Car Parking on Elm Grove – Update

The first meeting of the Elm Grove Parking working group took place on Wednesday October 12th. About 40 residents turned out for a lively and (sometimes) heated discussion chaired by Cllr Follett. As a first formal meeting it aimed to try and reach a consensus, taking account of the views of those most keen on better enforcement as well as those most concerned about potential loss of car parking, and acheived this quite well.

It was clear that all present could agree around some priorities (i.e. dangerous/obstructive parking and driving is not welcome) and agree initial actions, despite not agreeing at all at this stage on what the outcomes should be. At the end of the meeting it a second event was arranged for Tuesday November 8th, hopefully at Elm Grove School (to be confirmed), where the group can look at more detail, and with clearer information at the current enforcement regime as a precursor to considering potential changes.

Such is the interest in and complexity of this subject that a new section of this site has been dedicated to pavement parking at Elm Gove. (see tabs above) This includes a place to store the deliberations of the Working Group, a page for council reports and other formal information, and a page for and community generated information or helpful links.

Information posted so far includes; notes from the most recent meeting, more information on Elm Grove collision statistics and a resident initiated vehicle count for Elm Grove. Those on the Working Group email list will be contacted shortly regarding the next meeting. If you are not on this list and would like to be, please let us know by using the comments box below. (comments left here are not automatically published – if you would like to leave a message but not have it published please indicate this in the message text) or by emailing  environmentimprovementteam@brighton-hove.gov.uk

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15 thoughts on “Car Parking on Elm Grove – Update

  1. We need to free up (ie not charge for) all the parking in town.

    We have these problems because
    a) The council removed some spaces with useless bits of pavement blocking the road (forcing bikes into the traffic)
    b) charges for spaces that now stand empty all day
    c) allows planning permission to turn single houses into multiple occupation dwellings

    If the greens want to ban cars they should say so (and get kicked out). If the labour and tories want to ‘keep down council tax’ by pretending that a tax on owning a car isn’t a tax they should say so.

    We should also get rid of the idiot bus lanes that lead to tailbacks into town from London and Lewes. All they do is generate pollution whilst cars leave half the road empty. Also, taxis shouldn’t be treated a public transport any more than a car with one occupant. It’s a chauffeur driven car for those who don’t want to use the bus.

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    • I think part of the reason we have all these problems is because we live in a crowded inner-city area, in houses and streets that were built for poor working people. Nobody ever imagined that most of the households round here would have their own private carriage, let alone more than one carriage, so naturally there is no provision built in for storing them all.

      Some people park (for instance, outside my house) a considerable distance from where they want to go (for instance, to work at Amex, or to the shops in town), in order to avoid paying for a parking space. If there were not residents’ parking schemes in some nearby areas of town, these people might park there instead. This leads to the situation you describe of “charges for spaces that now stand empty all day”, but the alternative, for many residents in areas now covered by parking schemes, is the problem Andrew describes, of finding that all the parking spaces near your house are permanently full up.

      I don’t think the council can be blamed for the accumulated consequences of the individual decisions of thousands of residents. But I think the only way we can move forward is by trying to find some kind of collective agreement about what is acceptable and what isn’t. Not just “what is the best outcome for me personally?”, but “what kind of environment do we want our residential streets to be?”

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    • They won’t all go to QPR because they won’t all be able to fit in, but QPR will be the first port of call because it is the widest road and therefore the easiest to manouvre on. It also offers the easiest access from Elm Grove and is the easiest to survey for potential parking spaces.

      So QPR will always get full first and then the roads behind.

      I’m curious, will they be able to park outside your house or are you in a permit zone already? If you are, then please ask yourself whether you would like to be contemplating having happen to you what is about to happen to us. Since we are not eligible where we live for a permit if all the spaces within 300 metres of our front door are full what are we going to do?

      I don’t even drive or have a car, but my wife does and she already struggles to park so we know it will be bad.

