Wednesday, 12 September 2012

SKDC Launches Its First Consultation on a Residents' Parking Policy

SKDC has now finally published a draft Residents’ Parking Policy and sent it out for consultation.  Responses to the consultation must be sent to them by Friday 5th October.

Set out below is a summary of its content. This summary should be more useful than looking at the consultation document itself as it includes points of clarification which have already been provided to us since the draft was first published....

What is the scope of this policy? 
The policy is for the whole of SKDC, not just STAMFORD. It sets down the rules by which individual Residents’ Schemes will be set up in the first place and the overall rules within which individual schemes must operate.

How are schemes set up? 
Schemes may be set up in in areas “where it can be identified that residents have a problem finding a parking space close to where they live”  and where fewer “than 50% of residents have available off-street car parking” of their own.  They will only be set up if “South Kesteven District Council in consultation with LCC highways authority is reasonably satisfied that unacceptable traffic problems will not be created on adjacent streets” and if “more than 50% of occupants consulted within a scheme area are in agreement with a residents parking scheme and are willing to pay the permit fees”.

Who is eligible to have a Residents’ Parking Permit?
  Only those people living in a defined scheme area (they propose 5 in Stamford, see below) “with no off street parking within the boundary of their property or within 50m of their property in their ownership are eligible to apply for a permit”.
“Each resident is entitled to a single permit for a maximum of two specified vehicles. Only one resident per household may hold a permit for any two vehicles.”  
“One visitor permit will be available to each eligible property within the scheme area. Only one visitor and one resident permit will be issued per eligible property.” 
"Houses in multiple occupation are eligible for a maximum of three permits per year. Permits can either be vehicle specific (resident) or visitor. Each resident may only apply for one permit.” 
“Central Area (red area, Stamford) - Visitor permits are not generally issued. However, one visitor’s permit per property may be issued where residents do not keep a vehicle (and do not hold a residents parking permit) or can make the case for the need of a visitor’s permit.” 

What about other people who might need to park?
“A business within a defined scheme area may apply for one business permit if they have no off street parking available. The permit can have up to four vehicle registrations displayed on it. Alternatively one business visitor permit may be issued if a business permit is not issued.”
There will also be provision for healthcare professionals & builders etc who have to park near properties in which they are working to be issued with permits. 

What does a permit entitlement you to?
  “Resident parking permits will only be valid in newly defined resident parking bays and will only be valid within a single defined scheme area, for example a permit issued to a resident living in the yellow area will only be valid for parking in a resident parking bay in the yellow area.  The survey work [SKDC is] currently undertaking will consider the need to challenge the existing on street parking restrictions, such as time limited one and two hour bays and look to reallocate them to support the resident parking scheme.  The permit will not allow residents to park in time limited bays beyond the specified time limit..  “Resident parking zones will be 8 – 6 Monday to Saturday”.  Outside the resident parking bays, permit holders are subject to the same rules as everyone else.

How will each scheme be administered?
Permits will be issued annually (April – Mar) by SKDC. Pro-rata permits will be charged for full months up to the end of the current financial year. Permit charges will be reviewed and set annually. The permit charge will be set at a level which at least covers the cost of the local scheme. Residents must pay the relevant annual permit fee and prove residency before being issued with a permit.
Permits will be issued for a nominated vehicle(s) for use within the defined scheme area.  An administration charge will be made for providing a permit when a resident changes their vehicle and wishes to transfer the permit to their new vehicle, retaining the original expiry date. Replacement permits will also attract an administration charge due to loss or damage. 
 What is the definition of the ‘defined scheme areas’
  This is first draft map produced by SKDC (click to enlarge):-

What does the policy not tell us?
How much permits will cost? 
How much of the currently unrestricted parking in the defined scheme areas will become ‘residents’ only bays?  How much of the current one & two hour limited parking in the defined scheme areas will become ‘residents’ only bays and how much (if any) should remain as it is?
When exactly can schemes be brought in and what happens in the meantime once enforcement of the current restrictions begins? 



The deadline for responses is Friday 5th October.


