CPZ UPDATE

The long-running farce that is Lambeth’s implementation of the Herne Hill CPZ continues to entertain those of us who have sight of the Council’s regular communications on the subject.

In the coming days we can expect the minutes of the meeting that Council officers and ward councillors held with residents on 4 February. Some brave neighbours attended, most of us saw little point. We will share these minutes when received.

As to enforcement of the recently extended parts of the Zone – the streets including Rollscourt Avenue and Shardcroft Avenue for instance  –   the Council suggested that 6th January was the enforcement start date. But that did not happen uniformly.  So the current state is that no-one appears to know whether and where the recently extended Zone is legally enforceable or not. The Council claims that it is being enforced, but there are several areas inside the Zone where bays are unclearly marked and designated, or not marked at all, so no-one can tell what rules apply in these sections.

This is angering residents who in good faith bought parking permits only to see their streets once again invaded by commuters parking for free.

To cap it all, we now learn that the Council have just got round to ordering the necessary missing signage from their contractors  –  many weeks after the Zone was supposed to start before Christmas!

Meanwhile those of us in those streets which recently voted to be included in the Zone wait to hear when we might expect this to happen. The legal consultation period closed a couple of weeks ago.

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VOTE YES TO THE INTRODUCTION OF RESIDENTS’ PARKING IN FAWNBRAKE AVENUE

…  AND STOP NON-RESIDENTS PARKING IN OUR STREET

Herne Hell CPZ
Herne Hell CPZ

The council have sent us a voting form which needs to be completed and sent back before 27th  November .

Don’t wait and miss the deadline, do it now. vote YES or face parking misery in the future.

The new parking zone in Poplar Walk, Shardcroft and Kestrel has not yet been implemented, despite what the Council says. Even if we can park in  Fawnbrake Avenue  now, we’ll find it much more difficult  once that parking zone is enforced in December. Christmas chaos,  following the implementation, will be just be the beginning of  Fawnbrake residents’ parking nightmare.

The only way we can stop this is to vote YES for a parking zone in  Fawnbrake Avenue  now. So …

Stop neighbours from Ferndene, Poplar Walk, Kestrel and Shardcroft dumping their cars in  Fawnbrake because they want to avoid buying a parking permit.

Stop commuters and the car dealers of Loughborough Junction treating our street like a free car park.

Stop holidaymakers parking in  Fawnbrake before they head off for two weeks in the sun.

Residents have told us about:

  • A mother who can’t go shopping with her very young children because she can’t leave them in the car when she comes back to unload
  • A woman who needs her car to run her business but can’t park outside her house when she returns from work
  • Elderly relatives who can’t come to see their children in Fawnbrake because they can no longer get a parking space.

SO VOTE FOR RESIDENTS’ PARKING IN  FAWNBRAKE AVENUE.
LET’S GET OWNERSHIP OF OUR STREET BACK!

THE PARKING CRISIS IS ALMOST HERE. PLEASE VOTE YES ON THE CPZ CONSULTATION!

 A message from concerned residents in Gubyon and Fawnbrake Avenues

We have just received a questionnaire from Lambeth, asking whether we now want to be included in the extended Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). This will be aimed particularly at Fawnbrake Avenue and Gubyon Avenue.

You might think we’ve been consulted enough on this issue, and that it’s clear that most people didn’t want it.

You might also think that the Council have handled the whole affair with stunning incompetence.True.

But the game has since changed:

–          The Council is now implementing a CPZ in most neighbouring streets: in Poplar Walk, Kestrel Avenue, Rollscourt Avenue, Heron Road and Shardcroft Avenue, because residents there voted in favour. The parking bays have been marked out; the Council are just waiting for the Pay & Display meters to be installed then the wardens will start enforcing the CPZ. This will deny use of those streets between the hours of 12 and 2 pm (unless you’re on the spot to buy a ticket) to commuters, visitors and to residents who decline to buy a permit. And to residents of other streets too. This street-by-street implementation is crazy, but Lambeth won’t consider an alternative.

–          So already, many residents’ and visitors’ cars have been displaced to outside the new Zone, making parking acutely difficult for residents in Gubyon and some parts of Fawnbrake. We’re seeing long-term parking on our street by car owners who live within the Zone, denying space to us and our neighbours. And once enforcement starts properly, it’s plain that these problems will become intolerable. Commuters and visitors will have nowhere else to go except Gubyon (99% full already), Fawnbrake and any remaining slots on Brantwood. Meanwhile, parking on the streets inside the new Zone is really painless, even though enforcement hasn’t yet started.