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  2. Some good points made, and mostly sensible. Having walked into work this morning from the upper Queens Park Road area where I live I have two key questions to ask of the council –

    Why no 1 – If a permit parking system is suitable for people living below 235 Queens Park Road, why is unsrestricted parking not suitable for people living above 235 Queens Park Road and in the Streets around? What are you basing your assumptions on when making decisions about people living on the same street. Do you think we are at the poorer end of the street and don’t have jobs or are not willing to pay for a permit parking system. The rationale for this arbitary and unfairly discriminatory policy needs careful explanation.

    Why no 2 – Why, if you have decided that upper Queens Park Road does not need a parking permit system, do you then think that placing parking restrictions on 100 plus parking spaces in Elm Grove, does not mean that the first port of call for those cars will not be the nearest unrestricted parking spaces?

    Can’t you do maths and don’t you understand human nature?

    If people on Elm Grove can’t park outside their own house they will want to park in the nearest available spaces to their houses, you can’t blame them, who wouldn’t want to do the same thing. The one thing they are not going to do is decide they are going to give up having a car if they need one.

    One of the 10 year old kids from Elm Grove primary could go round with a clip board and count the number of cars currently parked on the pavement on Elm Grove and then count the number of spaces on Queens Park Road and tell you that there are not enough spaces. It is that simple, and if you don’t conduct this basic survey yourselves and reach the conclusion that there are going to be problems then it makes a mockery of the whole consultation process.

    I reckon at least half of the pavement parking on Elm Grove could be retained, and that it is totally unfair and discriminatory to have one rule for one council tax payer (i.e permit parking), and one rule for another living a short distance away ( i.e no rights to park anywhere near your own house and the musical chairs hell of permanently having twice as many vehicles needing to park as the parking spaces available).

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    • Hi,

      Are you aware of the council’s original proposal regarding pavement parking in Elm Grove?

      It was to enforce the existing yellow lines marked on the road (which apply across the whole width of the highway, including the pavement). This would result in approximately half the cars which currently habitually park on the pavement having to find somewhere legal to park instead.

      It was never proposed to make all 100+ cars move from being parked on the pavement.

      At the last meeting of the pavement parking working group there was a general agreement that nobody wants to see the kind of dangerous parking and driving on the pavement that is currently common in Elm Grove, and that the consequences for visibility are a real problem for all users of the road – pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.

      I think it’s unhelpful to see this issue solely in terms of the number of “parking spaces” that will be “lost” if something is done to take a bit of community control over parking in Elm Grove. There are other issues to consider as well, such as how to make the road safer for all of us and how best to encourage children and young people to develop sustainable travel habits.

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  3. An observation: although the unrestricted Hanover Streets below Queens Park Road (Cromwell, Baxter, Lynton, Arnold, Carlysle…) are extremely pressured, the unrestricted streets above QPR and closer to the QP CPZ area (Pankhurst, Hallett, Clayton, Glynde…) seem to have plenty of capacity (unscientific analysis but based on 3 recent trips during the week and weekend).

    This suggests that the absolute capacity of the streets may not be the issue, so much as the popularity of certain areas to commuters and the unwilingness of car owners to seek space further from home… which seems to indicate that an Elm Grove solution needs to be Elm Grove focussed and hoping to ease the situation by creating other parking elsewhere may not be succesful.

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  4. Is there actually enough street space in Brighton for every household to park a car in the street?

    I don’t think there’s enough space in Hanover for that plan to work. Not if everybody wants to park near their house.

    I’d rather explore solutions that don’t involve all the streets being filled up with parked cars. What would it take for more people to give up their cars and help to ease the problem that way? (this is a genuine question).

    My experience of the residents parking scheme around Queens Park has been that it has made the streets much safer and easier to negotiate as a pedestrian. So there are two sides to the coin.