  1. Why have they thought up a more complicated and bound to be more costly scheme when the best, simplest and cheapest idea is being rejected?? The restriction exemption answers our needs and would keep things as they are now for residents i.e. workable. I think designated bays would just cause stress, worry and expense (I note we haven't been told how much we'd have to pay) for everyone who lives and works quite happily here at the moment thank you very much.
    I recently visited the village of Shere in Surrey, which is a very popular tourist area - THEY HAVE NO PARKING RESTRICTIONS AT ALL NOT EVEN YELLOW LINES to retain the aesthetics of the area. They have loads of visitors & residents but very few parking problems!! and nbviously not everyone has their own parking/garage. Why is there no vision or forward thinking here??
    From Stella Mackness St. Leonards St

  2. The idea of specific bays seems unnecessary and most likely impractical! My guess would be that there would not be enough bays for all residents, or if there were that we would end up parking a long way from our homes. I am unhappy enough that I am going to be expected to pay to park my own car on a street somewhere near my home when we are already taxed so much; I will be furious if I am paying for this "Privilege" and then can't actually get into a bay. It is going to lead to residents actually being afraid to take their cars out at weekends or days off otherwise they will not be able to actually come home and park again! I feel that residents are going to be much worse off under this system, to the point where my partner and I are actually considering moving out of the town where we have been so happy for the last few years. I also do not know how we can be expected to agree to purchasing permits in theory, when we do not yet know how much they are likely to cost, not even a ball park figure- I know that I am not willing to spend too much for something I should be continuing to get for free! I feel outraged that we seem to just be being ignored by these policy makers! From Kelly, All Saints Street.

  3. Hmmm...not sure I agree with the above comments. In the area where I live we're already having major problems with the commuters using the train station and the shopkeepers/workers cars. I am already very reluctant to move my car once its in a space for just the reasons outlined, namely that there'll be nowhere to return to.
    I think that residents' bays would go some way to alleviate this; I'm of course assuming that SKDC won't be so stupid as to allocate more permits than there are bays available..., but then again these witless cretins, in concert with LCC, have been instrumental in the adoption of CPE and the ensuing (and entirely predictable) farce of resident's parking, so you never know.

    Allowing a permit two cars per property is also unwise - it is obvious that cars take up a lot of space, and at two cars per property there will be insufficient road space to accommodate them all.

    As for moving out of the area, bear in mind that if no workable scheme is introduced or gets developed, it may become near impossible to sell your house to anyone who owns a car.

    Finally, don't forget that we voted these idiots into office; if you don't like what they're doing (and take it from someone quite new to the area, LCC & SKDC are a *joke*), perhaps this should be borne in mind when the next lot of local elections comes around.

    1. I definitely agree that this is an election issue - I am sure that we will remember who helped us (or who didn't) when the next elections come up.

      Unfortunately there won't be an election before CPE and a residents' scheme come in, so I hope the various parts of the council responsible do the right thing and find a sensible solution to this debacle.

  4. So hundreds of Stamford residents have said they don't want Residents-Only bays - just exemption from the existing one & two hour limits, and SKDC has replied "It's Residents-Only bays or nothing".
    They've not been listening, have they?

  5. It's a very strange policy which just seems to have been lifted from another Council's precedent bank! Surely the simplest way is to simply issue residents permits to exempt those who live on the streets where enforcement will take place?! It's so simple it's untrue. Why have residents only bays?! Shoppers need as many spaces as possible. Enforce the 2hr rule, yes, but just allow residents in those areas to be exempt. In reality, most residents will be at work so they won't be taking up shopping bays, but in the instances where they are at home between 9am-6pm, don't enforce the 2hr rule for residents! The only issue with all of these bays are workers in the town taking up the spaces. Ask them to use the car parks (eg Wharf Rd) and allow the people who contribute so much to the town Centre to park outside their house. If SKDC drive the town centre residents to the suburbs, the town will be worse off, i guarantee it.
    Dean Cornish

  6. The fact that we are so close to the introduction of Parking wardens without having agreed what will be done for residents in the interim is beyond belief. What do the council think will happen to the cars that currently park there - will they just vanish? I think not! Anyone who needs a long term place to park during the day will now have to find somewhere to park other than the time-limited bays, which means they will head away from the centre of town and park on streets just outside the restricted zones - resulting it two lots of unhappy residents. This doesn't just affect people who live in the centre. Anyone who parks on-street in Stamford will be impacted. Let the council know what you think of the scheme.
    Steve Marsh

  7. Why are people in the central red zone not allowed to have visitor permits? I realise that there are many demands on the town centre parking, but to assume that people living in the centre won't ever have visitors or tradesmen working on the property is not fair.

    Can't the council consider a voucher scheme instead for central residents, which allows occasional use of residents parking and avoids the problem of visitor passes being abused?

  8. Been doing some research. Lincoln has a fairly large residents parking scheme, and Louth has a very small one. No where else in Lincolnshire has a scheme, or appears to be requesting one.

    Why is Stamford so different and/or special?

    1. Stamford is indeed different & special in that it has many residential properties in its town centre most of which have no off-street parking of their own. Residents have to compete with town-centre workers & shoppers for the available on-street parking on the streets where they live.
      This is similar to the nearby towns of Oakham & Uppingham which also have Residents' Parking schemes.

    2. Sounds like every market town in the county to me......apart from the stonework of course.

      So what schemes do Oakham and Uppingham have?

