HAMPSHIRE County Council (HCC) has addressed concerns about a parking survey in Stockbridge after residents went up in arms about the cost, methodology, and potential revenue motives behind the initiative.

The survey, aimed at assessing parking conditions and trends in the area, has been met with strong opposition from the community.

Some of the residents took to Facebook to argue that such a hefty expenditure on parking assessment is unwarranted, especially considering the urgent need for essential services and infrastructure repairs across the county.

The timing of the survey has further fuelled discontent, as reports of dangerous pavements, potholes, and budget constraints have already been plaguing the region, according to residents.

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A prevailing suspicion among residents is that the council intends to introduce parking charges in Stockbridge as a source of revenue.

However, the council said in a statement to the Advertiser that there would be no pre-determined outcome following the survey.

Criticism has also been directed towards the questionable methodology employed in HCC's survey.

One of the residents, who did not want to be named, said: “The survey is not using cameras, but individuals with clipboards. There is no way to monitor vehicle numbers in Stockbridge and instead, the questionnaire asks leading and subjective questions such as does the interviewee think there is enough parking in Stockbridge, and another question asks for a number of options to be rated in order of importance, almost as some sort of wish list of options that have never been raised or agreed by those who live in, work in, or visit Stockbridge.  

“It feels very much that the questionnaire is engineered to get an entirely different result compared to its original objective.”

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Some residents claimed they did not receive the paper questionnaire, which the council said it distributed, while others highlighted the challenge faced by elderly individuals who may lack familiarity with QR codes or access to computers to submit the responses.

In response to the concerns raised by residents, HCC said the aim of the survey was to gain a better understanding of parking conditions in Stockbridge.

A spokesperson said: “We want to better understand parking conditions and trends in Stockbridge, so we have undertaken a range of activities to enable this that has included a desktop review, a questionnaire for residents, businesses and visitors, plus on-site surveys to establish things like typical lengths of stay.

“A letter box leaflet-drop was organised in the local area, which included all accessible properties within a certain radius, to advertise what was taking place, and included ways that local people could respond – and we would like to thank the many people who took the opportunity to give us their views.

“There is no pre-determined outcome following the survey. Any subsequent proposals regarding changes to parking arrangements that may be put forward would be subject to further engagement and consultation with the local community, including the town council, and would provide a comprehensive opportunity for people to have their say.”