Dear Mrs Neal,
On 8th April this year, The Stamford Mercury reported: “Coun Neal said the district council was working hard to develop a plan. She said: “We are working with residents to introduce a viable, simple scheme which reflects local requirements whilst at the same time maintaining the commitment that any schemes introduced across the district would be cost neutral for local taxpayers.”
Since then, ‘working with residents’ has consisted of one single meeting, in May, arranged not by you or your officers, but by a LibDem councillor. At that meeting, your officer, Mr Cucksey presented a draft Residents’ Parking Scheme policy on a single sheet of A4, 80% of its contents being a straight copy of LCC’s policy which had approved six months previously. Since this meeting, any letters on the subject from the various residents’ groups have not resulted in any positive action or response from SKDC as to a policy or an implementation timetable. We have neither been consulted on, or even informed about, the development of the ‘one side of A4’ into a policy and then into some action.
Then last month The Stamford Mercury reported: “The council’s cabinet will consider a parking policy at a meeting on September 3”. I notice from the SKDC website that there is not now a Cabinet meeting until 1st October, and that the issue of Residents’ Parking was not on the agenda of the Cabinet meeting earlier this week. That apart, why have you not consulted any of the residents’ groups about the contents of this policy? Mr Cucksey has so far not even told us the date on which the next draft policy will be made public!
All of this exposes your assertion that “we are working with residents” as the hollow phrase it has been since the day you said it.
Your recent assertion that a Residents’ Permit Scheme will take at least a year from now to introduce is also simply untrue. If SKDC had started work as soon as LCC submitted its application for CPE in early January as you were asked to, we would already be well on our way – indeed with the latest delay in CPE until at least end-November, we’d have had 11 months in which to bring in a scheme. As it stands, because of your inaction we are still practically starting from scratch.
As an aside, I should point out to you that this has led some people to assert that your delay is being done deliberately to give Stamford Chamber of Trade the one year delay in bringing in a Residents’ Scheme that they are asking for……
Finally, there is also the question of your assertion reported in the Stamford Mercury on 27th July that ““We are exploring options for what we can do to assist in the interim period and we have looked at making the car parks available. This has been met with some scepticism but it is a genuine offer from us in the interim and not by any means a permanent solution.” In the same article I was correctly reported as welcoming this.
However, it now transpires that had there not been the delay to CPE introduction which emerged last week, you could not possibly have introduced any such measures before enforcement would have begun on 1 October. I say this because the issue was not on the agenda of this week’s SKDC Cabinet, and there is no Cabinet scheduled for September. Furthermore, even if the Cabinet were to approve interim measures there would then have been insufficient time in which to organise the interim scheme. So once again you are doing too little too late. When is SKDC going to consult us formally on these interim measures?
All of the foregoing leads me to lack confidence that you are acting with competence and integrity in this matter.
I can only hope that you will treat this email as a wake-up call and now respond appropriately.