Forum Message

Topic: Grove Park CPZ – a final chance to have your views heard
Posted by: Dan Murphy
Date/Time: 26/01/15 09:23:00

The Area Forum meeting this Wednesday (28th Jan) at 7:30pm in St Michael’s Church Hall is to discuss the topic of a CPZ in Grove Park / Strand on the Green, and decide whether / how to extend this across the whole of Grove Park. Or not.

The Traffic Officers at Hounslow Council are doggedly determined to implement a CPZ across the whole of GP / SOTG, and have published several documents (on the Hounslow website) to persuade Councillors how much support there is for CPZ is and why we must extend it across the whole of GP. They make a series of strong recommendations in these documents and in the absence of any contrary arguments our Area Forum is likely to be persuaded simply to vote through the recommendations of the Traffic Officers.

We all know that the vast majority of residents in GP / SOTG remain against CPZ. The problem is that their views are not being heard, and are not being reflected in the recommendations and research presented by the Traffic Officers. This is why it is so important that as many people show up on Wednesday as possible.

The reason I am taking the time to write this is not because I am pro or anti CPZ. Some of the pro CPZ residents in Park Road have accused me of being “pro Commuter parking” which is an absurd comment, as though my only aim is to support as much parking chaos as possible in Grove Park.

My concern over all of this is that the democratic views of GP residents are being deliberately and routinely ignored by the Traffic Officers, in their pursuit of an area wide CPZ. Just let me give you three examples to illustrate this, and you can make your own mind up.

In 2010, following several consultations showing a majority of GP residents against CPZ, Traffic Officers carried out a consultation of the “East and West Clusters” in GP, and got 1,634 responses. 1,302 of those responses (80%) said that they had no problems with parking, or if they did they were firmly against any CPZ. And yet our Traffic Officers  declared that consultation to show support for a CPZ. How did they do that? Simple. They simply binned the 878 responses which said “we do not have any problems with parking”. So they turned a “No” response into a “Yes” response by simply ignoring 54% of the responses. The common name for this is vote rigging. Traffic Officers have done this several times with these consultations.

Second example. The future of the 2-road CPZ (Park & Staveley) is going to be determined on the basis of a very small number of household responses. In total, 45 households in those two roads (from a total of 248 houses) have said they do not want the CPZ removed. But the 400+ households who objected to that 2-road CPZ  have been completely ignored during this entire process. We were all promised that no CPZ would be implemented until all those responses were addressed and resolved, but this was never done. All those people were ignored. And so the drive to extend a CPZ across Grove Park is going to be decided on the basis of these very small numbers of households, whilst the overwhelming majority of residents who are against CPZ are being comprehensively ignored.

The Traffic Officers now claim (a complete reversal of their previous policy) that they can consult on a CPZ one road at a time. But we all know this is a deliberate nonsense – all sudden requests for single road CPZs in the roads neighbouring Park & Staveley Roads, following the 2-road CPZ, shows the massive and immediate impact that displacement has on neighbouring roads if you put a CPZ into a single road. This is why it makes no sense at all to implement CPZ on a single road basis, it must be area wide or not at all. And this was always the LBH policy before 2012, when they finally realised that the only way they could do it was on a road by road basis, as Grove Park as a whole was overwhelmingly against CPZ. That is when they decided to stop asking the majority of residents.

And the third example is the way they are going about this latest “consultation” to extend CPZ into a further 12 roads. They thought that they were on a safe wicket, asking roads neighbouring Park & Staveley, but were dismayed that 5 of the 12 roads actually returned a “No CPZ” vote. Traffic Officers thought they had done everything to ensure a “Yes” result – they issued the consultation before it had been signed off by our Area Forum (so it was improper and should not even be recognised); they ONLY consulted residents in the 12 roads affected and even went to far as to send them Freepost envelopes to make it as easy as possible to send in their “Yes” votes; and they kept the entire thing secret from all the other residents in Grove Park, who are perfectly entitled to have their views heard in these consultations. Despite Traffic Officers’ attempts to keep the consultation secret, 52 residents in other roads found out about it (via the Forum) and sent in their responses. Of course, they were broadly anti-CPZ, so what did the Traffic Officers do? They threw all those responses in the bin and ignored them (all this is fully documented in the results they have published for the Area forum meeting).

Not only that, but they are also recommending to our Councillors that those roads that voted “No” are informed of the decision to proceed with the extension and “given the opportunity to reconsider their view”. Clearly, Officers know that once the CPZ is implemented in the 7 roads, the other 5 will find their parking situation becomes intolerable and they will have no choice but to change their mind and accept a CPZ, much as the roads surrounding Park & Staveley have been forced to do.

These examples of vote rigging and deliberate abuse of process go on and on.

But the point is that unelected Officers are pushing through policy which is in direct opposition to the democratic wishes of the vast majority of Grove Park / SOTG residents. And whenever they are asked for their views they confirm this over and again.

But a few (very few) residents in a couple of roads, supported by an undemocratic and unelected group of Officers, are managing to bypass the entire local democratic process and force this CPZ on the entire area.

That is what is so intolerable about this. The point is not whether CPZ is right or wrong. It is that it is being forced upon us, by unelected Officers, when the vast majority of us do not want it.

The CAF meeting this Wednesday is probably the last chance for the majority of Grove Park residents to show up and have their voices heard. Just to remind the Councillors of the strength of feeling against. The democratic process does not work – we have seen that the Traffic Officers simply throw away the responses that do not support CPZ. They simply rig the numbers.

The only thing that might away our Councillors is to be reminded of the feelings of the majority of local residents. So please, if you can make the time, please come along on Wednesday night and have your voice heard. Otherwise we cannot complain when Council Officers do what they want and ignore the wishes of local residents. Today it is CPZ, tomorrow – who knows what it might be?

Entire Thread
TopicDate PostedPosted By
Grove Park CPZ – a final chance to have your views heard26/01/15 09:23:00 Dan Murphy
   Re:Grove Park CPZ – a final chance to have your views heard26/01/15 12:01:00 Brendan McCarthy
      Re:Re:Grove Park CPZ – a final chance to have your views heard26/01/15 13:30:00 Richard Greenhough
         Re:Re:Re:Grove Park CPZ – a final chance to have your views heard26/01/15 14:49:00 Brendan McCarthy
            Re:Re:Re:Re:Grove Park CPZ – a final chance to have your views heard27/01/15 14:11:00 Dan Murphy
            Re:Re:Re:Re:Grove Park CPZ – a final chance to have your views heard27/01/15 14:42:00 Iris Hill
               Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Grove Park CPZ – a final chance to have your views heard27/01/15 16:13:00 Brendan McCarthy
                  Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Grove Park CPZ – a final chance to have your views heard27/01/15 17:19:00 Iris Hill

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