CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert hundreds of parking spaces in Redlands into pay and display or residents’ permit bays could be put on hold.
It emerged yesterday after around 200 people gathered to voice their concerns about the proposals at a public meeting at St Luke’s Church on Erleigh Road.
Councillors promised to delay the scheme, which would have put more restrictions on on-street parking.
Cllr Tony Jones said: “At a committee meeting on June 15, ward councillors will ask for a pause.”
Residents feared the restrictions would increase traffic in the already highly congested area as cars search for spaces, as well as causing spillover parking in surrounding parts of town.
The original plans were tabled in response to parking demand from both the Royal Berkshire Hospital and University of Reading.
John Sharpe, organiser of the meeting, said parking never used to be a problem but it has become a big issue in recent years.
He added: “The university is the main source of the problem. When the students go away on holiday, it disappears.”
There was widespread agreement among the audience that no parking permits should be allocated to university students, who largely live in houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs).
But Cllr Jan Gavin defended their right to be accommodated in the area.
She said: “We should do everything we can discourage students from bringing cars.
“But they are full members of the community just like the doctors who are struggling to find somewhere to park.”
Clare Goulbourn-Lay, who started a 2,000-strong petition by hospital staff against the changes, spoke in favour of an area-wide solution.
“Parking is something that needs to be properly managed,” she said.
“It is up to the management of the hospital to sort this out.”
Cllr Jones, who also represents Redlands ward, said he was happy with the outcome of the meeting.
“The status quo is not an option,” he added.
“Wherever parking does not work, it can make people’s lives a misery day in and day out.”
Rebecca Rye, ex-councillor for Katesgrove, said it was time to set up a working group to represent all the stakeholders in the dispute.
“We have gone around and around in circles for years and years with the parking issues,” said Ms Rye, 50.
She stressed that central government should intervene to help work out a comprehensive solution.
Mr Sharpe called on concerned townspeople to write in their objections as soon as possible.
He continued: “I hope the council listens to us, I really hope they do.”