Meeting Notes October 2013

Meeting Minutes – HELGAT Hanover and Elm Grove Transport Working Party

30th October 2013

Present : Chris Taylor (Chaired the meeting), Roz Engleheart (minutes), Tracey Hill (attending for Emma Daniel Labour Councillor), Simon Bannister (B&H Council), Mike and Alex Potter, Bev Barstow, Alex Martin, David Gibson, Wilf Nichols, Charlie Doidge, Gill Perkins, Dani Ahrens, Jon & Annette Simonds, Steve Chapman

1. Introduction:

A brief explanation was given about how the meeting came about:

1. Due to the imminent enforcement of parking restrictions on Elm Grove by the Council, which starts on 18th November (letters go out 2 weeks before and notices will be put on cars parked there illegally, warning them).

2. At one of the LAT meetings it was agreed that the council will revisit the CPZ at some point and we want to come up with a strategy and proposal of our own before that happens.

2. Elm Grove Issues

Minutes from HELGAT Working Party- Elm Grove Parking Meeting 12th Oct 2011 were handed out.

The Elm Grove Working Group had worked with council to introduce a proposal for improving Elm Grove. The majority of residents rejected this proposal after consultation earlier this year (63% of residents directly affected by proposal didn’t support it). As a result of this, at the Council’s Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee meeting, on 8th Oct 2013, the Council agreed to have a clampdown on illegal parking on Elm Grove.

The recent Elm Grove Scheme was discussed. Concerns were raised by Wilf Nichols (who was a member of the original working party) that it became political. It was chaired by a Green Councillor and had it been representative of the residents here, there would have been 9 no enforcers and one Green person. Whilst the Working Party all agreed the proposed scheme, they did not agree the wording of the final questionnaire (produced by Council Officials) that was used in the residents’ consultation. That instead of being led by the residents, this scheme ended up being political and that the final consultation process was flawed.

Dani Ahrens (member of the original working party) stressed that she felt Matt Follett had done his best to run the process fairly and inclusively without pushing any agenda. Throughout the project, Council Officers had made it very clear, that there was no discussion to be had about whether or not the law should be enforced on Elm Grove.

Photographs of Elm Grove were shown, which all present agreed, showed some completely unacceptable examples of pavement parking.

Issues identified were:

* Pavement Parking (obstructing paths and visibility for drivers at side road junctions),

* Driving on the pavement to get to spaces behind other cars and safety barriers,

* Long vehicles chevron parking and hanging over onto pavement leaving less than 2ft width on the pavement for people to walk along.

It was also agreed that enforcement would not stop all of the unsafe practices e.g. driving on the pavement is not enforceable, unless seen by the police.

Jon Simonds (member of the original working party) felt that the scheme was rejected partly because people don’t like change and also because people didn’t have confidence, that enough spaces would be provided by the council at the end of the changes. Taken on by Council Officers with limited vision and so they ended up with very limited proposal.

Aims of the New Proposal and Community Survey were discussed:

* To find out who has cars and who is parking in the area,

* To sustain parking spaces for residents, pubs, small businesses and shops,

* Keep control of it as a community project and be quite strong about it- not let it be taken over by Council officers so we take true ownership of it,

* Get people to see the benefits of it,

* Consider needs of whole community including children, disabled, residents without cars,

* £250K was to be provided for Elm Grove scheme, but it was unclear whether this had been found yet- we should find out if this money is still available and try to get it ring-fenced.

Concerns were also raised about HMOs where there are several cars per household.

The layout plans for the last scheme were shown and discussed:

Chevron parking at the bottom of Elm Grove was discussed, together with the possibility of marking up bays. Concerns were raised over the length of vehicles using these spaces and the angle that vehicles park at, also in the past the council had been concerned that the speed of cars on Elm Grove could pose a danger with chevron parking. This was challenged (limit is 20mph there now) cars reverse out of driveways on other roads in Brighton with 30mph limits.

Suggestions:

1. Parking for longer vehicles could be provided in bays at the top of Elm Grove.

2. White painted boxes – tickets if you fall outside box (it was pointed out by Simon Bannister that you can’t paint lines on pavements in Brighton (can in London), without a change in the law. It was felt that if it offered the solution, we should still look at it even if it meant a change in the law.

3. Can we relook at some of the yellow lines? Can cars continue to park safely behind some of the yellow lines? (Simon Bannister pointed out yellow lines had already been reviewed and they were all found to be appropriate). It was felt we need to be able to look at solutions like this.

4. Capture resources from any scheme and put back into community (not a traditional CPZ) use it to pay for extra bike racks, subsidies for buses, parking on Elm Grove schemes funded.

5. Offer a rebate for low income families (e.g. those earning less than £21K could get free permits).

6. Local scheme with local benefits that can be sold to area.

7. Stickers for residents’ cars to help to visualise how many of their cars are being parked here, give the stickers to households as we do survey (different colours for different households?)

8. Make an assessment of parking situation on different streets as we do the survey on foot.

Displacement Issues:

Currently it was estimated that there are over 200 cars on Elm Grove, enforcement will move 50-150 cars in breach of yellow lines (Council’s figures). The Council report suggested there were 80 places where these cars could have been parked legally. This was debated- it varies at different times of day.

Question was raised over benefits of original proposed scheme compared to enforcement- the scheme looked as though 100 cars would be displaced compared to 50 under enforcement (estimate by resident based on that day).

Under enforcement cars can still park on verges/pavement where there are no double yellow lines. Cars will be ticketed for parking on or behind double yellow lines and only if they cause obstruction on the pavement where there are no double yellow lines.

3. Hanover and Elm Grove Community Survey

Remit of the survey was discussed, to find out:

Who is parking there: residents, people coming to work here, students, cars from other CPZ areas, HMOs?

How many cars are there?

Would they like a scheme to maximise residents parking bays or do we just stay as we are?

It was suggested that we also ask what people’s aspirations are for the area, considering other transport issues; bicycle use, buses pedestrians, while we undertake this large community project. Widening the scope of the survey further to include bins, benches etc. was also discussed, but it was decided to keep the focus on transport.

Would they like nothing at all or a scheme that will maximise the spaces available for residents and businesses?

A smaller working group of six, with different interests, was proposed to deal with Elm Grove, but it was decided instead to include it as part of a larger project, covering Hanover and Elm Grove.

Charlie Doidge said that it’s important avoid open questions (learnt from bin campaign).

Suggested questions for a possible survey and questions for just the meeting to consider, were distributed to the group by Chris Taylor and a possible introduction was given by David Gibson.

It was suggested that we should be careful not to ask questions about and just revisit the last CPZ.

How many cars in the area are owned by residents? Decided that it was important to find this out and it was suggested that this may be a lot less than we thought.

It was agreed that this survey is the first stage of getting residents to buy into the New Proposal. People may be more likely to engage after parking enforcement on Elm Grove.

Simon Bannister (B&H Council) thought he may be able to offer us help with printing costs.

Although Steve Reeves (Traffic Planning Consultant) couldn’t attend the meeting he said that any questions e.g. about light touch and CPZ can be emailed to him.

Action Points:

1. Meet again as a whole group in a month.

2. Conduct this as a working party covering Elm Grove and Hanover.

3. Find out through this survey who the cars parked in this area belong to.

4. Working party members to email Chris with possible questions to ask in the survey (closed questions) within a week.

5. Ian and David to meet to draw up an initial survey within a week.

6. Chris to email to ask council when and who they will be notifying about Elm Grove enforcement.

7. Working party members to email Chris to let him know if they’re willing to go door to door.

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