Open Letter to Whitby Motorists
Here are my (I hope) final comments and questions for the Highways Department of NYCC; please use them as you wish, any suggestions for additions or improvements would be welcome. I aim to hand West his copy on Tuesday 2nd September 2013 at the not to be missed Town Council meeting where West is making a guest appearance – after the meeting, he is to be paraded round the town in the refuse wagon, and then pilloried in the Market Place.
Comments from Richard Ineson, 131, Church Street, Whitby, YO22 4DE relating to the parking proposals for Whitby and Sandsend.
I have filled in a questionnaire on-line, but I have also attached a copy to this document. I shall be sending another copy by recorded delivery Royal Mail, together with a copy of this document, and I will -also be delivering a copy of the completed questionnaire and this document, by hand, to the Area 3 office.
The reasons for this are:-
I do not want a repeat of the incident I experienced with the questionnaire relating to the control of commercial traffic on upper Church Street, where, despite actually placing the completed questionnaire into the hands of Nick West, at the public consultation, NYCC later claimed that ‘no reportable objections had been received’.
1. Can you tell me how the introduction of controlled parking zones will give ‘priority for residents’ ? As anyone can park in any zone providing that they have either a resident’s parking permit for that zone, a scratch card, a trade person’s permit, a business permit, or a parking disc on display, I am at a loss to see how this gives any kind of ‘priority for residents’.
Can you please explain the reasoning which gave rise to this statement?
It was stated in the 2010 consultation documents, that the P&R scheme is supposed to give priority to residents, as regards parking their vehicles. In fact, the proposals actually reduce the number of parking spaces available to residents. For instance, at present I have access to 2,200 spaces, if the scheme goes ahead, I will have access to only 63 spaces and any which may be available in Zone A which is the zone farthest away from Zone J.
Why have residents in Zone J been given access to car parking spaces in Zone A when there are Zones, for example B, D, G, H, with plenty of parking spaces which are much nearer to Zone J, and would therefore be far more convenient for their use?
2. Can you confirm that all comments/objections received at any official NYCC address, in any form of communication i.e. letter, email. Fax, text message, etc. in relation to any proposals in connection with the park and ride scheme, will be considered, i.e. any comments/objections do not have to be written in the space provided on the official consultation form, as was the case in the 2010 consultation?
3. Why are all of the residents of Whitby required to pay to provide a park and ride scheme and car parking, which will only be of benefit to the commercial sector?
4. Why were the members of the Whitby and District Tourism Association allocated 700 parking spaces when the whole of the east side of Whitby were only allocated 63 spaces, and belatedly, access to Zone A, a zone which is not adjacent to Zone J, as was promised and which is hardly convenient for the east side of Whitby, especially for the elderly and infirm?
5. Why was there no dedicated/effective resident representation on the EAST SIDE STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUP, whilst there was on the other two SSGs?
6. The SSGs were dominated by representatives of the tourist associations and the commercial sector. Why did Council officers not supervise the selection of the members of these SSGs and then advise the members, of the right and morally correct course of action, when any proposals were put forward which could be seen to favour one section of the community above another?
7. As regards the original stated aim of the park and ride scheme i.e. to give priority to residents as regards parking spaces, suddenly, when funding was obtained from the government under the Local Sustainable Transport Fund grant, the main aim was changed, without any consultation, to providing car parking for ‘day trippers’ and then, in the latest consultation document, it is stated that the aim of the proposed park and ride scheme is to ease traffic congestion in the town centre and also to ‘preserve Whitby’s rich heritage’.
Can you tell me if the aim of the parking scheme is still, to give ‘priority to residents’ and can you also tell me how the park and ride will help to ‘preserve Whitby’s rich heritage’ please?
8. Has the proposal to give Zone J residents, access to Zone A parking spaces taken into account the demography of the east side, bearing in mind that Zone A is not in any way adjacent to Zone J.
We were told that additional parking would be made available ‘in an adjacent zone’ I took this to mean Zone B, D, E, G, H, but not Zone A, the zone furthest from Zone J.
When I enquired, at the consultation, where these adjacent zones were situated, I was told, that the residents of the east side, would also be able to use Zone A. this is situated near the cricket ground and centres around Upgang Lane.
In my dictionary, ‘Adjacent’ means, lying near, contiguous. ‘Contiguous’ means, touching, adjoining, neighbouring. ‘Neighbouring’ means, person or thing next to one another.
Who decided (NYCC officer/officers, Committee, full Council, individual Councillor, Councillors, Stakeholder Steering Group etc.) to combine (allow access to) Zone A with Zone J ?
9. What account was taken, in allocating parking spaces in Zone A, for the use of residents in Zone J, of the demography of the East side of Whitby?
What consultations have you undertaken, and what documents have you examined, to determine the demography of the east side of Whitby – one of the most deprived areas of Whitby and indeed, the UK, in relation to allocating convenient and adequate parking spaces for this area taking into account, age, infirmity, disability, etc?
