Thursday, 15 March 2012

Unhelpful comments from SKDC Leader, Mrs Linda Neal

South Kesteven District Council leader, Mrs Linda Neal, attended a question and answer session with Stamford's St Peter's Community Group recently and was asked about Residents' Parking Permit Schemes for the town. The relevant section of the minutes of this meeting are reproduced below.
In them Mrs Neal states "Introducing a permit parking scheme is entirely outside the control of the District Council, and there is nothing that SKDC can do to initiate any permit parking scheme.". This clearly contradicts the stated policy of Lincolnshire County Council that District Councils should propose any schemes they wish to operate in their areas to LCC for approval.
Clarification will be sought from Mrs Neal to ensure that SKDC will make such a proposal to LCC for Stamford as soon as possible....

Extract from the record of a meeting with the St Peter’s Community Group, Tuesday 13 March, from 7.30pm at the Masonic Centre, All Saints’ Street, Stamford
We were pleased to hear that SKDC is listening to residents about the need for permit parking. What steps is the council now taking to ensure that permit parking is introduced when Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) is implemented?
Cllr Neal could give us no real comfort on this issue. SKDC is convinced by the argument for permit parking in Stamford, but cannot deliver a scheme as this must be planned and implemented by LCC.
Introducing a permit parking scheme is entirely outside the control of the District Council, and there is nothing that SKDC can do to initiate any permit parking scheme. SKDC would handle any administration of a permit scheme once it had been implemented and provided it was cost neutral to the district.
SKDC cannot give us any assurance that LCC will do the necessary work to introduce a permit scheme when CPE is implemented (target date still October 2012). Cllr Neal thinks it is unlikely as LCC does not have the resources. It is regularly raised at joint LCC/SKDC meetings (these include Cllr Neal and Cllr Cartwright, who holds the SKDC Economic Development portfolio), with no progress.
SKDC has been looking at some options for permit parking which avoids onstreet permit zones, eg. car parks. SKDC has told LCC that Stamford should be on 'the list' for permit parking - but due to limited resources LCC is likely only to introduce 1 or 2 permit schemes a year (Grantham also wants permit parking). Even if we want an onstreet permit scheme it may be turned down by Department for Transport if the road conditions, eg widths of roads, do not meet specific requirements. Two out of three applications for permit schemes are turned down by the Department for Transport.
Points raised by community group members:
  • Cllr Neal’s re-assurance last December (‘LCC with responsibility for highways is failing in its duty by not agreeing to provide any residents parking schemes itself as part of CPE. If as a result of the recent consultation LCC has a change of heart then brilliant. If not SDKC has listened and will assist.’) was misleading. We understood that SKDC was able to progress the implementation of a permit parking scheme.
  • The town works well with no enforcement – why is CPE needed? Cllr Neal confirmed that this was a government requirement, to remove responsibility from the police.
  • What more can residents do to get action? Cllr Neal was not sure anything would work but advised us to continue to lobby LCC.
Stamford contributes a lot to SKDC revenue through charges in its car parks – we want to see Cllr Neal/SKDC ‘fly the flag’ for a Stamford permit parking scheme and put pressure on LCC to deliver.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to think the council will be forced into action once the changes come into effect. Can you imagine the chaos? All the town centre residents will, against our wishes, have no choice but to park in the surrounding restriction-free roads. Everyone who currently parks there will shift to other roads, and so on. What does this leave us with? A town full of disgruntled people unable to park outside their own homes. Especially on a Saturday, when many of the town's workers are home.

    It won't be pleasant, mind, but I can't see the council can sit back and do nothing. Or perhaps they will...


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