    3. Having looked, it seems to me that the Oakham scheme is similar to that which SKDC are offering..... states that 'the permit allows you to park in any space which is reserved for permit holders'.

    4. So what are you now saying? "Stamford can't have a scheme because no similar town in Lincolnshire has one" or "Stamford can have a scheme as long as it is the same as Oakham's"?

      SKDC is employing independent consultants to establish whether or not there is a need for a scheme, and Stamford residents will decide what is the most appropriate form of scheme for them. What other towns have or don't have is irrelevant.

    5. I'm saying I don't get what all the fuss is about..... You can do as you like, I live in ELDC and have a drive (",)

    6. Oakham only has one zone though, which is much simpler than the 5 zones in SKDC's proposal.

  9. Without wishing to sound like a conspiracy-theorist, I have come to suspect that there’s more to this whole debacle than we’re being told.

    I say this because all of the concerns being raised by the residents likely to be most affected seem to me to be coherent and reasonable. That being the case they should then have been easily predicted by the people we elected to office to serve our interests.

    The fact that we find ourselves in the situation where the CPE scheme is going to be introduced over the concerns of some of the electorate I can only take to mean that LCC & SKDC are either grossly incompetent for failing to predict residents’ concerns, or they are facing such a shortfall in their budget that they’d rather start levying heavy fines on a small number of residents or the odd unlucky shopper, than face a far wider back-lash from the whole district or county by introducing a hike in Council Tax to redress the balance.

    As I understand things, one of the (stated) intentions of CPE is to allow a more aggressive attitude to parking transgressions to alleviate problems caused by bad or inconsiderate parking. As far as I know the only steps taken in this regard in the last 5 years was the introduction of double yellow lines on Gresley Drive when commuter parking was blocking the road to such an extent that the emergency services raised a legitimate concern that they would be unable to attend an incident should one occur. This being the case:
    • Why do we suddenly need aggressive traffic management in Stamford?
    • What problems will it address?
    • What will improve as a result?
    • Why has the “wait and see” attitude of the Stamford Chamber of Commerce been of any consideration over the concerns of the residents?

    I guess there would be more sympathy for CPE if the fines levies were ploughed back directly to benefit the area (eg by subsidising the car park charges thereby making their use more attractive). Instead, it seems to me that Stamford as a whole coughs up far more into LCC’s & SKDC’s coffers than we receive in return. Adding CPE receipts into the mix only skews that situation further.

    In summary, from all I have read, heard, and thought about, neither LCC nor SKDC have managed to produce a compelling argument for CPE’s introduction which makes me believe there’s more to the whole situation than is being communicated to the electorate.

  10. It is very easy for people working in offices to shelter behind official-sounding documents. It seems that Lincolnshire County Council's 'Contract Specification for CPE', the basis for the latest bombshell advocating resident parking bays in Stamford centre, rather than the much more sensible, cheaper and less contentious exemption from on-street parking limits for residents in exchange for a paid permit that we have been asking for over the past years, completely lacks the creativity and common-sense approach that Stamford requires. As SKDC will undoubtedly discover once they at last do the required research into households with vehicles and no off-street parking in the five arbitarily created zones,the volume of vehicles is likely to necessitate more parking bays than the narrow often mediaeval streets can accommodate. Once the business community's demands are also factored in, one begins to wonder if there will remain anywhere for visitors, which includes deliveries, health visits, building contractors etc, to park short-term at all. The real danger is that in fact so few resident bays will be provided, that, as has already been suggested above, there will be a huge disparity between the needs of residents and businesses and the availability of somewhere to park near homes and places of work. Sufficient permits will not be sold and the whole scheme will have to be abandoned as futile. The incredible anger and frustration felt by those people affected will be politically explosive, socially damaging and quite dreadful for the quality of life in this marvellous old town which is extraordinary in having such a high density of residential living in its very heart.

    CPE is an autocratic system imposed by bureaucrats as part of a Government directive. It cannot function adequately if it is allowed to completely ignore the needs of large parts of the urban community, which, because of foot-dragging by our councils, despite years of attempts by residents to find a solution in good time, will find itself having to cope with a completely ludicrous scenario: the impossibility of daytime parking near one's home for longer than an hour or two and an arrogant dismissal by the councils of this being a problem in need of a creative solution.

    The solution is there,in our suggestions of exemption permits, but the political will to think out of the box, to tailor-make a workable system for the people of this town is completely lacking.

    WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO, SKDC AND LCC? Is anybody out there listening and thinking?
    We are the people who tirelessy and daily support the local businesses ON FOOT. We are the people who maintain at huge expense the historic buildings that support Stamford's tourist industry. We are the people who prevent our market town from becoming a tourist Disney-town by day and a dead zone by night - because we live here, work here and NEED PLACES NEARBY TO PARK!