I am thinking here specifically, about the recent ‘East Side Action Plan’, but no doubt you will have consulted other documents/persons/organisations – Whitby DAG for instance, to ensure that considerations, as regards the requirements of the elderly and infirm ( I have a pace maker, my third, and have had a triple bypass, in recent years and am on an intensive medication regime) have been fully considered, in allocating parking spaces within a reasonable distance of the east side of Whitby?
I see that Zone A, where residents of Zone J may be allowed to try to find a parking space, seems to be centred on the area surrounding Upgang Lane/Mulgrave Road etc. near to the sports grounds, does this seem reasonable, given the demography of the east side?
Having attended the meetings of the East Side Action Group and received updates on their findings over a period of months, I know that this information is readily available.
I do hope that NYCC officers have taken the trouble to examine the findings of this group as it has cost the Council Tax payer, many thousands of pounds for experts to gather and analyse this information, presumably for the use of planners and Council officers, in situations such as this, it would be a great pity to find that the officers of the Highways Department, failed to use this valuable information during the decision making process.
10. Upper Church Street is a special case, in that unlike all the other ZONES, there is no on- street parking in this area at all; in recognition of this fact, the residents of upper Church Street should be given access to parking spaces in all of the Zones, if the present parking scheme proposals are approved without amendment.
11. There is no need for Whitby to be divided into zones at all , Nick West himself, said so on the front page of the Whitby Gazette of 18th June, 2010, “The park and ride doesn’t hinge on having all these zones” which seems quite clear to me, even he admits that all of these zones are unnecessary.
There is no problem with finding a parking space at present, except at exceptionally busy times, such as when the Regatta and Whitby Folk Week clash.
The whole of the 2,200 parking spaces should be available to all residents.
To ensure that visitors use the park and ride facility, they should not be allowed to use the on street parking spaces, this is a simple solution and cheap to organise – parking bays marked out in white paint, a few signs saying RESIDENTS PARKING ONLY, and a few TRAFFIC BEADLES enforcing the rules.
Allowing free disc parking for visitors will ensure that all of the on street parking spaces are occupied throughout the day by short stay visitors, and that consequently, residents will have no access to parking spaces and the park and ride will not be used by the majority of visitors.
12. The sole reason that the town is to be divided up into zones, can only be to exclude residents from parking in certain zones, this is to ensure that the members of the tourist associations, the hoteliers and the B&B proprietors, get the 700 parking spaces they asked for, right outside their premises, predominantly in Zones B and D.
Once residents are prevented from parking in the West Cliff zones, the spaces they occupy at present, will be available for the use of the customers of the members of the tourist associations, who dominated the STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUPS, which is also why they are not complaining about the P&R car park closing at 7.00pm.
If this goes ahead, we will see empty parking spaces in many zones, awaiting the arrival of customers for the hotels and boarding houses, particularly in Zones B and D where parking spaces are plentiful, whilst in Zones such as J, parking spaces will be oversubscribed, i.e. full, and east side residents will then have to park their cars in Hawsker, or Lythe, or even further afield.
Why is there a need for Whitby to be divided into eleven parking zones?
13. The parking spaces have not been allocated fairly, the commercial sector was over represented on the three SSGs, the residents of the east side, did not have any dedicated, meaningful/effective representation, on the east side/Church Street SSG.
Can you explain this please?
14. Residents are going to have to pay for a parking permit for a parking space (currently free of charge) which, for the majority of residents, is unlikely to be available.
The fees from the permits/on street parking charges, are to be used to pay for the park and ride, in other words, residents are going to have to finance a parking scheme which is detrimental to their interests i.e. does not provide them with a parking space whilst increasing the pedestrian congestion of the streets.
The courts are expected to rule presently on the issue of Councils making a charge for a service, (this is known as ‘billing for unprovided services’ ) that may not have been provided or available for provision. One barrister likened it to charging for the provision of water, whilst users are left to pot-luck, to stumble upon a working tap.
15. Have NYCC considered this recent High Court decision?
22nd July 2013
Mrs Justice Lang declared at London’s High Court that the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act ‘is not a fiscal measure and does not authorise the authority to use its powers to charge local residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue for other transport purposes’.
Had Barnet fought off today’s challenge, local councils all over the country would have found themselves with sweeping powers to use parking as a revenue-raising service.
The ruling was a victory for the Barnet CPZ Action group, made up of parents and residents from the borough, and David Attfield, who brought the lead case.
Mr Attfield, who lives in a borough CPZ at East Finchley, won the quashing of the council’s decision in February 2011 to dramatically increase the charges with effect from April 2011.
The judge rejected arguments put forward by council lawyers that it had powers under section 45 of the 1984 Act to raise a surplus from parking charges for transport functions.
