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Updated Letter: Why Free Parking Was Stopped During High Street Vaccinations

Published on: 8 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 9 Mar, 2021

From: Matt Furniss

Conservative county councillor for Shalford and cabinet member for Transport

In response to: A Painful Truth, No Free Parking for Your High Street Jab

I wish Ms Dick a speedy recovery.

Just to put it into context: Guildford High Street was temporarily closed to allow people within cohort two (80 years plus and often with restricted mobility) to gain safe access to the vaccination centre at Superdrug.

Unfortunately, this led to a lot of other people parking along the High Street who were not going for their vaccines. In light of this and the completion of the earlier cohorts, the decision was made by both Surrey County Council with Guildford Borough Council to close the High Street gate again. Superdrug and the NHS were also fully consulted and in agreement.

Buy we are looking to open the gate again on April 1 until April 11 when those in cohort two will be receiving their second jabs. With non-essential retail re-opening on April 12, we will close the gate once again to ensure the High Street is safe for pedestrians.

I would like to thank everyone for their understanding and their help though this pandemic and vaccination programme.

Cllr James Steel, lead Councillor for Environment added: “Surrey County Council as the Highway Authority is responsible for roads in our borough.

“Their original decision to lift the High Street barrier was made in the early stages of the vaccination programme to help our extremely vulnerable residents to get to their appointments at Superdrug, and this was made in consultation with town centre partners.

“There have been more residents coming into the High Street for essential shopping and there have been several incidents of speeding and dangerous driving. As the vaccination programme has progressed and the next group of residents now getting vaccinated are generally more mobile, Surrey County Council have closed the High Street again to enable residents to access our essential shops more safely.

“We are sorry to hear of Sharon Dick’s painful experience getting to her appointment. Surrey County Council’s decision to return the barrier to normal use is purely about the safety of visitors in the High Street as the town centre starts to get busier.”

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Responses to Updated Letter: Why Free Parking Was Stopped During High Street Vaccinations

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    March 8, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    A simple volunteer on the gate would make a better solution.

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    March 10, 2021 at 10:00 am

    No! SCC is still not considering the elderly and infirm. My second jab and that of my husband, both aged 77, is not until after the 11th April. We were the first in line for our first jabs, so the delay is not our fault.

    We can’t now change our appointment for the second jab, made after the council’s latest statement that the High Street will be open from 1st-11th April.

  3. Dave Middleton Reply

    March 10, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Regrettably and from experience of being assigned to such control of entry posts, as suggested by Jim Allen above, having a person “on the gate” at that location would not really help. You can guarantee that every Tom, Dick and Harriet will want to pass through for their own, “very important reason” and make a right old song and dance about not being permitted.

    There’s also the geography of that location; once a driver has pulled into the access point to seek passage through the gate, and been refused, they’d have to reverse back into the lower Hight Street against the flow of traffic and turn off up Quarry Street. Add another candidate or two behind them and they’d all have to reverse back. Add a delivery lorry or two and the ensuing chaos will quickly spread back onto the A281 Millbrook.

    Even putting big signs stating “ACCESS TO COVID VACCINATION CENTRE ONLY!” won’t help, as people either won’t see them, read them, or feel that they can ignore them.

    If it helps at all, for those wishing to attend Superdrug, there is ample parking on North Street and it is but a short walk through Angel Gate, or Market Street, to get there along relatively flat lanes.

    • Jules Cranwell Reply

      March 10, 2021 at 12:54 pm

      Try telling a 102 yer-old with a walking frame it’s a short walk up a very steep hill.

  4. D Collis Reply

    March 10, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Having just booked my jab appointments – and they are not easy to pin down in the system I have been given – I am distressed to read this news, as one of them is in March.

    It said on the NHS website that there would be onsite parking, which made this venue a viable choice. I feel misled! And I am worried about where to access parking, since I don’t live in Guildford, although this was the nearest centre to me that had availability of jabs for both dates, which had to be booked at the same time.

  5. Paul Jarvis Reply

    March 11, 2021 at 10:42 am

    If you increase the parking charge in the most convenient town-centre car parks it is hardly a surprise that as soon as the High Street opened up people were going to use that instead.

    The parking strategy in Guildford at the moment is so unbelievably ill-thought-through it’s ridiculous.

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