A PARKING group has called for council chiefs not to make a "snap decision" over a new long-stay car park.

Parking Working Group (PWG) for Moreton has pressed for the town council build the new car park, but a separate resident group says that more due diligence is needed first.

One of these residents, Sue Heady, said: "The need for another long stay car park has not been proven, but now Moreton-in-Marsh Town Council is being pressured by a small but vocal lobby group into signing up to a traffic regulation order and committing to build a vast new car park on The Glebe, which is in the AONB and outside the town boundary.

"I am all for trying to resolve the parking issue, but many of us are worried that the Council is being forced into making a snap decision with regard to parking and commit large chunks of our public money, before they have had a chance to consult the whole town, or really understand what kind of solution is needed for Moreton.”

"Moreton-in-Marsh is united in wanting a thriving High Street that is attractive to residents, businesses and visitors alike, but there is growing disquiet in Moreton over the way in which Moreton-in-Marsh Town Council is handling parking issues in the town.

"Parking has always been a topic of debate, but recently the issue has become a bit of a hot potato. In November 2013, Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) produced a North Cotswolds Market Town’s Parking Review, following a detailed survey in August 2012 that included Moreton High Street.

"GCC concluded that there was “parking congestion” in Moreton-in-Marsh and said they believed that “better management of on-street parking in the town centre is needed. A scheme that controls parking spaces more fairly, sharing access to shops, together with a new permit parking scheme for residents, would improve access for all visitors to the town.

"By controlling parking through time limits and/or pay and display, we can help to increase access to the shops whilst also protecting residents parking near their homes.” There was absolutely no mention of the need for another car park.

"Controlled parking, as suggested by GCC, would change habits.

"Commuters who currently park on the High Street all day (or even all week) long would be displaced into the existing Network Rail car park, while those who live and work in Moreton in Marsh could walk to work leaving those who live in surrounding villages to use the Old Market Way car park, just behind the High Street.

"At present, these two car parks are both under-utilised as people seek out free parking spaces rather than pay. This would leave the town’s central parking area, adjacent to the Fosseway, free to be used by residents and visitors who simply wish to stop in town for up to two or three hours.

"A staggered approach i.e. restrict and enforce in the High Street and surrounding roads, assess the impact and note how drivers’ habits change as a result, before deciding whether or not a new car park (on a green field site, or elsewhere) is necessary would seem to be the most logical way forward."

Peter Richardson added: “It is a green space, which is part of the attraction of Moreton and is right next door to the caravan park, which – with nearly 200 pitches – brings a great many tourists into the town.

"Building a car park there would adversely affect the quality and feel of the caravan park, as it would suffer from an increase in noise and fumes. This could impact on its popularity and use, thereby reducing visitor numbers and having a negative effect on the prosperity of the town."

The first meeting of Moreton-in-Marsh Town Council’s Parking Committee takes place in the Redesdale Hall at 6:30pm on Thursday (today).