There were no parking charges in Mr Attfield’s quiet residential road until the CPZ was first introduced in 2001 to prevent tube commuters parking in local streets.
The cost of a permit for a first car was initially £20 and visitor vouchers cost 35p each. The charges were increased in 2006. But it was in 2011 that they leapt for a first car from £40 to £100 and visitors’ vouchers from £1 to £4 – among the highest CPZ charges in London.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said of today’s ruling quashing the increases: ‘This is fantastic news for drivers.
‘This decision should never have been in any doubt. The law is explicit – parking charges are about managing congestion, not raising revenue.
16. The P&R will make little, if any difference to traffic congestion in Whitby, the car park only has parking for 450 cars, assuming that the 200 overspill spaces are included.
The car park, because it will close at 7.00 pm, will, if it is used at its maximum capacity, merely provide another 1000 or so customers for the fish and chip shops, boozers, bars, cafes, rock shops, restaurants etc. i.e. day trippers, who will just cause more congestion of the streets, noise, litter, unruly behaviour, and cost money (funded by the Council tax payer) to police and clear up the mess they will leave behind.?
Feedback from SBC street cleansing staff highlight the vast quantities of very objectionable waste and rubbish they have to deal with, this includes alcohol related litter, glasses, bottles and used condoms, as well as food containers associated with the fast food outlets. Urine and vomit need to be cleaned off regularly.
Has anybody considered the detrimental effects on the lives of residents, all of these extra day trippers, will cause?
17. The whole P&R scheme has been ill thought out, the opportunity to improve the lives of Whitby residents, has been subverted by the iniquitous STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUP system the members of which, together with the SECRET WHITBY TRAFFIC PARTNERSHIP, decided, upon the boundaries and hence the numbers of parking spaces, in each parking Zone, the membership of these SSGs was dominated by the commercial sector, in particular, the tourist associations.
18. Mr.West is quoted in the Whitby Gazette, August 16th 2013 as saying,
“We are not trying to implement anything that we haven’t got support for.”
But that is exactly what NYCC are trying to do, the parking scheme proposed for the east side is exactly the same as the one which was rejected by the residents in the 2006 so called ‘public consultation’ so why has it been resurrected in connection with the P&R scheme?
19. The P&R scheme was supposed to give priority to residents as regards parking spaces, instead, the scheme will provide more customers for the commercial sector and provide less parking spaces to most residents, and they will be charged for a service (car parking) which NYCC cannot, by their own admission, provide.
20. The County Council’s Residents’ Parking Policy which requires that, at the consultation stage, over 50% of all premises (not just 50% of those replying) should be in favour to enable the necessary Traffic Regulation Order to be proceeded with, was, not observed/just ignored/suspended.
21. Objections/comments sent by letter or email, relating to the P&R parking scheme, in 2010, which were sent to the Whitby area office, by letter, email, or other means of communication, were, for some inexplicable reason, excluded from the consultation document prepared for members (Councillors).
This means that only the views of those members of the public, responding to the consultation document on the official form – the space allowed for comment on this form incidentally, measures 2.5cms x 15.5cms, were taken into account.
22. At a meeting of NYCC in December 2011, Andrew Bainbridge from the NYCC Local Transport Team, revealed that the results of a consultation about fees and charges, carried out in 2010, had never been reported back to Councillors. Can you provide me with these consultation results please?
Mr. West says, ”We are not trying to implement anything that we haven’t got support for.” Oh yes he is. The parking scheme which was rejected by the residents of the east side, in 2006, is exactly the same as the one now proposed in connection with the park and ride scheme, we didn’t like it then, and we don’t like it now. 63 spaces allocated to the east side out of a total of 2,200 and here is the proof.
NYCC 2006 Consultation Leaflet
This is the front page of the January 2006 Church Street parking consultation document, which allocated 63 spaces, out of a total of 2200 to the entire east side of Whitby. You will see that the photograph depicts lower Church Street, but is captioned, ‘Parking on The Ropery’. This consultation was undertaken by a company called Mouchel Parkman, and it cost us, £16,474.69. The residents of the east side were supposed to welcome this scheme, which would have limited the inhabitants of over 400 buildings to parking in the 63 spaces outside The Fleece on Church Street. The scheme was quite rightly, rejected by the residents, only for it to be resurrected in connection with the park and ride, – exactly the same scheme, which had been rejected by them in 2006. This is the window dressing ‘public consultation’ process for which NYCC are famous, consult the public, and then completely ignore their wishes. When I queried this, I was told that the reintroduction of the rejected/unsupported scheme was ‘in a different context’ whatever that might mean. Apart from anything else, it was a complete waste of nearly £17,000, a mere trifle when compared to the £250,000 spent on cutting the Irton Tree down, or the £3.8 miillion shortfall on the sale of the highways depots, or the £75,000 spent on resurfacing ‘the road to nowhere’ etc. etc.
Trebles all round.