A worsening problem in our community is the difficulty of parking in the village. Finding space in the High Street or the Village car Park, the only public areas for parking, is not easy.
A simple survey conducted by the Parish Council brought some interesting results. It would appear that most of the parking spaces in the High Street are taken by residents or those with businesses in the village. As most of the High Street is unrestricted the parking tends to be of a long term nature and also involves others from outside the village that see the benefit of free long term parking in a forest village.
The lack of public parking then causes a problem for some of the businesses with their own customer parking. At peak times these areas get used by non-customers. It was also noted that some businesses dissuaded their staff from using their own parking facilities and instead staff park in the free public areas.
The number or parking slots in the High Street is 52. On an average week day there are 44 traders and residents parking in the High Street. On week-ends this figure rises marginally to 46. This leaves approximately 8 free car parking slots for visitors to the High Street during the week and 6 at week-ends.
It is also apparent that the village car park is also quite often full, especially when used by organized walking groups.
In recent times several businesses have expanded with higher staffing levels but little regard has been paid to increasing parking facilities and coupled with a general increase of the day visitor number we arrive at a parking problem.
Beaulieu High Street has a number of small retail businesses that need good foot fall to survive. Many parishioners wish to shop locally but are frustrated in being unable to do so because of the impossible parking situation. Public transport is not a solution to this problem and is virtually non-existent.
To keep the village vibrant more car parking is very desirable.
New Forest District Council are going to run a series of workshops during the summer to address the issues in the New Forest towns and villages regarding car parking better public transport and charity shops. Beaulieu Parish council will be attending.