Trust Life: Harbour Village, parking and Welfare

Posted on 22nd October 2014 | in Community

Welcome back to Trust Life on a not so sunny day. While the weather man tells us the rest of the country is basking in sunshine we have mizzley fog (or is that just an expression I’ve dreamt up?). Never mind it’s just a precursor to the dark days ahead of us and aren’t the nights drawing in quickly? Looking in the bright side that means we will all be preparing for Christmas soon!

So now that I have dropped the seed of Christmas in your mind, we are still working on a tight schedule to get the Harbour Village pods up and running with new businesses by the beginning of December. What an exciting range of goods will be available from our independent shops, which is actually becoming the envy of much larger towns.

We now have our Harbour Village Co-ordinator in place: Sarah Dunne. Sarah will be marketing the Harbour Village and town as well as organising events that everyone will be able to enjoy and hopefully benefit from.  Sarah will be offering regular updates in the Ambler and through social media – so watch her space!

Of course we cannot ignore the issue of parking, whether it be for local residents, visitors or employees, it is a problem that needs to be resolved. For many years the issue has been mulled over and because there is no easy answer, left on the back burner for someone else to pick up and run with. The Chair of the Business Club carried out an interesting piece of research with the business community recently, asking how many people were employed and how many used cars to get to work. Over 380 people are employed through local businesses and approx. 180 travel in cars – therefore requiring long term parking space. That alone creates problems in nearby residential streets. Working with NCC, ATC and the Business Club together we set out to try to find a workable solution, sadly all too aware that not everyone was going to like whatever we came up with.

Looking at the limited land available and factoring in private land ownership or restrictions and covenants there was little choice so we opted to run a pilot parking scheme on the Braid for a limited period. Hearing some of the comments from those opposing the scheme it became clear that some believed there was an underlying ‘plot’ for future use of the Braid – not so, but some people have a fixed idea and don’t want to believe what they are told, convinced there is an underhand conspiracy taking place!

Some supporters had to put up with verbal abuse and comments that they are only interested in their business, comments I’m sure coming from people who have stated their support for independent businesses – so I ask the question how do those businesses survive without tourist trade? Local trade while sustaining through the quiet months is not sufficient to make a viable business. Therefore if we value our independent businesses and the future of our town, we can only achieve this by working together to find solutions and keep an open mind in the process. There is no definite right or wrong because whatever the solution is it wont be looked on favourably by everyone. If an easy solution was out there it would have been found by now given the number of hours that have been spent trying!

On a brighter note, following on from the public meeting held in Fourways about the welfare, we now have a very enthusiastic team doing litter picking and some low level maintenance. They also hope to do fundraising events, possibly holding them in the pavilion which will breathe a little new life into the building.

So once again we offer our grateful thanks to the dedicated groups who help make things happen around the town.

Julia & the Trust Team

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