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So the car parking is sorted at Stoke then?

So the car parking is sorted at Stoke then?

Staffordshire Police are claiming a victory with their 'new' traffic master plan for clearing the Stoke City car parks after the Villa match but I, for one, didn't notice any difference.

I've been going to Stoke home matches and parking in the South car park for many years and suffered the appalling chaos that occurs after every home match (capacity crowd or not). But, even so, I was amazed when reading of the launch of their traffic plan last week that we should be prepared to wait two hours to get away as, at worst, it's taken me an hour to get out, normally a lot quicker.

Those of us in the South car park were promised that police would now be controlling the traffic lights at the Trentham Road junction - that's odd, I thought, haven't they been doing that for several years?

Let me just tell you, it was still the same chaos, it did take me 30 minutes to get out of the car park (not too bad, average, but then we always park right by the exit) but then it took me another 15 minutes to travel down Stanley Matthews Way, instead of the normal couple of minutes or so.

Why was that? I asked myself. Yes, there were police stationed outside the Trent Car Park, by the junction next to Pets at Home and down at the Trentham Road junction. But nowhere were they doing any traffic control and were not even manually controlling the Trentham Road traffic lights as they had for so many years.

Compare that with last week's experience after the Bolton match. We parked in the away fans' official tarmaced car park. This is only a minute's walk from the turnstiles and cost me the same as at Stoke. After the match had finished we walked straight to the car and within minutes were on the M61 and arrived back in Stoke at 6.15pm.

On Saturday, I arrived back home at 6pm after a significantly shorter journey - if that's their idea of a successful police traffic operation, please let me disagree.

Can I suggest a new, lower, target for the men in fluorescent yellow as your two hour target seems a trifle inflated? Let's have the one-way system back, some real traffic management both IN and outside the car parks and we'll all be home before you can say "praise and grumble".

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Writer:Chris Baldwin
Date:Monday August 25 2008
Time: 9:30PM

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