Residents’ views of @SurreyCouncil’s parking proposals.

This single issue local website about parking in Haslemere is run by three volunteers. One volunteer is our IT guru who this week is hiding away completing a research paper for his Masters study. I don’t like to disturb him and share that some comments are not showing in the comments box on the front page. There will be a box that needs ticking somewhere. If you comment on an item that you have clicked through from a blog post, the comment does not show on the front page in the comments box on the left hand side.

I am therefore re-posting the summary of comments here in case readers may have missed some of them.

REVIEW OF ON-STREET PARKING IN HASLEMERE: PHASE 1 — RESPONSE TO PETITIONS 21 SEPTEMBER 2012

13/09/2012

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REVIEW OF ON-STREET PARKING IN HASLEMERE: PHASE 1 — RESPONSE TO PETITIONS 21 SEPTEMBER 2012

10 Responses to REVIEW OF ON-STREET PARKING IN HASLEMERE: PHASE 1 — RESPONSE TO PETITIONS 21 SEPTEMBER 2012

  1. Richard on 13/09/2012 at 15:24 (Edit)

    I am appalled that with such a low response from the SCC survey and low support for ROPs, SCC are still considering introducing the original scheme with a few minor tweaks.
    Still they are proposing to implement individual roads without taking into consideration the views of the adjoining roads and the rest of the town that will be affected.
    It is such a shame that SCC is too wrapped up in details of individual roads and residents to gain a view of the whole town, “not being able to see the woods for the trees” comes to mind.
    I can’t believe that SCC think the may get another answer other than “Yes” if you ask a resident “would you like a guaranteed parking space outside your house for £50 per year.”
    If SCC asked a real question like “would you like a guaranteed parking space outside your house but, the towns viability will be at stake, you will no longer be able to use the existing on-street parking to nip to the shops, the vet or the doctors, your neighbours in adjoining roads can no longer park in the area which may cause the area house prices to fall and it become a less desirable place for you to live and one final thing, next year it may cost you £150 for your permit?” you may get a very different answer.

    Bridge Road is saying “NO” to the question “do we want ROPs in Bridge Road” but not only do Bridge Road residents not want ROPs in Bridge Road they don’t want them in Popes Mead, Chestnut Avenue and Tanners Lane either.

    Why-oh-why don’t SCC listen to the people?

  2. Paul M on 13/09/2012 at 19:37 (Edit)

    Richard (who I assume lives in Bridge St) asserts that the response rate to the residents’ consultation is low –understandable as Surrey CC itself apparently rates the average response of around 31.5% as “lower than expected”. This average does of course disguise some lower response rates but there are many which are around the mid 30s, and by the standards of local government elections and consultations that is actually pretty normal. It is a pity that response rates were not higher, but in the scheme of democracy we live in, where you have a vote but don’t use it, your non-vote, or your hypothetical uncast vote one way or another, do not – and should not – count. Local government’s failure to engage the public is an issue, but it is a different issue.

    Richard asks why SCC don’t “listen to the people” but is quite evident from this process that they have – those that have responded at any rate. Perhaps what he means is “why don’t they listen to ME” or “why don’t they listen to the people who don’t want residents’ parking [but either haven’t commented or fall outside the survey area]”.

    So Bridge Road residents don’t want ROPs in Bridge Road. Fine – that is there choice and apparently the vote against was as conclusive as was the vote in favour in other streets. Not wanting ROPs in Pope’s Mead , Chestnut Road or Tanner’s Lane either is not really for them to decide – that is for the residents in those roads to decide and the survey responses indicate that those residents, within the limitations of the turnout, are conclusively in favour of ROPs for their roads – 75%, 100% and 75% respectively. SCC HAS listened to “the people” as far as those toads are concerned, and the people have made their views abundantly clear. Also abundantly clear is the view of residents across the entire spectrum of the survey that they preferred, street by street, that any ROP scheme should be on a street-by-street basis. Indeed those who wanted street-by-street ROPs slightly exceeded those who wanted ROPs at all!

