To receive a report from the Parking Projects & Policy Managerpresenting an outline of the existing football match day parking controls in the borough
The Committee received a report from the Parking Projects & Policy Manager outlining the existing parking controls that operated in the borough on football match days. Officers described the current restrictions which differed across each of the 27 zones, and highlighted that any new signs for new restrictions would first need to be approved by the Department for Transport, which had recently announced that it would not be authorising any non-standard signage while it conducted a large-scale review.
Following a public question asking why match day restrictions only applied to some zones, officers explained that a public consultation had taken place between December 2010 and January 2011. During this consultation there had been no public support for match day restrictions in these zones, and the arrangements had not been reviewed since. The 27 zones were each reviewed on a cyclical basis, with zones being prioritised if there were public complaints or evident parking stress. Officers described how there were always instances where some residents supported the restrictions and others didn’t. For example when match day restrictions were introduced in zones Q and R following public demand, the Council received complaints from some residents who found it too restrictive. As such there was often no clear mandate to introduce parking policies that would be popular with all residents.
The Committee heard from officers that there were two types of match day restrictions currently in use. In the areas surrounding Stamford Bridge, there were blanket restrictions which applied at weekends even if there was not a match taking place. However around Craven Cottage the restrictions only applied when a match was actually taking place, with specially designed signage advisors drivers of the restrictions in place on that particular day. The match day only controls around Craven Cottage were introduced following the 2010/11 consultation. In response to a public question, officers confirmed that as the Highway Authority, the Council had the power to change the controls in place, but that it would ultimately be a decision for the Cabinet, which would consider the levels of public support.
Members of the public questioned the use of consultations suggesting it was a flawed process that had too many non-responses and cost £30,000 each time. It was suggested that it would be more efficient to introduce the changes and then consult only if there was public opposition. Officers explained that the consultation exercises were the best way of gauging public opinion and that consultations regarding parking had a far higher response rate than on other subjects.
The Committee heard a suggestion from the public that a system should be introduced where one side of busy roads was reserved for residents, and the other was shared. Such a system would allow residents to have visitors without being inconvenienced. The Chair agreed that the idea had merits that the Council could look into.
It was noted that Kensington & Chelsea had a single zone covering the entirety of the borough so residents could park anywhere, however officers highlighted that this caused other issues. For example areas with high levels of parking need got worse with residents effectively encouraged commute in-borough by driving to tube stations and shops and use their resident permits to park. However this also had the advantages of convenience for residents. Like most London Boroughs, Hammersmith & Fulham had split the borough into the 27 zones as a way of addressing residents’ concern, as the pressures in each area were different.
It was asked whether the Council took into account the addresses of respondents to parking consultations, as in some zones the issues varied road by road. Officers explained that all consultations had zonal mapping to help identify issues. This was apparent in zone CC, which was created in recognition of its different pressures to the rest of zone C. Noting the potential for the situation to vary road by road, the Chair suggested that a member task group might be established to look at parking restrictions in detail.
Some members commented that they were surprised that the new administration had not delivered clear recommendations regarding parking restrictions as it was such a large part of the Labour Party manifesto and campaigning. Other members responded to explain that the manifesto had a commitment to review parking arrangements and that the PAC meeting was the start of the process. The Council would therefore be developing new parking policies, but it would do so in consultation with residents.
Members discussed the cost of the specially designed signage used around Craven Cottage and it was suggested that section 106 funds could be used in future. Officers explained that increased permit costs and looking to use section 106 funds were just two early suggestions and that the report presented to the committee was exploratory in nature with no firm proposals at this stage. Members of the public asked how these costs had been met previously. Officers explained that as they were part of a trial scheme, the Council absorbed the costs in 2007 and that there had been no further changes since.
Members of the public expressed the view that residents with permits should not be given parking tickets and asked for confirmation of how much money was collected from match day parking restrictions. Officers explained that they didn’t have the figures to hand, but agreed that the Council could adopt a more sympathetic approach, whilst recognising that there would be instances when cars would need to be removed for safety concerns. The Committee was informed by a member of the public that their vehicle had been towed by the Council and that on appeal the Appeals Court had recommended that the Council should refund the tow costs, which it had refused to do.
Cllr Harcourt described how he had been working on addressing parking issues for a number of years and had found that sometimes a consensus was not possible with many competing interests. However the new administration was keen to listen to residents to develop a ‘bottom up’ approach. He explained that whilst the Council might not be able to give everyone everything they wanted, it would listen and take into account all views expressed. For example he agreed that the Council should take a more sympathetic approach to parking enforcement.
That the Committee establish a task group to look at parking issues in the borough and whether existing match day restrictions should be revised.
It was suggested that the task group’s work should not be compromised by a strict deadline, but that proposals would be developed in around six months. It was agreed that the Committee would receive regular updates of the task group’s work.