Already we’re hearing of mothers with young children who can’t park anywhere near home; neighbours with elderly parents who daren’t visit; neighbours who won’t  go out in their cars for fear of having nowhere to park when they return; builders who drive away because they can’t park.

We strongly believe these classic displacement problems will get worse once the Zone is working fully. And if the street did vote NO again, it could a very long time before the Council would reconsider extending the zone, even if the predicted chaos ensues and residents find they aren’t able to park in their own street any more. Or indeed pay to park in a neighbouring street either.

So reluctantly (and despite the cost of the annual permit)  we think our street should vote in favour of the Zone being extended to Fawnbrake and Gubyon. PLEASE be sure to complete and return the Council’s voting form by the deadline and VOTE YES, even if you don’t own a car. It may be our last chance to save our street from parking nightmares that will make our lives a misery and even affect the value of our properties.

This plea goes also to these neighbours who have off-road parking. Your parking problems are solved, but your visiting friends, relations and tradespeople will be affected by the chaos that’s about to hit us, unless we have controlled parking. If the extension of CPZ is agreed, you won’t have to purchase a permit,  but it will mean that you can buy visitor permits when you have builders & visitors.

Feel free to post comments.

CPZ POSTPONED – BUT TO WHEN?

Further to the story below (see the ‘Farcical Interlude’ section), we hear that Lambeth have seemingly failed to take steps to inform all residents in the Herne Hill 3rd phase CPZ zone that parking restrictions in the included streets will not be enforced until 4th November.

So confusion, chaos and rumour flourish unchecked, adding to our Council’s now solid reputation for mis-management and indifference to residents’ concerns.

(UN-)CONTROLLED PARKING ZONES

Herne Hill covers a largish area, and its human and economic geography is charmingly varied: one of the reasons we love it, in fact. On top of that, our community is divided between two large London boroughs – Southwark and Lambeth. In practice, this doesn’t normally make a great deal of difference to our lives.

But there is one exception: parking.

Which is an issue that can cause fervent dissent between neighbours, let alone between streets.

For the last two years or more, residents in that part of Herne Hill bounded approximately by Herne Hill itself, Milkwood Road and Poplar Walk have been bogged down in a conversation (others may use a more vibrant word) with Lambeth Council and with each other on the proposed extension of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) into these residential streets.

In reading what follows, bear in mind, please, Lambeth’s declared purpose for CPZs: “the main aim of the CPZ is to discourage commuter and long stay parking by people from outside the area”.  And note the word “area”: it doesn’t say “street”.

The current crisis follows the introduction, some years ago, of a CPZ alongside Ruskin Park which at a stroke, and for no apparent benefit, prevented all-day parking on both sides of Ferndene Road – not just the sides with houses, who had presumably requested it,  but even on the other side alongside the park railings where there are no houses. The consequence was the pointless removal of many dozens of all-day parking spaces and the predictable displacement of some of these cars more deeply into the neighbouring residential streets.

“Street” versus “Area”

There have been several further rounds of consultation, with streets voting on whether they wanted to be included in or excluded from a wider CPZ. Many residents believe that these consultations were fundamentally flawed from the start, because they did not make it clear that the Council was prepared to introduce a CPZ on a street-by-street basis (according to the voting sentiment of each street) rather than as a coherent area.

The Council would challenge this view: there was indeed a sneaky hint of this policy in one of the questions on the voting paper – but it was only a hint. It may also have been spelled out at one of those Council-chaired public meetings: but most residents didn’t attend that, as only ‘stakeholders’ were invited.

Upshot, and omitting much tedious detail: we are now, in mid-October, in an extraordinary   –  in fact a crisis – situation which would be comical if it were not hugely stressful for many residents.

The creeping Zone

Residents of streets such as Rollscourt Avenue and Kestrel Avenue, sick to death of their streets being colonised by commuters, voted to have a CPZ. Behold, they have got one last month (more or less – see comment below). At a stroke, parking there has become blissfully easy, since the out-of-area parkers have transferred their patronage to neighbouring streets outside the new Zone.

So what with the commuters, plus some of the residents of these streets now inside the Zone who don’t want to buy a permit, parking has migrated to Gubyon Avenue and Fawnbrake Avenue. On top of that, casual visitors to the neighbourhood, and no doubt people who work in or visit the doctors’/dentists’ surgeries and schools nearby, are equally fighting for parking spaces in the “free” streets (let us call it the ‘non-Zone’). Milkwood Road residents park in the non-Zone too, as their road is full and also prone to car vandals. Within a year, to top it all, the new Peabody housing block on Milkwood Road will be finished and inhabited: no parking is being provided for their residents, so where will they go? (Lambeth offers no answer except to point to our splendid public transport links and the bicycle racks.)

