Forum Message

Topic: Let's set the record straight
Posted by: Andy Murray
Date/Time: 06/10/14 17:04:00

Topic: CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit

Posted by: Owen Highley
Date/Time: 05/10/14 15:52:00

Dear Owen,
OK, let’s.

I note your comments on the Council’s recent consultation on Citizen engagement and I am sorry that you were unhappy with your experience with our local Councillors. They were all re-elected with a substantial majority and are local residents of long standing.

You may or may not be a longstanding resident, although your support for what would be, in effect, a Grove Park-wide CPZ suggests you are a more recent arrival, perhaps from somewhere where CPZs are a fact of life. However, in Grove Park they have not been, and the residents that given me their views fear that the essential character of GP would be irrevocably changed, should a GP-wide CPZ be introduced.

I have added my comments after yours from your original post.

"I have been following the recent thread relating to the extended CPZ for Grove Park [the Extended Area] and think it is time to say a few words in praise of the Council.
The present consultation is not a sinister Council plot: it has arisen because of a series of petitions filed by street residents and represents a serious outbreak of active democracy.”

The Council is supposedly run by the Members (ie Councillors), and is supposed to act in accordance with the decisions of the elected Members. CPZs are the responsibility of the local Area Forums, NOT the Traffic Dept., a position recently re-affirmed by the Lead Member for Citizen Engagement. I am sorry that you are not aware of this.

The ‘Council’ is operated by Officers who are guided in their actions by various Committees and, in this case, Area Forums, or Fora.

The present Consultation is a mistake; it should not be taking place, and it was not authorised by the Chiswick Area Forum or its Chair.  It was initiated by the Traffic Dept., of which  Satnam Sahota (a very nice chap) was at the July Area Forum, as were you and I.

The Area Forum decided that a consultation should take place in many more streets than have petitioned for a CPZ, one assumes because of the widely held belief, stated by persons such as myself, that you can’t impose a CPZ on one or two roads in Grove Park and Strand on the Green without it affecting other roads.

If you COULD have a CPZ in just one street and it had no effect on others, there would be more logic in allowing single streets to determine their own parking. But, since we’re talking about democracy, that’s why there are Councillors and a Code of Conduct which directs them to consider ALL the members of a community, not just those with a special interest or those who voted for the Councillor in question.

As above, ‘active democracy' is what local Councillors strive to represent; whether they do or not is for the voters to decide. Hopefully the 1,600 voters who chose our present Riverside Councillors are happy with their choice; at any rate they are who the voters chose, and it is THEIR remit to decide on behalf of the area. That is how local democracy is actually set up  - and Officers are not free to act unilaterally against the decisions of the properly elected local Councillors.

Officers could, however, suggest some other positive measures, such as John Hickman has proposed, including identification of residents’ cars vs. commuters or longterm parkers, or perhaps a ‘before and after' survey of the Park / Staveley CPZ to identify what its effects actually were.
In this case they have proposed a CPZ as the ONLY answer, but with no data to analyse the actual problem.

Which brings us to the reason we have this CPZ issue again - Ed Mayne, the former Lead Member for Parking, who took it upon himself to impose a CPZ on only two streets (against the then-policy, which WAS indeed listed on the LB of H website), one of which streets contained his childhood home. (NB: his decision was not related to his parents, but it WAS probably related to his personal knowledge of the street, not that he admitted growing up there. So he thought he knew best because he knew the street. Unless you think as Lead Member he magically had an opinion on every street in a borough of 250,000 people). 

As it happens, Ed Mayne, as Lead Member, accepted the petition signed by 2,101 GP and SotG residents NOT to have a CPZ throughout the whole of GP / SotG. The petition itself is not necessarily ‘local democracy in action’, but it no doubt guided the UNANIMOUS vote of the local Councillors against any CPZs. (These are all the same Councillors recently re-elected, so I think you can say the voters were happy with their previous actions and understanding of the issues).
So having new petitions from 89 persons in Chatsworth et al (out of c. 204 households) is not inherently more democratic than the previous one, of which you might have been unaware. It is still on the Council’s website and is still the 4th largest on there, at the aforementioned 2,101 signatures. Average LB of H petitions run at 336 names; the Council's own, widely advertised, petition banning public spitting got 1,583 signatures (out of 250,000 Hounslow citizens). 

"Residents in the Extended Area are sick and tired of their streets being blighted by free parking for both non-resident commuters and non-resident long-term parking. "

As above, I note that there are 89 residents who would like a CPZ in streets affected by the Park / Staveley CPZ, but 2,101 GP residents don’t, and their voices count too.

" ...both non-resident commuters and non-resident long-term parking."

Prove it. I say this not to be difficult, but because NO study has ever been undertaken by the Traffic Dept. on this subject. I wish it had been and I have consistently asked for one.
It is, however, a matter of public record (from the 2011 Census) that residents in the streets east of Sutton Court Rd have the most cars (3, 4 and more than 4) in the Grove Park and SotG area.
Could it be the volume of cars that is an issue? We don’t know, but it is probably a factor.

"They are also concerned by subsidiary problems relating to safety and environmental issues caused by over-parking."