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  5. Brighton council are outrageous and all they are doing is shifting the problem from one part of town to the next until the entire town is one NCP council revenue generating car park ! There are loads of streets where they have enforced parking restrictions where it is not needed and they are left empty – and completely unsociable hours, ie up until 8pm and on Sundays! Many london councils implement a 1-11 restrictions or time limits to deter people dumping there cars all day for work or travel purposes – this could be considered in areas in general to ease some of the burdens in certain areas especially near shops and businesses. As for Hanover it is already a complete nightmare parking and we cannot lose anymore spaces -so i will need to say we need to keep pavement parking -unless there are alternative solutions to retain the same number of spaces

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  6. Obviously no-one wants pavements blocked by ignorant motorists (or anything else).

    The removal of parking elsewhere in town (by charging or bits of pavement sticking out into the road) is forcing some people into this antisocial behaviour.

    There are miles of unused spaces around town where people could park if it weren’t for these equally antisocial actions by the council.

    Get rid of the charges/bad street planning (Hove sea front/Queen’s Park/London Road/etc) and you’d halve the traffic and parking in residential areas such as ours.

    Less parking in Elm Grove will mean the loss of trade to our local businesses which will close them down. This will lead to more journeys by car and bus to areas that have chemists, sub-post offices, sweet shops, etc.

    If we lose any more parking spaces in Elm Grove the the Greens will have no more votes from me.

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    • Well said John. The council can do all the consultation they like, but if they press ahead with this plan without providing a substantial number of new alternative parking spots then the whole thing will come across as a high-handed waste of time.

      Why can;t every household in Brighton be allocated one parking space which they can use almost anywhere in town. If they don’t need it they can sell it back to the council and get a small discount on their council tax. If another resident wants to buy an extra parking space form the council let them, and provide enough car parks on the edge of town so that people can park their commercial vehicles and campervans without clogging up the streets. This seems fair.

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      • Glad someone agrees with me 🙂

        I can’t go along with the selling off of space though. Once money is involved it corrupts the political process (which is why we’re where we are now). Also I don’t think that resources should be allocated by the amount of money people have. In the war that was called black marketeering (hence the spivs that now want to push this under the guise of Green politics).

        Friends and relatives need to visit as do the shoppers that keep our local chemist, etc open. We also need to visit other towns and the same should hold there.

        I do agree about the large vehicles to the extent they should be encouraged to park somewhere more suitable (eg the free parking spaces that the council has denied them by charging).

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      • Hi John,

        Thanks for replying. Just to be clear, I am 40 and don’t even have a driving licence (more than can be said for a number of the Green Councillors who seem very happy to propose solutions that impact on other people), but my wife does have a car so we are a one car household.

        I think it is reasonable to allow for every Brighton household to have one vehicle without them being treated in an unreasonable and draconian fashion. However, I also think that there should be provision for households with more than one vehicle which they need for work, and that it is not unreasonable to give them the opportunity to pay towards having the parking space they need. Therefore, I think it is also fair that those that don’t need a parking space should get a reduction in their council tax.

        Brighton needs businesses and they do need somewhere to park, but please god, not permanently outside my house when my wife struggles to park herself.

        The current system is not fair, nor reasonable. Why do people who live further down Queens Park Road have permit parking and restrictions, but the people at our end do not and so we will bear the entire brunt of the loss of the Elm Grove Parking spaces.

        It is unfair nonsense to treat someone living at 314 Queens Park Road differently to someone living at 114. Hence my call for a one car per household allowance for any Brighton residence which I think at least has the advantage of being fair.

        I have read that Brighton Council is the second biggest revenue raiser from parking fines in the whole country. If that is true, we are already paying a premium, so there is a financial cost to parking already so let us be open and honest about it.

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  7. I agree that the on pavement parking could be rationalised.

    If you get rid of it altogether, you can’t seriously expect a single vote for the green party from anyone living in the upper Queens Park Road area where all the cars will have to try to park.

    There is an alternative, build a new car park on the space above tenantry down allotments and undertake a leafleting campaign of all camper vans and commercial vehicles currently clogging up parking on Queens Park Road telling them they now have somewhere to park.

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