Thursday 24 July. Traffic Management Advisory Committee
The Committee is being asked to agree the proposed new parking charges policy following consultation with no amendments. See below.
Saturday 26 July. 10am-5pm. Croydon authors at Made in Croydon stalls event
I will be running a bookstall featuring my books and pamphlets on Croydon history etc and by other Croydon authors at the Made in Croydon stall event in the High St opposite Grants.
Council adopts 2030 zero carbon goal
Council authoritarian insensitive closure of Outlet
Planning and housing news
Architects win planning approval for Croydon infill housing scheme
The July Council meeting rejected a petition calling on it l to ‘stop destroying family homes’, and introduce Area Planning Committees for developments of less than 50 units.
Officers offer no changes to emissions parking permits proposals
The Officers are proposing that on Thursday 24 July the Traffic Management Advisory Committee adopt the parking charges policy without amendment following consultation.
In 2016 there were 148,256 vehicles registered in Croydon. There were 10,636 active parking permits at the at the end of 2018: 9,048 resident permits. 285 business permits. 107 all-zone permits (on-street only). 36 all-zone permits (on and off-street). There are also 24 doctor bay permits. 475 council permits (e.g. Social Services home visiting staff), 411 neighbourhood care permits (e.g. NHS care in the community staff), 80 statutory undertaker permits. 170 charity permits.
If introduced, the emission-based charges will be launched in three stages (the first 2 stages being the recommendation of the report):
1) Residents’ permits – from October 2019, when a permit is next up for renewal in the 12-month period that follows.
2) Business and other permits, and Diesel surcharging for permits – from April 2020.
3) On-street (i.e. in public roads with pay and display bays) and off-street (i.e. in council operated public car parks) parking charges, and Diesel surcharging for on- and off-street parking – from April 2021 (NB: to be developed and consulted on at a later date)
There were 1,149 unique respondents to the consultation which ended on 20 June: 62 in support, 48 neither objecting nor supporting. Here are some extracts.
Unfair to poorest, elderly and vulnerable
154 respondents objected because they were unfair to those who cannot afford a newer car, which includes the poorest, elderly and vulnerable. The Officers accept that residents and local businesses ‘for whom parking and road congestion have adverse economic and quality of life implications include people who cannot immediately afford to replace their older cars.’ But argue that ‘We must also consider fairness to residents who are vulnerable to air pollution, which disproportionally are the young, the elderly and those who live in some of the poorest areas of the borough. They represent groups that tend to have lower car ownership. Active encouragement of lower emission vehicles and the underlying reduction in car use, benefits all individuals, families and neighbourhoods. Air pollution is an important and increasingly more high profile public health issue, contributing to illness and shortened life expectancy. It disproportionately impacts on the most vulnerable in the population, in particular the sick, young and elderly. Those at higher risk include those with existing respiratory problems and chronic illnesses such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People who live or work near busy roads are at particularly high risk of exposure to the health harms of air pollution. Surplus from parking permit charges are ring-fenced and, for example, contribute significantly to sustaining public transport fare concessions such as the Freedom Pass scheme for the elderly. The parking permit charges therefore indirectly support the portion of the elder population that do not have a car or who choose to use public transport. The holders of 11,459 individual and 71 organisational blue badges issued in Croydon are exempt from the parking charges.’ 371 vehicles will be charged at the higher £300 band on resident permits and 413 that predate March 2001. ‘This equates to 8.7% of all active resident parking permits (9,048) as at the end of 2018, which are issued to residents across the whole income spectrum.’
Unfair to Residents in Controlled Parking Zones
41 respondents commented that it was ‘unfair to residents living in a Controlled Parking Zone, while not addressing high-polluting cars outside CPZs. It is unequal and creates divisions in the community.’ The Officers counter argue that ‘The CPZ represents a location where residents have reported significant parking congestion and requested that such congestion is managed. In non CPZ locations, the congestion either does not exist to the same level or has not been raised as a concern yet and therefore does not need managing at this point in time. The Council does not implement CPZs where they are not necessary. In most cases the need for CPZs are within the higher density geographical areas and less so in lower density areas. The next phases of the emission-based parking charges will address polluting vehicles traveling within the borough to public parking places in general, and not just in residential CPZs. These additional proposals cannot be immediately implemented, as they depend on the prior uptake in mobile parking payment technology, which is being addressed separately to emissions-based permit charges in CPZs.
33 respondents commented ‘Emissions need lowering, but this is the wrong way to go about it (not specifying an alternative solution).’ The Officers claim that the ‘Council will keep an open mind and support emissions-reduction solutions as they are identified in all fields. New solutions could be considered for replacing the emissions-based permit charges. For the emissions and car reduction to show their required effects by 2021, however, the recommended emission-based charges cannot be delayed for yet unknown and unspecified alternative solutions to be developed. Private car transport is just one aspect of local air pollution, but a major contributor to local traffic and parking congestion. ‘
Unfair to essential vehicle drivers
32 respondents commented that it ‘is unfair to essential car users who work unsocial hours, must drive their children, are vulnerable, carry loads and live in hilly borough.’ The Officers argue that the ‘permit charge will remain a relatively modest element of the total cost of car ownership. Compared to all other associated costs of owning a car, permit charges would be a minimal percentage of the overall cost. It is, however, important to seek to influence a choice in lower emission vehicles for essential and frequent car users. The scheme does not automatically assume that the transport of children as being essential.’
Need for Terre Planting
4 respondents argued that the ‘scheme needs to be combined with tree planting initiatives and creation of space for trees, including specifying mature trees as a planning requirement. The Officer response: ‘The Council has a policy on tree planting, although it is not directly linked to emission-based parking charges. The council’s active tree planting program aims to plant 650 trees each year & this year alone it is expected to deliver 1200 trees.’
Parking in Front Gardens
4 respondents argued that the proposals ‘ will encourage people to concrete over and park in their front gardens which will have environmental impact.’ The Officer response states: ‘Restrictions apply to making a pavement cross-overs and hardstandings for parking on private property, and these take into consideration road conditions, dimensions, underground services and surface water effects. The required works to strengthen a foot path and install a pavement cross-over tend to be extensive and, in many cases, may require prior planning consent and the associated cost is significantly higher than a parking permit charge. The Government’s Planning Portal states that specific rules apply for householders wanting to pave over their front gardens, such as if the surface to be covered is more than five square metres then planning permission will be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area. Residents who choose to install pavement cross-overs do so to secure access, not to avoid the permit charge and need to obtain permission from the council to drop the kerb and strengthen the pavement. The emission based permit charge scheme has potential for helping to reduce the number of cars parked in a road, hence improving access and reducing the incentive for residents to concrete over their front gardens’
The full Officer report can be accessed here: