Statement to Cabinet meeting 27 June 2013 about RPS

Public Statement to Cabinet re Residents Parking Scheme

From Bishopston, Cotham and Redland (BCR) Neighbourhood Partnership – Chair, Nick Clark

At our meeting NP meeting of 24th June public statements were made about the Residents’ Parking Schemes in our NP.

As a Neighbourhood Partnership we accept that the Mayor and his officers are going ahead with the implementation of RPSs.  We support the principle of controlling commuter parking.  We have consistently argued for proper consultation and more effective communication on the implementation of RPSs.  We represent the views of our residents and are neither for nor against the implementation of RPSs in our area. The Mayor has said publicly that local people are best placed to make local decisions, where appropriate, and that the Neighbourhood Partnerships are an ideal forum for those decisions to be heard, passed on and properly considered.  We are happy that the first two of those principles takes place (heard and passed on) but we are disappointed to have been consistently ignored by officers and expect full consideration in writing to all of the following points.

The following two specific points came out of our NP meeting on Monday 24th June.

1).  The rollout and consultation on the Resident Parking Scheme (RPS) in this NP area (specifically the area referred to in the BCC guidance as RD) is causing friction between residents due to the different needs and wishes of residents from different parts of the RPS area.  It is very clear that those residents from the part of Redland Ward to the north of Redland Green (generally referred to as Westbury Park) feel very aggrieved at the lack of consultation (time and quality) they have been provided with, whilst those south of Redland Green (and very affected by the spill-over of commuter parking from the south Cotham RPS) are desperate to have the RPS introduced as speedily as possible to provide them with some relief from the appalling parking congestion they are experiencing.  The lack of awareness by Highways officers of the different needs of communities is symptomatic of the poor rollout of this scheme by Bristol City Council.  Residents in the Westbury Park part of the proposed RPS have consistently stated their specific concerns over issues relating to businesses and schools, but feel they are being ignored, and that the scheme is being rushed through.

There is a simple solution to these different needs:  Roll-out the southern part of the Redland (RD) RPS first, and follow later (after appropriate consultation) with the Westbury Park area.  As it seems likely that this sort of problem will be replicated in other parts of the city, why not learn from this situation and show some sensitivity by doing the right thing here?  The Redland Councillors expressed their support for this dual approach at the NP meeting.

2).  Has the Mayor considered schemes other than the model BCC is pursuing?  Have Highways officers researched alternative schemes in operation in the UK and abroad?  For example, restricted parking for much shorter periods of time in the middle of the day, which would have the same desired effect of significantly reducing commuter traffic, whilst having a much reduced effect on residents and people who work in the area.  We do not seek to promote this specific model, but merely cite it as an example of the types of alternative (and less intrusive) schemes that have been successfully used elsewhere to tackle commuter parking in residential areas.  Please can BCC provide information on which other types of scheme it has considered and the reasons for rejecting them?

Points 3 – 9 below have been made before.  Due to what we consider to be unsatisfactory responses (or no responses at all) we are making them again and urge a fair consideration of their merits.  Point 10 is a specific request from the Bishopston Councillors.

3.  Car Commuters  The definition of car commuters has been discussed at length in our NP. We see two types:

a). people driving in from further out, parking in Cotham and Redland and then making their way by foot, bike or bus to the centre.

b). people from outside our area who come in to our neighbourhood to do activities here like working and/or shopping. We welcome them, they are part of our community, they bring in wealth, skills and supply us with services.  We do not want these people or their businesses to be penalised but encouraged.  Business permits for employees have already been stated by the NP as needing to be more flexible and an encouragement to less car use but not a threat.

The current scheme treats both types of commuters as the same and that is wrong.

4.  Learning from existing RPSs.

The fact the timescales of the 6 month review for Cotham South mean that feedback from that area is not going to be considered at all in the wider context of the roll out is, we feel, a missed opportunity.  With so little real local experience on which to base decisions and designs, this situation strikes us as inadequate in the extreme.

Having said that, a massive approval from the residents of other schemes does not mean they (the schemes) are working for everyone and especially not for that second group of ‘commuters’ who we regard as part of our community.  What has the council done to seek the opinions of the wider community and other users of our streets, such as local businesses and tradesmen?

5.  Permits for Customers. Some businesses require more than 5 permits for customers, for example, garages without a forecourt, of which there are two in Cotham North, each of which have about 10 customers each day.  We suggest a “day ticket”/ scratch-card scheme.  Other examples of businesses in this category would be hairdressers and hotels.

6.  Change to the start time. 9.30 or 10.00am have both been suggested.  Why is the start time ‘non-negotiable’?  Why must it be? No adequate reason has been given.

7.  Local amenities (parks, bowls clubs allotments). Old persons may need to drive their grand- children to the park or mums with twins, for example. We want to encourage the use of our parks for everyone.  If park users live in another zone they will now have to pay to use a free facility.

8).  Charities and Community Organisations are neither businesses nor residents and as such will get no permits. This obviously requires attention.  Making these types of organisation pay for permits will mean they are able to spend less on the services they provide.  It also seems to be unnecessary extra administration to charge those organisations that are funded by BCC.

9).  Temporary Residents’ needs must be considered, such as students (or trainee doctors or young professionals on a secondment). All three of these groups exist in Cotham and Redland. Currently they are coping by contributing to the displaced parking chaos outside of their zone!

10). When the Bishopston RPS is rolled out, due consideration should be made of that area’s specific needs.  For example two major sports venues, and a prison that operates on shift work for 365 days per year.  Proper consultation should be carried out involving local interest groups, societies, and Councillors. Many residents feel there is no problem with commuter parking in many parts of Bishopston ward.  They feel that the main parking problems are in the evenings and at weekends.  This needs to be taken in to consideration when consulting.

Last, but certainly not least, where suggestions are made by residents, NPs or other groups, a rationale must be given for their acceptance or rejection.  This is currently not happening, which leaves those who have invested significant time in trying to find solutions feeling frustrated and ignored.  Responses of this type to objections are found in planning documents – such a format (or similar) could surely be used here also?

We urge you to give full consideration to the above points and request a written reply.

Thank you,

Nick Clark, Chair BCR NP

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