There have been a few emails from the council over the last few days on which we wanted to update you. This is a long post but it’s important we record the full emails and our proposed response.
Firstly, from Mick Hepworth, Senior Project Manager for Housing Communities and Environment at Lambeth Council to all residents of Vassall Ward:
Dear Resident of the Vassall Ward;
Many of you have made comment regarding a number of problems in the Vassall ward that include increased vehicular traffic and congestion. These are issues Lambeth are looking in to which have recently led to local consultation, which would result in the introduction of waiting restrictions. We received no objections to these consultations and are as such are looking to implement the measures as soon as we can.
We are currently completing the NEP projects and anticipate there may be some funding remaining. Once we have confirmed this we will investigate introducing further waiting restrictions in order to hopefully try deal with traffic problems that have been raised in recent communications from you. It must be noted that these measures will need to be consulted upon prior to them being taken forward.
We also have plans in the wider Loughborough Road area to try to reduce through traffic using filtered permeability (ie. allowing cycles to be able to move through the area) as set out below:
- We are looking into two road closures this financial year, being Padfield Road and part of Minet Road which have been requested by LJAG,
- Loughborough Road – we have commissioned DSDHA consultants to work with Loughborough Junction Action Group (LAG) to develop a public realm scheme for the Loughborough Road/Coldharbour Lane junction. Where there will be consultation of options later in the summer,
- LJAG are keen for these to be the first phase of area-wide filtered permeability – closing roads across the area to through traffic, while still allowing local access to cars. This has been done extensively in Hackney to encourage walking and cycling and reduce road danger,
- We are now preparing a scoping study of the impacts of closing Loughborough Road. This work will give us a baseline picture of options for further road closures to cut the amount of through traffic within the Vassall/Coldharbour area.
I am meeting with colleagues towards the end of next week where I shall be raising further questions as to a way forward to improve conditions for Vassall ward residents and shall update you in due course.
Great news that they acknowledge a problem in the area, alarming that they think closing a major road like Loughborough is a good idea. Surely this will just exacerbate problems on side roads like ours? We want more detail on this, and how they have the money to fund studies like this but NOT a study on a CPZ. Who is prioritising and according to what criteria? They reference the NEP Project which should have been implemented by spring this year: what is happening with this? Why have the projects for our area, such as passing places on Calais Street, not been implemented? (The report can be found here http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/sites/default/files/NEPconsultationreportVassall.pdf).
We are asking for a meeting to discuss all these issues and more. If you have further questions, please leave us a comment or drop us an email and we will be sure to raise it and pass on the answers.
We will also be reaching out to the Loughborough Junction Action Group who appear to be having some impact. This is a very organised group and we need to ensure we understand their proposals and the impact they could have on our area.
Secondly, an email from Des Crehan, also of Communities, Housing and Environment:
I am writing to you in regards to the traffic and parking problems you have raised. The Council has recently undergone a restructure, part of which has been the merging of a number of services, including Transportation, which I am now in charge off. I am concerned at the lack of communication and that Council Officers have previously promised actions which have never been taken. The officer is no longer with the Council and I am advised that there are no records of any agreements or arrangements being made. This does concern me as it is apparent that conversations did take place. I can only apologise if you have been provided with incorrect or misleading information. As part of the lessons learned exercise I will be recommending a review of the records management to identify any improvements which can be made.
Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ)
The cost of a CPZ can be excess of £200k, dependant on the nature of the scheme. Due to these high costs, the Council is limited to the number of consultations it can carry out in any financial year. We have received a number of requests for new CPZs in other areas of the borough and unfortunately we have had to turn these down as well as we currently have no resources allocated in our budget. Although the Council does receive some funding from developments as part of the Section 106 scheme (a S106 agreement is an agreement between developers and local authorities, which as part of the planning proposals includes financial contributions towards for example, highway works, or maintenance payments for things like affordable housing and public open space) this is insufficient to cover potential costs of the CPZ. In addition, the funding is subject to a number of terms and conditions, for example:
- A percentage of the funding has to be used towards surveys of parking stress levels the development has impacted. .
- Part of the funding is not available until the development is 95% occupied.
When considering a CPZ it is difficult to restrict this to a specific area of streets as historically it has been found that this results in the displacement of vehicles to other surrounding streets outside of the new CPZ, causing parking stress in these areas. It is necessary therefore when implementing a CPZ to include a wider area to compensate for this. The s106 contribution from the Myatts Field planning application has been earmarked for the developer to undertake a parking survey on roads within 500m of the site prior to occupation of 95% of the residential units. Only if the parking stress on those roads has increased to over 90%, will it be possible to consider conducting a consultation on a CPZ.
What are the alternatives?
The only way we can place resident or paid parking would be via a CPZ, which can only be done via the formal consultation process. There is a Temporary Traffic Management Order process however this is to prohibit or control vehicular or pedestrian activities along a length of public highway due to either planned/emergency works, or where there is the likelihood of danger to the public, for instance if debris is falling from a building. Therefore a temporary TMO would not be able to install parking bays but could relieve traffic stress via the placing of parking restrictions. I am aware that to address the traffic and congestion issues raised by residents a number waiting restrictions on the roads around Myatts Field Park. It appears we have received no objections to these and we are looking to implement these as soon as we can. We are also looking a number of further options for reducing the congestion problems. The team is meeting this week and I will advise you of the outcome as soon as possible.
I acknowledge that communication and engagement with residents has not been to a level or standard I would have expected. I will be therefore asking my Transport Planning Manager to set up a meeting with local resident and action groups in the coming weeks to discuss your concerns and issues. This will ensure we can give this full consideration as a priority
One of my officers is working with our Street Care Team to address the issues raised regarding abandoned/illegally parked vehicles in the area.
Again, some positives here, not the least an acknowledgement of our concerns and the council’s failings. But it leaves many questions to be answered, such as:
- What are the costs vs revenue from CPZs? (a subsequent email states it is impossible to forecast but there are plenty of CPZs in Lambeth which could give them a steer)
- How was the initial parking survey for Oval Quarter conducted? This survey apparently revealed “significant capacity” in the area – did they conduct at 8am on a Sunday morning? It is impossible to imagine this was conducted during the week.
- What were the results of the pre-parking survey (a more comprehensive study) that the developers were legally obliged to conduct? How was it conducted?
- As Des states, they will have to follow up the pre survey with a post survey to identify the impact of the development but this will only be done when 95% occupied. When is this likely to be?
- Lambeth made a £12m surplus on parking last year which must be spent on transport projects (including costs of things like the Freedom Pass). How has this £12m been allocated and how is it impossible to find £200k, a lot of which will be recouped through revenues generated? The council managed to find budget to fund an emergency consultation in Herne Hill, why not for us?
- He references displaced parking: this is one of our primary issues as we are surrounded by other CPZs. Why not extend one of the exisiting CPZs, such as CPZ A (which currently stops on Carew Street, on the other side of the railway line), to our streets?
- We need to see detailed plans of the local area with the NEP projects and his proposed waiting restrictions. We need to address dangerous parking and pedestrian obstructions, but these need to be balanced with the lack of parking for residents.
We have asked for a meeting at his earliest convenience and he has promised to confirm a time for this meeting next week when the relevant people are back from holiday.
Please leave us your comments and opinions so that we can be sure to raise them at our forthcoming meetings. We are meeting the Councillors on the 11th: they have no direct jurisdiction over parking issues but are critical in lobbying and influencing the Officers like Des and Mick.
We believe the best way of doing this is to speak with one, constructive voice and therefore propose that all discussions are channelled through the myattsfieldparking email address. We will be sure to update all residents regularly.