on trade to keep them going, let alone expanding. From the point of view of the rest of us, the success of the local shops is essential unless Audlem is to become just a dormitory village.

It has become apparent that the single biggest issue which affects both these groups is that of parking.

Now, there is an additional dimension to the issue with the housing developments currently underway. With the increase of housing and therefore population in the village there is potential for increase of business, but only if those moving into the new areas can see that they can park conveniently near the village shops and services. No matter what the developers claim about walking distance to the village centre, it will be more attractive for people in the new development at Little Heath to turn left up the road to Nantwich which is significantly further but where they can park easily near the supermarkets.

So, a major effort needs to be made to do something about parking in the village.

There are a number of detailed actions which could be addressed:-

  • Most people perceive that the number of disabled parking places in the main car park is away beyond what is required in practice except in very exceptional circumstances.
  • The layout of the back half of the main car park could be redesigned to increase the number of available spaces.
  • The "share-your-drive" initiative, carried out by Joe Hoyles with backing from the Traders group, has actually produced an extra five usable spaces, and might manage one or two more.

Solutions to these points will help the situation, but the Tourism and Traders Groups believe that more is needed. It is possible to imagine one or two more far-reaching plans that could create a significant increase in the parking available.

What the Tourism and Traders Groups would like to see is a specific sub-committee being set up by the Parish Council, including several councillors, other critically interested parties and possibly well-qualified individual Audlem residents to consider the problems and solutions carefully and thoroughly, in order to propose and follow through possible solutions.

We have therefore submitted the text above to The Parish Clerk, with a request that it be considered by the Parish Council.