Meeting with Rob Heslop, Lambeth Officer

We met yesterday with Rob Heslop, Transport Planning Manager at Lambeth and wanted to give you all a full debrief, apologies for the long email:

COUNCIL STAKEHOLDERS

Robert Heslop is the Transport Planning Manager, responsible for looking at the transport impact of developments such as the Oval Quarter (though this was before his time).  Due to ongoing restructuring and resignations he is also caretaking the Traffic Manager role.  The Traffic Manager (currently a vacant position) is responsible for the development of CPZs.  Mick Hepworth, from whom we have previously received emails, works in this department for Rob and therefore both Mick and Rob are the key Officers for the CPZ.  Rob reports into Raj Mistry who is the Delivery Lead for Environment which encompasses several other departments such as cycling and parking enforcement.

It is clear that there is a lot of uncertainty at the Council due to restructuring and changes in budget allocations.  This doesn’t help us.  Over the next month the Officers have to put in their pitches for next financial year’s budget (2015/16) and the decisions for allocations will be taken by Jenny Brathwaite the lead Council member for transport (Jenny is elected).

These are the four key people we will need to ensure are fully briefed and convinced of the need for a CPZ.

Rob agreed to identify a “point person” for us in the Street Care department which looks after abandoned vehicles.  This would be someone whom we could contact regularly, and who could come to do a site visit.  This would enable a much easier follow up for us.

A new team is being set up within the Council to deal with all consultations.  When this team is up and running we will also need to meet with them to discuss process.  For instance, how could we weight the results of a consultation so more weight was given to residents with no access to private parking (in the last consultation the results were swung by residents with private parking – such as the flats on Cormont Road – voting no)?  This would involve a change in Council policy.

THE CURRENT SITUATION

There is complete agreement that there is a need for a CPZ in our area.  As part of the Oval Quarter’s planning obligations a parking survey was undertaken in March 2012.  This clearly shows our problem.  For instance, on Calais St 88% of parking is occupied on a Wednesday at 2pm vs 45% on a Saturday.  The Council take 90% as fully occupied but we believe this underestimates the issue.  % occupied is based on the length of the road divided into 5m segments vs the number of cars.  This means 65 cars on Calais St is 88% occupied but by our count 65 cars is fully occupied due to different sizes of cars, poor parking etc.

The Oval Quarter will need to do another parking survey once the development is 95% occupied but there is no estimate of when that will be.  We have been categorically told that the decision to proceed with a CPZ in our area is in no way influenced by the Oval Quarter development and we are therefore not obliged to wait until the development is occupied.

BUDGET

Lack of funding is the only reason a CPZ consultation cannot go ahead immediately.  Previously such consultations could be partly funded by TfL but Rob has been told that this is no longer possible.  We want to follow up with TfL to confirm that this is the case.

The pitches for the next financial year are being done this month though there is no timeline on when the agreed budget and projects will be confirmed.  A pitch for our CPZ, along with several others in the Borough (notably Streatham and a change to the CPZ in Vauxhall) is being made.

Even though it is widely recognised that we have a problem, we need to be organised, constructive and effective to ensure that budget is confirmed and prioritised for our area.

Our Councillors will be key in lobbying to ensure that this happens.  Additionally, we need a very strong petition so PLEASE SIGN.  If we do secure full budget the earliest project set-up would be April 2015, so we are looking at a summer 2015 at the very earliest for a consultation and therefore 2016 for a CPZ (presuming we can secure a majority vote).  This timeline is of course very disappointing and we must continue to challenge the Council on timings and see if TfL is a potential source of revenue.

NEP PROJECT AROUND MYATTS FIELDS

As part of the NEP project, waiting restrictions , speed bumps and passing places were all proposed by the Council and Residents.  A consultation was done on this last year.  The Council received objections to speed bumps and these have now been cancelled.  No objections were made to the waiting restrictions and passing places so these will be implemented in the next few months.  This means all junctions will have double yellow lines, and there aresignificant stretches of both Knatchbull Road and Calais Street with double yellows to allow traffic to pass.  Inevitably this means we are losing parking spaces and the implementation of this without a CPZ will mean increased parking stress.  However since no formal objections were made these measures are being put in place very soon.  I have asked Rob to send us the map of the project along with details of how regularly the area will be monitored by traffic wardens which should also help with the problem of abandoned vehicles.

VASSALL WARD TRAFFIC PROJECTS

As per previous emails from Des and Mick, there is a significant project happening in our ward and around Loughborough Junction with the ambition to make it more resident-friendly.  At the request of the Loughborough Junction Action Group they are looking at such radical ideas as closing Loughborough Road to traffic.  George Wright will be responsible for this project and we need to meet with him as quickly as possible so that we are influencing the work.  It is clear that Loughborough Junction Action Group are very effective in their lobbying and we can take lessons from their organisation and network.

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