If successful, the latest attempt by the Liberal Democrat majority on South Lakeland District Council to transform, at a starting cost of nearly half a million pounds, Kendal’s free New Road car park into a landscaped area would remove a century old customary convenience to rural motorists.

As far back at the outbreak of the First World War, The Westmorland Gazette reported that Major Argles, the local commander of the Territorial Army, took the salute ‘from his car drawn up on The New Road’, as volunteers marched off to war.

Moreover, old photographs confirm the use of the area as a vehicle park in the early twentieth century, as well as its being the site for the still popular spring and autumn fairs.

Admittedly, a new green sward would open up the views over Gooseholme to the Georgian architecture and the castle ruins to the east of the River Kent. Even so, traffic noise and air pollution from the town’s busiest artery would minimise the narrow linear tract’s value as a recreation area.

Above all the removal, without alternative parking provision for the 180 displaced vehicles, would seriously impede travel to work arrangements of employees coming from Kendal’s rural surroundings.

At present the villages of Burton, Endmoor, Holme, Heversham in the Lower Kentdale Division, which I represent on the Cumbria County Council, continue to benefit from a surviving bus service.

Unlike 50 years ago, when there were peak going to work and going home periods, employment flexi-time has meant that existing journey times, especially in the evenings, are often inconvenient.

Moreover, Kendal’s employment zones and, also, village residential areas, are nowadays more spread out so bus travellers might have to walk half a mile to their work place from the Kendal destination and, on return, have to trek a similar distance to their homes from the village bus stop.

Inevitably they will prefer to continue to use their cars. If so, they could worsen Kendal’s current inadequate parking provision and imperil road safety by clogging up the streets and any informal spaces.

Consequently, doing away with the New Road car park could harm Kendal’s tourist attraction, while inconveniencing village people coming to work in the town.

R K Bingham