  11. Residents' Only bays as the one and only solution would be dangerous for SKDC, as they have to get the number of bays exactly right. Too many bays & they will receive complaints that there are empty bays when non-residents need to park; too few bays and residents will complain that they are not getting the service they've paid for from their permit. That is why our consistent suggestion that there should be 'Residents' Exemption from time limits' rather than 'Residents' Only bays' is a much fairer and more rational way to ration a scarce resource.

    Eighty-four households in my area of Stamford have indicated (in writing) that they would like a Residents' Exemption Permmit scheme. Why is SKDC ignoring their wishes?

    1. To further support Richard's point, there are currently enough parking spaces to go around; everyone (residents, workers, shoppers and visitors) finds somewhere to park even though you may have to hunt a bit for a space when you first arrive when it is at its busiest (Saturdays and Sundays during church services).

      Strictly enforcing the time limits for residents will displace this parking elsewhere, making it easier for visitors and shoppers to park, but making it harder for residents in the centre as well as residents a bit further out who did not have a problem until displaced residents take 'their' parking spaces.

      What the council must avoid is a change that results in either more cars parking on street or driving residents away and killing a vibrant town centre community.

  12. The document we are being consulted on is the overall policy on Residents' Parking Schemes for the whole of South Kesteven. As such it should set out the framwork within which individual Residents' Schemes should be set up and operated. To my mind it should clearly state where schemes may differ from each other to suit local needs and where they must be the same. This does not come across in the draft policy document.

    The draft document also says "Each resident is entitled to a single permit for a maximum of two specified vehicle(sic)." but then says "Only one resident per household may hold a permit for any two vehicles.". Is this an error? Surely a couple (i.e. two residents) constituting one household, each owning a car should each have a permit with both cars listed as they are likely to need to drive each other's car on occasion. If "Only one resident per household may hold a permit for any two vehicles" then that means that although two vehicles are listed only one of them can be parked in a residents' bay at any one time as there will only be one permit to display.

    Also, I don't see why permits have to be issued annually. This looks like bureaucrats creating more bureaucracy for the sake of it. Rutland issues its residents' permits for as long as you own the vehicle listed on them. Every time you need a new permit for a new vehicle, you pay a new fee - simple and cost-effective!

  13. Driving along West Street this morning past the backs of the houses which front onto Rutland Terrace, I noticed that a lot of them have off-street parking at the back...
    ...then the penny dropped - Under SKDC's proposals, Rutland Terrace could become 'Residents-Only' bays, but a lot of the people who live there would not be able to use them as they have access to off-street parking at the back!

    1. .. And situations like this could tip us over the arbitrary 50% threshold and mean that there will be no resident parking at all in that zone. The current proposal is that a resident parking scheme will only be considered for a zone if less than 50% of residents have off street parking of their own within 50m of their home. If 51% have off street parking available then it is just tough for the remaining 49% of residents - there will be nowhere to park near their homes if the proposal goes ahead in its current form.

    2. ...that's why the formal final consultation of all of the residents within a zone on proposed schemes should be on a choice of possible schemes and not a simple yes or no on a single scheme proposal. SKDC's policy needs to allow for this.

  14. As drafted, doesn't the policy on Visitors Permits means residents will be able get a Visitors permit and then sell it on at a profit to any non-resident who wants it?

    1. There is a clause that allows SKDC to revoke permits where they are being abused, and selling it on is probably a clear case of abuse. Itis not clear whether using the visitor pass in a 2nd car you own would be permitted or not.

  15. All things considered, it looks very much to me like amateur hour at SKDC.

    It's hard to see the SKDC proposal as anything but a triumph of petty beauracracy over common sense and competency, that:
    (a) attempts to impose a solution no-one wants on a problem we don't really have, and in doing so
    (b) ignores the simple, effective practical option in favour of a complicated, expensive and (in my opininon) largely unworkable one

    it also seems to demonstrate that SKDC are out of touch, out of their depth and clearly not listening to (or interested in) the people who are going to have to live with the results of this half-baked scheme.

    If their intent is to benefit the needs of the community that (in theory at least) they're here to serve it's hard, to see how this proposal does that.

    On the other hand, if the intent is solely to generate as much revenue through permit charges and parking fines, I take it all back. It'll work just fine


  16. At the risk of what has already been said, it is clear that 'Resident Only' parking bays are not the best option for Stamford. Surely SKDC can see that such bays will complicate parking for residents and visitors, be complicated to administer (and therefore expensive) and effectively reduce parking availability for shoppers (when residents only bays might have spaces because residents will be away during the day). The most sensible solution must be to provide residents with permits to park in restricted areas. This solution has worked well in some areas of Stamford already. Come on SKDC - look beyond the standard package!


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