After a two year campaign to help streets which want residents parking schemes to make that dream become a reality the process is now well and truly underway. Scheme champions have been active in identified streets with 60% support and Somerset County Council have set up a 10 point procedure as to how to achieve the desired result. Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) chaired today’s meeting with scheme champions , county and district officers , resident observers along with the county ward rep Cllr Leigh Redman (Bridgwater South) and reports the progress as follows.
Which streets will be part of the resident parking scheme?
So far no street is in or out because first there is a compulsory process of consultation to go through. Stage one of this is to identify which streets want to be considered and which streets want no part of it. This is determined by streets, through the work of a scheme champion,who could initially be self nominated, that present a petition which has 60% of households asking to be considered. By ‘considered’ this means that they are included in the initial process of consultation.
At today’s meeting the streets that were identified as + 60% and therefore to be considered were agreed along with the following scheme champions.
Friarn street/Silver street (62%) Liz Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org
Castle street/King Square/Bond street (73%) Tony Heywood email@example.com
Chandos street/Homecastle House (78%) Karen Llewelyn firstname.lastname@example.org
Dampiet street (85%) Mark Postma email@example.com
St Saviours Avenue/St Mary street (83%) Andy Slocombe firstname.lastname@example.org
Blacklands (72%) George Weston email@example.com
Are there other streets that could be considered?
Any street can be considered but the starting point is for them to identify a scheme champion and to get 60% of households to agree to this initial request. Currently, for instance, Camden road is in the process of submitting a request and is at present on 53% but historically the street has been very divided in it’s views on resident parking. In fact Camden was the only street in Bridgwater which has already had a vote on the issue. In 2009 a poll was taken and the result was 53 in favour 23 against and 89 no reply. At the time Sedgemoor added the ‘No’ and ‘No reply’ together to defeat the proposal 112-53.
Does a 60% petition mean we will get residents parking?
A petition of 60% means that your street will just be ‘considered’ at this stage. There is a process of official consultation which has to be carried out with all households and this is followed by County devising an appropriate scheme and THEN putting that to a vote which then requires a 80% vote.
What is the next step?
Having identified our initial test zone , SCC then agrees to take it upon itself to send out a questionnaire to all the households in the streets requesting schemes. The purpose of this is to identify the scale of the problem and to see if other solutions can be offered such as redefining parking restrictions in an area, adding or removing yellow lines etc or if a residents parking scheme is the only solution for an area. During March the scheme champions will be responsible for this survey, collecting the data and returning the results . A meeting of scheme champions will be held at the end of March when the findings will be submitted to SCC who will then engage in a wider area investigation (due to potential displacement caused by the scheme) and present their findings in April.
If successful when might we see a resident parking zone in operation?
If the proposal in April passes through smoothly it is then put out as a recommendation in the normal way and anyone (in fact anywhere in the country) can raise objections should they wish but an 80% demonstrable household support will be at this stage required. This process normally takes between 3 and 6 months depending on the level of objections so the target of Summer 2014 remains an achievable goal.
What might this scheme look like?
For those that buy into the scheme the likely cost would be £60 per year for the first car and £100 for a second car. This would give a resident the right to park on any street within the defined zone. There is of course no guarantee that someone can park outside of their house by right. The scheme would likely operate during daytime hours when it could be enforced but should an area argue for alternate hours this should be brought out in the consultation. The purpose of residents parking schemes is to make parking easier for residents in zones that are under pressure from excess traffic and not to enforce restrictions on areas that don’t want them.
Anyone wishing to add comment at this stage can respond to the web site firstname.lastname@example.org or await the soon to be delivered consultation letter to comment officially.