Displacement pain

We have a classic displacement effect, which will only get worse when the extended Zone is actually enforced.   Now residents of the excluded streets are scared to use their cars lest, when they return, their spaces have been snapped up by prowling visitors. There are many stories of commuters driving round and round in the hope of seeing a resident pull away. There are stories of elderly people who  can’t visit their families because they can’t park;  residents who can’t now visit their health clubs, fetch children from school or visit the supermarket; mothers with toddlers, and families with big loads of shopping or elderly parents, suffering stress, rage and of course enormous time wasted, trying to find a parking spot within reach of their home.

Where else can they go, these residents, commuters and visitors? There are almost no other streets in this part of Herne Hill – or in fact, in any part of Herne Hill now – where you can park without paying, at least between 12 noon and 2 PM.  And the long-established CPZ in Southwark may also be pushing visiting cars and vans over the border.

A policy which was supposedly intended to manage parking has in practice created anarchy.

What happens next?

Under pressure from many residents, the Council (officers and Councillors) have conceded that they would be willing to re-consult the excluded streets.  Consultation documents are to be sent to residents by 7th November and questionnaires  will have to be returned by 21st November. If, on that basis, the Council detect a move in favour of inclusion, they could possibly extend the Zone to the excluded streets next May. They do not seem able to move much faster than that.

But this in turn invites another question: what if one or two streets (Gubyon Avenue, for example) voted to be included, but a third (e.g. Fawnbrake Avenue) still voted to stay outside? Obviously if that happens all the incoming visitors/commuters/tradespeople/Peabody traffic, along with our neighbours who don’t want to buy an annual permit if they can park for free somewhere nearby,  would displace their cars  onto that one remaining “free” street and the parking there would turn into a  brutal fight for lebensraum.

Un-joined-up government

This emphasizes the folly of the council’s policy of proceeding on a street by street basis, and shifting blame on to residents with a ‘local democracy’ excuse. A CPZ only really works when an orderly,  coherent Zone (or ‘area’, to use Lambeth’s own word) is created, so that the opportunities and financial incentives for displacement parking disappear. Even better would be a system of local government that encouraged neighbouring Councils to coordinate their parking policies in adjacent areas  so the current distortion is avoided. Too much to expect, alas.

Farcical interlude

Meanwhile, the introduction of the CPZ, even in those streets where lines been painted and signs erected, has been farcical. Originally residents were told it would start on 30 September, and many of those who wanted to buy permits did so in time. The traffic wardens went around sticking tickets on cars without permits.

But it soon transpired   –  indeed it was obvious to many residents – that the zone could not really start working until the ticket machines were installed, allowing visitors to pay during the mandatory 12 noon – 2 PM period. Alas, however, there were no ticket machines. At the time of writing, there still aren’t. Lambeth haven’t got any.

In consequence the council has had to admit that the CPZ will now be inaugurated on 4th November and that those people who bought permits can have their validity extended by a month  –  though not everyone has been told this yet. So confusion and chaos reigns.

Local rage

The level of distress – indeed, rage – felt by residents whose lives have been damaged by this fiasco is difficult to describe.

What makes it worse is that the bureaucratic procedures of the Council (introduced on the basis of a deeply flawed and unrealistic principle but no doubt from the best of motives) stand in the way of any early remedy to the chaos that the Council’s own procedures have created  –  when they had so many warnings that this would be precisely the consequence of their processes.

Oh fortunate Southwark!

Across the Hill, Southwark residents have lived with a workable CPZ for some years now. Southwark explains that it enforces CPZs  “… predominantly to give priority of parking to local residents and to short-stay visitors to shops and businesses”(cue bitter laughter on Gubyon Avenue). Southwark also extorts  less than Lambeth: on the south side of Herne Hill an annual permit costs £125; in Lambeth it all depends on the CO2 rating of your car, but a typical Band 3 car costs £136 per annum.

Southwark residents will no doubt be amazed to learn of the farce that is Lambeth, our “Cooperative Council”. Some of us may want to congratulate them on their choice of borough.

Take it further?

Sign the petition. Over 100 people have signed so far!

Post a comment on the Herne Hill Forum thread.

Protest about this fiasco to your local Councillor and Member of Parliament:

Ms Tessa Jowell MP tessa.jowell.mp@parliament.uk

Councillor Jim Dickson JDickson@lambeth.gov.uk

HERNE HILL PARKING ZONE EXTENDED TO NEIGHBOURING STREETS

So here it is at last.

