A VILLAGE will spend £8,000 trying to solve its parking problems.

The scheme will see 16 pay-and-display parking bays converted into free red bays, in Hartley Wintney’s central car park, off High Street.

Members of Hartley Wintney Parish Council agreed to pay £8,000 to lease the bays from Hart District Council, the owner of the car park.

The bays will provide free parking for shoppers for 90 minutes during the one-year trial, which will start on April 1 next year.

The scheme, agreed by the parish council last week, comes after the closure in January of a private car park at Monachus House, a derelict office building which is due to be converted into 14 new homes.

The building’s car park, while private, had been used by workers in the village during the week.

Under a covenant agreed by Hart District Council, shoppers had also used the car park for free at weekends and bank holidays.

A report prepared for the parish council meeting stated that since the closure of the Monachus car park, motorists had started parking in residential roads and in free, short-stay parking spaces in High Street.

The report added: “Since the closure, there had been a direct impact upon the central car park. There are now 14 permit holders and 14 people buying all-day permits. This leaves approximately 100 spaces for pay and display.”

The meeting heard the red bay scheme was agreed following a meeting of parish councillors and Councillor Ken Crookes, leader of Hart District Council.

Members of the parish council unanimously approved the scheme. Cllr Dorothy Harvey, parish council chairman, said: “This has been a problem for a long time now, and it has been a very positive outcome.”