Motorists left without lights for a week at ‘safe’ car park

MCHG 12-1005      Poor lighting in Watergardens car park, Hemel Hempstead.
MCHG 12-1005 Poor lighting in Watergardens car park, Hemel Hempstead.

Motorists have been left without lights for almost a week at a car park that has a national award for being safe.

Late night shoppers have been feeling their way through the dark to pay at the parking meter or using torches and light from their mobile phones to go to and from the Water Gardens car park south in Hemel Hempstead.

Situated in the local beauty spot opposite the shopping centre, the parking area is one of the most expensive council-owned car parks in the town and charges £2.30 for up to four hours, with no cheap rates during the Christmas period.

It also has a Park Mark status, which means that it has passed a risk assessment by police and has measures in place in order to create a safer environment for motorists and their vehicles.

The Park Mark aims to reduce crime and fear of it at car parks but people in the town have been left in a vulnerable position because of the lack of light.

It could also have a negative affect on businesses at their busiest time of year, it is feared.

John Briffett of Dacorum Businesses Against Crime said: “If people don’t feel safe they won’t come to town to buy anything.

“The concern of an unlit car park to businesses is there could be a potential drop-off in sales if people don’t feel safe returning to their cars after they’ve been shopping.

“We hope the council rectifies the problem.”

The issue was only raised with Dacorum Borough Council on Tuesday but the lights were out as far back as last Thursday.

Council spokesman Madeleine Taggart-Smith said: “When the reason for the fault has been identified, we can then proceed with the repair. There is no alternative facility being provided.

“Our parking policy lead officer Steve Barnes does a full inspection of each Dacorum Borough Council-owned car park every six months.”