Please quantify. It would be foolish to suggest that CPZs don’t improve sight lines on corners, which is one valid reason why the Traffic Dept. suggest them, but (so far) residents have preferred the current density of parking to the loss of parking space that would result from a CPZ. 

"They want to regain priority in the use of their streets instead of being second-class citizens ranked below non-resident commuters."

'Ranked below’ by whom? The streets are not private, and (as has been explained exhaustively) residents have no more ‘right to park there’ than anyone else. Notwithstanding that, the lack of lines, wardens, signs (there are now 85 new signs in Park & Staveley Rds) and conflict with neighbours is one reason why GP residents like living here.

"They have also seen the substantial benefits of the Park Road/east Staveley Road CPZ."

Can you please delineate these ’substantial benefits? You yourself are now asking for a CPZ as a direct result. You weren’t asking for it 2 years ago.

The north end of Park Road was always full of parked cars; it is still full of parked cars, which one assumes are those of residents. Could it be that the cars parked there before were also residents’? NO survey was ever done before or after the CPZ, so we don’t officially know, although, as above, we do know that the owners in Grove Park of 4 vehicles and more in live in Park and Staveley Roads.
We also know that, out of 246 households in Park / Staveley, only 111 (45%) applied for permits; in other words, the majority of residents didn't actually need onstreet parking, so why the CPZ?  Even Staveley Road was never on the Traffic Dept's own map for a CPZ, and the residents didn't ask for a CPZ - it took someone with the power of a Cabinet member (but alas, not the experience) to unilaterally decide it with no public discussion.   

"The petitions were considered at the July meeting of the Chiswick Area Committee [CAC] when it was resolved to go out to consultation."

This is not so. It was resolved to go to a consultation ONLY when the Forum had decided which OTHER affected streets would be consulted, ie all those streets who would be affected by the next lots of CPZs, should the Park / Staveley one not be taken out.
The reason why you, Mr. Highley, are pushing for a CPZ NOW, as opposed to previously, is because you have been affected by the Park / Staveley CPZ, just as I and many others said you would be.
Your concern should be directed at Ed Mayne, whose precedential use of the Lead Member’s position led to the decision, as well as the 99 (out of 246) residents of Park & Staveley Roads who were allowed to vote for it, as opposed to the 300+ residents of OTHER roads who registered an objection but were then denied a voice. And you should be supporting the process that would relieve the W Staveley displacement, ie the elimination of most of the unnecessary Park / Staveley CPZ (I'll allow you the top and bottom ends of Park Road). 

If you are committed to democracy and have an interest in the workings of the Traffic Dept., you could join those bodies who want to know why 99 persons can be given something that plainly (as we now see and predicted) would affect a much wider area, while 300+ people (probably including many in your street) who objected were ignored.

That certainly doesn’t show the Traffic Dept. OR the Council, or the office of one of its Lead Members, in a good light.

"The success or failure of the Petitions will now depend on the residents’ responses. As they said in Scotland ‘the people will decide’. "

Which people? As a Scot, my opinion is that 83% of people did decide, the majority saying ’No’ to an uncertain future. Perhaps if 83% of ’the people’ in Grove Park were allowed to have a vote, as opposed to a few streets, ’the people’ might well be able to decide.

On the other hand, 2,101 ‘people’ have already decided, by signing, with their names and addresses, a resolution NOT to have a GP-wide CPZ, which is what the new 89 would be imposing on them against their will. The latter would not be very democratic, would it?

"The Council has acted impeccably on CPZs."

The Traffic Dept. has not. One of the main reasons why 30+ citizens of the 'No CPZ' group were sufficiently motivated to go out and bang on doors in the cold January rain - for a month -  was that the Traffic Dept had capriciously binned 878 comments on the 2011 consultation across the whole of GP & SotG that said ‘I don’t have a problem parking’ - which were more than those who said they did, 50% of whom STILL didn’t want a CPZ. The 878 majority was a clear statement, and once again, their answers are on record, as opposed to any conjecture or hearsay.

The Traffic Dept acted with a clear bias, as they did again in the Park / Staveley Consultation, which was predicated SOLELY on ‘likely displacement’  (NB: never monitored or surveyed before or after, save one short visit from an Officer beforehand), FROM Chiswick House & Gardens Car Park INTO Park & Staveley Rds, as opposed to only ‘possible displacement’ FROM Park & Staveley Roads into roads such as your own.

They have now, as above, unilaterally created a consultation without prior authorisation, against the wishes of the local Councillors, NOT in every road likely to be affected and with very little time for ’the people’ to make an informed decision.

"It has published its current CPZ Policy on the Internet."

The Traffic Dept has ALTERED the Council’s stated policy on its website without reference to, or approval from, any elected Member, as far as I know*. I don’t call that democratic.
* I will gladly retract this if you can show me the Minutes of a meeting where a Member or Committee approved the change of wording.

"When I have asked for clarification of the Policy the team in the Traffic Department has always answered my questions effectively and with courtesy."

I'm sure they have indeed replied with courtesy. Messrs Sahota and Soor are very pleasant people and I like to think I have a good relationship with them. However, after 45 minutes of an equally pleasant chat with Amarpal Soor, he did agree that the Park / Staveley  consultation, which he wrote, was misleadingly worded, as above.

