Update on Eltham Parking Zone consultation

Eltham Councillors Adam Thomas and Spencer Drury met with local residents at the start of December to discuss the consultation on the creation of a new, large controlled parking zone (CPZ) across the Eltham area.

 

The meeting took place at the Conservative Office and despite being non-political Council Officers were prevented from attending by the Labour Cabinet Member (who was also invited).  14 residents attended, where Spencer and Adam provided a briefing note from the absent Officers describing the reasoning behind the consultation and ideas for the future. 

 

The general tone of the meeting was opposed to the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone and Spencer sent the Council Officers conducting the survey the following notes:-

 

1.      Concerns were expressed that the survey sent round suggested that if you did not vote you would be assumed to be in favour of a CPZ.  (Officers have since confirmed this is not the case and that “The only assumption we can make about the views of non-respondents is that they are generally disinterested.”)

2.       There was a general feeling that CPZs around assets being used by the community would not be desirable.  In particular, the Bob Hope Theatre and Eltham Park should not have CPZs around them regardless of how residents vote.  There was also a general view that getting rid of free parking on the High Street would be a mistake and we should be working hard to ensure that Eltham was seen as a place you could pop into the shops as this made it different to most other shopping centres.

3.       It was felt that a parking strategy that addressed the problems of parking around primary schools would be genuinely worthwhile.  This may not be CPZs, but something which made clear how parents were supposed to park and behave would be much appreciated.  

4.       It would be good if residents could submit their replies to the consultation on-line.

5.       It would be good if the Council could speak with the people who run the Eltham Station Car Park as this was frequently empty.  There was a general consensus that being able to buy cheaper, weekly parking tickets would be sensible. 

6.       Interestingly some of the group felt that Kent residents being able to park in Eltham was part of our civic duty and providing cheap/free parking was only right.

7.       There was a suspicion (which I share) that parking permit costs were likely to keep rising in the future as it was an easy way to raise revenue for the Council.

 

Spencer commented “I think that this kind of survey is the best way of deciding whether residents in any given road want to have parking restrictions introduced.  There are always strong views on both sides and I don't think any zone should be imposed against the wishes of the majority of local residents (or withdrawn if the majority of local residents want it).  This is why responding to the survey is vital whatever your view.”

 

Briefing note from Council Officers:

 

The Briefing Note provided by Council Officers reads as follows:

 

Ward Members’ Briefing 

 Eltham CPZs Review and Possible Extensions

 

1.         Background

1.1       The Eltham Station CPZ (Zone “E”) was introduced about a decade ago to address problems caused by railhead parking. To these ends a short controlled period, 11.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. with “permit holders only” provisions, was considered adequate in most of the affected streets that were affect at that time.

1.2       More recently an exception to these provisions was made for a small number of streets near  Eltham High Street, where the demands of shoppers, etc. necessitated the Eltham Centre CPZ with a longer controlled period, 9.00 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. (Zone “EC”) and shared “permit holders”/ “pay and display” provisions.

1.3       Latterly local parking problems have gradually increased so a review of both CPZs has been considered necessary. It is also good practice to periodically review controlled parking arrangements affecting local residents and businesses.

2.         The Challenges

2.1       By their nature CPZ proposals almost invariably are controversial, which can make for difficult decisions. Many people object to permit charges when these are perceived as an “additional tax to park outside my house” or a “money making scheme”.  It is not always understood that removing unwanted parking (so residents can park near their homes) carries costs for the Council that, by law, cannot be met from general taxation. The Council has a responsibility to recover the costs of any parking scheme it introduces.

2.2       Also new controls in one locality will inevitably cause some displacement of parking to others that remain outside control. This means that the views of residents wanting relief from existing pressures may conflict with those of adjacent residents who have no wish to pay to mitigate ‘problems’ they do not have and would rather not acquire. This “displacement issue” is the most challenging aspect of designing CPZs and one which should be addressed transparently during the early stages of consultation.

3.         Parking Attitude Survey

3.1       A leaflet describing a possible scheme has been sent with a questionnaire to all premises in the consultation area (documents appended). This outlines the issues under review and the existing CPZ provisions which allow “permit holders only” to park in marked places during the controlled period.  It was suggested that these controls could be extended as required into those streets now affected by long stay (or “commuter”) parking by rail users and Town Centre workers, etc. since the current CPZs were implemented.

3.2       Residents living inside the existing CPZ have been asked to indicate their level of satisfaction with the existing controls and invited to express their views on how well their schemes are currently working

3.3       Residents living outside the existing CPZs have been invited to indicate whether or not they would support the inclusion of their street in a new or extended CPZ. The answers to Questions 3 and 4 on the questionnaire will provide an insight into residents’ attitudes to new parking controls having regard to the displacement issues described above.

3.4       While a deadline for returns of 20 December has been stated on the literature, this will be flexible having regard to likely Christmas mail delays. All responses arriving by 10 January will be included in the collation.

4          Proposals Going Forward

4.1       Once the response has been collated and analysed, detailed proposals will be brought forward which, in the assessment of officers, best reflect the wishes of the resident community with regard to the limits and form of control.

4.2       The approval of Ward Members will be sought before these plans are:

·        circulated to all affected premises (probably the same consultation area) for further comment

·        put on public exhibition to be held at the Eltham Centre in February at which officers will be present to discuss the plans with residents

·        discussed at other local forums with officers in attendance that may be arranged at the discretion of the Cabinet Members for DRES.

 

Residents are encouraged to complete the reply form for the CPZ survey (even if they do not live in the affected area).  The form is shown below.

Eltham CPZ consultation form December 2013.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alternatively you can download the form at https://www.dropbox.com/s/5z34p5qc7pw6v72/Eltham%20CPZ%20consultation%20....

If you cannot download this (as I am not sure if I have uploaded it properly to the site) please email Cllr Spencer Drury at spencer@spencerdrury.com who will forward you a copy of the survey form.

Tags: