Lounger trial a hit with the public

Picton couple Ian and Paula Allen, with their dog Azar, think the sunloungers on Picton’s waterfront are a great idea ...
Derek Flynn

Picton couple Ian and Paula Allen, with their dog Azar, think the sunloungers on Picton’s waterfront are a great idea and should be there permanently.

Picton residents are warming to the idea of a "sunlounger park" on their waterfront, but say the current one being trialled could do with a few tweaks.

The loungers were put in along London Quay in place of car parks last month, as part of a trial by the Marlborough District Council.

A push to remove the car parks came after Picton businesses expressed concern about campervans and other high vehicles blocking the view of cafe patrons.

The car parks on the northern side of the street have been replaced with yellow lines, while sun loungers, planter boxes and a small stage have been placed on the southern side, creating a new "pedestrian-friendly" area.

Picton resident Paula Allen said the colourful rows of seats were "absolutely wonderful".

The best part of the new look had been getting rid of the car parks along the northern side of the street, which had blocked the view of the harbour for cafe users along the waterfront, she said.

"The views are stunning and I think it really shows the views now. When [the loungers] first came it was a bit awkward but it's been repositioned and it's being used all the time."

Her husband, Ian Allen, said there were still a few adjustments that could be made to make the most of the area, but both thought it was a good idea which needed to be made permanent.

Some of the loungers needed to be made slightly lower to enable people to see over them from the cafes, Ian Allen said.

Paula Allen noted some had already been moved so they were in front of shops rather than cafes, and therefore did not have sitting customers.

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"It's a great idea and they had to start somewhere . . . it looks inviting and it draws people in, I think it's absolutely great," Paula Allen said.

Tanya Orchard, of Picton, said while she liked the idea of the recreation space, the proximity to the road made the park unsafe for children.

Another resident suggested the whole street be shut off to traffic and turned into a pedestrian-only area.

Welsh visitor Sian Richards was among many tourists in Picton on Saturday who said they had never come across anything quite like the park.

"It's really pretty, I could stay and just watch the boats, sit and watch the world go by, it would be quite nice," Richards said.

She thought the park should become permanent.

The trial period for the park would run until Easter, during which the council would continue to fine-tune the park.

"I think the locals will still get used to it, nobody likes change but I think it's absolutely great," Paula Allen said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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