Marshals back on duty as BID gets to grips with Bishop's Stortford's parking problems
Bishop's Stortford BID is continuing its quest to ease customers' frustration with car parks in the town centre.
This weekend, including the duration of the Christmas fayre on Saturday, two patrol officers will again be on duty in and around the multi-storey car park at Jackson Square.
The parking marshals were in action for the first time last week, dealing with motorists on Black Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
They are being funded by the BID – the new Business Improvement District body – which imposes a levy on town centre traders on top of their business rates to promote Stortford's high street.
Despite the marshals' presence, there were still some issues with drivers facing a wait to leave the car park at peak times, which resulted in the multi-storey being closed for 15 minutes on Black Friday.
BID manager Gina Thomas said: "They have provided a detailed report from the weekend hour by hour which has given us some very useful information.
"On Friday, which tied in with Black Friday and payday, the car park was busy. They managed it during the lunchtime busy period by assisting people especially to exit the car park from the upstairs floor to keep things moving.
"After returning to normal, it did get busy later on and closed at 4.15pm for a very short period. We believe this was due to numbers in the car park, everyone trying to exit at the same time combined with very busy traffic within the town, possibly due to the accident on the M11. With effective management from the patrol officers and East Herts [Council], the closure was only for 15 minutes and people were able to exit.
"The rest of the weekend was managed very well by them, liaising with East Herts when needed, and they had a good reaction from the public thanking them for helping and being there."
Gina said: "The key message we want to get across is the patrol officers are there to help, the BID has funded them for this reason. They will do all they can on the ground to ensure people are safe and able to exit as smoothly as possible.
"Just like any town up and down the country during Christmas shopping season, on payday, on Black Friday it will be busy.
"We totally understand the frustrations of shoppers and retailers with the parking in the town and this is a short-term measure to try to ease things a little. The BID will continue to work with East Herts to see what else can be done.
"Bishop's Stortford is open for business, parking is available, but please be patient during peak times."
During Saturday's (December 7) Christmas fayre, organised by the town council, extra parking will be available at St Michael's and Windhill21 primary schools in return for a small donation to school funds.