A letter from Lambeth (dated 11 December) came round today confirming the extension of the existing Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in Herne Hill. The letter states that “due to the views expressed” the council will be extending the CPZ to the following roads:

Poplar Walk

Heron Road

Kestrel Avenue

Cosbycote Road

Rollscourt Avenue

Shardcroft Avenue

There will be a Statutory Consultation running from 14 December (i.e. last week!!) to 18 January, but that is a formality. The CPZ could be operating by April 2013.

By a narrow majority, Fawnbrake residents opted to vote against accepting the CPZ in this road, so we will now have to bear the brunt of the unpleasant consequences of this extension, in the shape of displacement parking into Fawnbrake:

  • Residents in the above-named streets who want to avoid paying the CPZ will try to park for free on Fawnbrake, as has happened with Ferndene residents
  • Casual visitors and commuters who currently park in those streets will try to park on Fawnbrake
  • Tradesmen and contractors who are working for residents on those streets will try to park on Fawnbrake
  • Fawnbrake residents will not be able to park in those streets
  • Fawnbrake residents will struggle to find anywhere to park

The upshot is that Fawnbrake will suffer very severe parking stress.

I’m sorry to say to anyone who opposed the CPZ, saying ‘Oh, we have no problem parking now, why should we have a CPZ?’… we did warn you!

CPZ – LAST CHANCE TO VOTE AND AVOID CHAOS !

You will now have received the papers from Lambeth announcing a further chance to vote on an extension of the Controlled Parking Zone to this and neighbouring streets. This is in response to a petition from residents and some public protests about the unreliability of the consultation last time, when only a minority of residents voted.

Note that the letter from Lambeth says “Have your final say…” Final. There will be no next chance. If you have not bothered to vote before it’s vital that you do on this occasion.

Of course, none of us would welcome having to pay parking charges, and in recent consultations, a majority of Fawnbrake residents (out of those few who took the trouble to vote) did in fact oppose a CPZ on our street.

But the situation has changed, and more people are coming to see a CPZ as the lesser of two evils.

This is because an extension of the CPZ to Rollscourt Avenue, Cosbycote Avenue, Poplar Walk and Heron Road now looks inevitable. Residents there have lobbied for a CPZ, as they are flooded with day-parking from people outside the area and often cannot find anywhere to park their own cars. The day-parking seems to be by people working or dropping off their children at the nearby schools then leaving their cars here until it’s time to pick them up in the afternoon. Other non-residents parking is by commuters, people working at or visiting King’s or even businesses from outside the area.

So when those streets get a CPZ, all such non-local drivers  – though some are probably already parking in Fawnbrake –will seek somewhere else to park, outside the CPZ; which is likely to be Fawnbrake Avenue and Brantwood Road (Kestrel Avenue is already full).

Parking stress on Fawnbrake is already very high (a fact that council statistics confirm) and the influx of even a dozen more cars could make conditions intolerable. Conditions are even critical now when we get a few tradesmen’s vans or skips.

In addition, the Council are now painting extended double yellow lines at the corners of the street, which in practice abolish parking for at least two cars on each corner: that’s another 4/8 cars that will be looking to park further along the street.

If you have converted your front garden into a parking space with a crossover, you may think that you can ignore the consultation, or (if you have two or more cars) you might be considering voting against a CPZ; but please also consider the conditions your neighbours have to deal with. The road space in front of your crossover is permanently denied to others. Voting in favour may cost you nothing but could bring some relief to those of us whose front  gardens are not large enough to take a car, or who prefer to see cars on the street rather than in gardens.

Conversation with residents of Ferndene confirm that they have no regrets about accepting a CPZ on their road.

The impact of Rollscourt Avenue, Cosbycote Avenue, Poplar Walk and Heron Road converting to CPZ, while Fawnbrake did not, will be dramatic. We will be permanently blighted with the totality of parking pressure that is now distributed throughout the remaining streets about to convert to CPZ. All that will focus on us, which would  result in complete overload. Residents who leave the area using their car will not be able to find a space on their return and will be forced to park in the pay bays up the road. It doesn’t take an accountant to realise how few times this needs to happen before one is paying the equivalent of an annual resident’s permit.

So … far be it from us to suggest how you vote, but please do vote this time, especially if you could tolerate a CPZ. And if you still vote against, do please at least say Yes to Question 7 that indicates your views might change if a CPZ was introduced into neighbouring streets (which it almost certainly will be in fact). The questionnaires must be returned by 3 March, by post or online.