"The Policy has not been invented on a whim."

It was, however, subverted on a whim, by Ed Mayne  - see above. I repeat that a Lead Member imposed a CPZ AGAINST the decision of a local Area Forum and residents’ wishes, which had NEVER been done before, and has never been done since - and as such should not be allowed to stand. That's certainly not democracy, and it's not Council policy either.

The more than 300 (the Traffic Dept. refuse to say exactly how many) complaints about the Park / Staveley CPZ are the MOST EVER RECEIVED by the Traffic Dept. Does that tell you something about the desire for GP residents to have their voices heard - in a democratic way?

"The Council can also take credit for the significant emphasis it places on consultation before CPZs are introduced.”

No it can’t - see above.

"Expect, therefore, that the Council will manage the process in an impeccable manner going to considerable lengths to follow its own laid down policies and procedures. This may be frustrating for minority parties as there is little scope for them to add their own individual whistles and bells to any part of the process. "

I look forward to your annotated experience in the future, should the CPZ go through, when you try and renew your Parking Permit, cf. many many previous Forum posts.

"In Grove Park one size does not fit all."

This is where I came in. If you don’t think that the unique ambience of Grove Park lies in its village atmosphere and its attractive interconnected road layout, than I can only deduce that you might be a recent arrival (apologies if not). Longterm residents are of the opinion that if you squeeze one part of the area, another part feels it - as is evidenced by the effect of the Park / Staveley CPZ.
As above, your assertion is not the view of the 2,101 signatories, who wanted to decide for themselves whether or not a CPZ will affect them.
The previous policy made it quite clear that CPZs should not be introduced street by street, and, apart from Park & Staveley, they have never been introduced as such.

Even the Traffic Dept’s last official attempt to introduce one suggested a GP ‘cluster’ - and they didn’t consider east Staveley Road worth of inclusion, probably because its residents had, and continue to have, off-street parking already, in contrast to those in west Staveley, with whom I have a lot of sympathy.

"Some streets want CPZs and others do not."
Please see above.

"I hope the Extended Area goes ahead, provided the residents signal their approval. "
Which residents? All the residents that will be affected?

"Similarly, I hope that those streets with majorities opposing CPZs succeed in keeping their streets un-zoned."
How precisely do you think that might be achieved? See above.

"The Council’s policy is fair, flexible, user friendly and capable of supporting both positions."

The Council's policy is that CPZs are under the control of the local Area Forums, and it was the previous Cabinet’s break with that policy that has caused the unholy mess that we’re in now.
There was never an informed case made for the Park / Staveley CPZ; a minority of residents (ONLY in those streets) voted for it, while 3 times as many in the streets most affected by its introduction voted against it.

That doesn’t very fair or flexible to me.

Entire Thread
TopicDate PostedPosted By
CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit05/10/14 15:52:00 Owen Highley
   Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit05/10/14 16:21:00 Trudie Fuller
      Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit05/10/14 17:10:00 Curzon Tussaud
         Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit05/10/14 17:15:00 Trudie Fuller
      Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit06/10/14 08:59:00 roy collado
         Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit06/10/14 09:11:00 Dan Murphy
   Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit05/10/14 17:29:00 Richard Greenhough
      Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit05/10/14 17:33:00 Paul Allen
         Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit05/10/14 17:52:00 Trudie Fuller
            Re:Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit05/10/14 18:37:00 Owen Highley
               Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit05/10/14 19:54:00 Richard Greenhough
   Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit05/10/14 21:38:00 Thomas Barry
      Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit06/10/14 07:09:00 Dan Murphy
         Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit06/10/14 09:12:00 Owen Highley
            Re:Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit06/10/14 09:16:00 Richard Greenhough
            Re:Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit06/10/14 09:27:00 bobby osborne
            Re:Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit06/10/14 11:38:00 Dan Murphy
               Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit06/10/14 11:53:00 Brendan McCarthy
                  Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit06/10/14 12:15:00 Dan Murphy
                     Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:CPZs: Let's set the record straight and give the Council due credit06/10/14 12:56:00 Brian Coyle
               "Forcing" CPZs on other people06/10/14 13:57:00 Owen Highley
                  Re:"Forcing" CPZs on other people06/10/14 14:10:00 Russell Pearson
                     Re:Re:"Forcing" CPZs on other people06/10/14 14:20:00 Paul Allen
                  Re:"Forcing" CPZs on other people06/10/14 15:15:00 Richard Greenhough
                  Re:Forcing CPZs on other people - the Highley way06/10/14 15:27:00 Richard Greenhough
                  Re:"Forcing" CPZs on other people06/10/14 16:21:00 Dan Murphy
                  Re:"Forcing" CPZs on other people06/10/14 16:29:00 John Hickman
                     Re:Re:"Forcing" CPZs on other people06/10/14 16:37:00 Maggie Dodge
                        Re:Re:Re:"Forcing" CPZs on other people06/10/14 16:45:00 Craig McDowell
                     Let's set the record straight06/10/14 17:04:00 Andy Murray

Forum Home