Broadbridge Heath residents in permit parking row

Angry Broadbridge Heath residents are embroiled in a row over parking permit proposals by housing provider Saxon Weald.

The properties in Thompson Road, which are part of the new Wickhurst Green development south of the village, are owned by the Horsham-based housing association and are rented out as affordable units.

JPCT 060614 S14240250x  Broadbridge Heath Saxon Weald tenants angry at permit parking -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140606-085646001

JPCT 060614 S14240250x Broadbridge Heath Saxon Weald tenants angry at permit parking -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140606-085646001

But several months after moving in Saxon Weald announced the road would become permit-only parking, much to the confusion of people living there.

Beth Bagonza, who moved into one of the homes with her partner and two young children in March, described the current informal parking arrangements between neighbours as very friendly and amicable.

She said: “We can’t understand the logic at all why they are doing it. We are not overloaded with cars.

“It’s a bit extreme having signs up. We are only a small street. It’s bizarre.”

She described how they were given a week’s notice of the changes with no prior consultation.

When some of the residents rang up to complain, including Beth and her partner, they said they ‘felt like they were treated like scum’.

In response Saxon Weald has said it aims to deal with all calls in a courteous, helpful, and polite manner, and asked staff to cut calls short when they are being verbally abused.

But Beth added: “We are going to stick out as different to everybody else. They are meant to blend in. Do they think we are going to blend in with numbers in our drives and meters?

“Everything is fine at the moment, why mess it up?”

The majority of residents in the close have signed a petition against the changes.

Another resident, whose son has autism and special needs, questioned whether his taxi would be able to park outside their property without a permit.

With a lack of visitor parking residents felt that anyone visiting them would have to park near the Tesco store, meaning they would need to walk along the bypass and could only stay a maximum of three hours.

A spokesperson for Saxon Weald said: “Unfortunately there is extremely limited parking at our new homes at Wickhurst Green, Broadbridge Heath.

“This was pointed out to prospective tenants when they viewed their homes and some people turned down the properties because of the lack of parking.

“Three-bedroom houses have two parking spaces, while two-bedroom homes have one space. There are no visitors’ parking spaces.

“We are now consulting residents on whether they want a parking permit scheme to be implemented. This is to protect our residents’ parking spaces once the development is finished and fully occupied. We will base our decision on the wishes of the majority.

“However, if people are found to be causing problems to others by parking in non-designated places, we will be forced to take an injunction out against people who do not stick to the rules.

“On the subject of the lady who said she felt as though she had been treated like ‘scum’ we would like to point out that we aim to deal with all calls in a courteous, helpful and polite manner, but we do not expect our staff to be verbally abused during telephone conversations.

“Staff are asked to cut such telephone calls short.”