    Richard’s arguments about availability of on-street parking to “nip to the shops, the vet or the doctors” is total bunkum. Anyone who drives from pretty much any of the canvassed streets to these destinations, unless they have serious mobility problems (which, I will allow, some do) really does have a problem. It would take you longer to drive and park your car than it would to walk!

    As for the argument about house prices and desirability of a place to live, there is ample evidence that reducing the ability of non-residents, even relatively near neighbours, to drive through or park in a residential street actually enhances the environment for residents and has a beneficial effect on house prices. The very notion that anyone would want to pay more for a house with a parking free-for-all out front, than they would pay for a house with some security of parking for the householder, is preposterous.

    • AW1957 on 14/09/2012 at 08:46 (Edit)

      Richard, I have an awful lot of sympathy with you. I have now read the proposals in detail and I see there is no solution for Bridge Road residents. The proposals should encompass the town and not be on a street by street basis.

      A flawed questionnaire can only produce flawed results.

      There are people who have no parking in Haslemere and their needs have not been considered. That affects the price of their properties.

      However, I note that all Beech Road respondees to the questionnaire have off street parking and yet the whole road is proposed to be residents’ parking only. 83% of the respondees have 2 or more off street parking spaces. Why is Beech Road even being included in the proposals at this stage? I do know that Councillor Robert Knowles who sits on the Waverley Local Committee lives in Beech Road. I also know that Councillor Robert Knowles was Councillor Steve Renshaw’s proposer when he stood for Surrey County Councillor.

      I also see that in Courts Hill Road East…all respondents of the questionnaire have off street parking. 87.5% have 2 or more spaces. SO, why are ROPS being proposed here? There are other ways to stop all day parking of commuters.

      These proposals do nothing to address the real issue of providing commuter parking. Ignoring this issue does not make it go away. All SCC will achieve is moving a problem around whilst making it even harder for residents, for example, in Bridge Road, Lower Street, Shepherds Hill to park anywhere near their houses.

      On parking and property prices…Paul M, where is the evidence that for a comparable town the reducing the ability of non-residents, even relatively near neighbours, to drive through or park in a residential street actually enhances the environment for residents and has a beneficial effect on house prices? I would be fascinated to read that report. But it is not Richard’s point. Residents in his road have nowhere to park! If you buy a house with no parking – which is what Bridge Road residents are now faced with – then that is reflected in the price of your property. No-one’s trying to pay for a parking free-for-all….many are just trying trying to find somewhere to park. If these proposals are approved, SCC have now made it even more difficult for many residents to park.

      • Richard on 14/09/2012 at 11:40 (Edit)

        If the residents in Beech Road and Courts Hill Road just want to keep their driveways clear, a better solution would be to mark the road with parking bays and enforcement signs “park in marked bays only”, this system is used very successfully in other towns, including Bournemouth which had a problem with people parking over drives. Has this solution been considered by SCC and offered to the residents? Probably not.

  3. Richard on 14/09/2012 at 07:20 (Edit)

    I would like to clarify the points I made as Paul M clearly misunderstood the points I was trying to make.

    I am not asking SCC to listen to ME I am asking them to listen to the people who make this town great, not only residents but the workers, shopkeepers, shoppers, etc and not just HIM. We can not allow anything to jeopardise the vibrancy of Haslemere.

    When I say SCC should listen, I am asking them to listen to the needs of the town, not just the wants of the few whose sole objective appears to be able to park outside their own front door at any cost. If ROP is implemented in one street it affects many others, including adjoining streets, shoppers, workers, etc. Is that democratic? If you want democracy 9 out of 34 houses in Bridge Road said No to ROP whilst 6 out of 30 in Chestnut Avenue and Popes Mead said Yes. A clear majority for no.

    Points about Bridge Road where discussed at the consultation meeting. The predicament of Bridge Road if ROP is implemented street by street was clearly highlighted to SCC representatives. SCC are unable to solve the issue of lack of parking in Bridge Road within the current plans, instead of working for a solution they have excluded it, leaving Bridge Road out on a limb. This is why Bridge Road residents do not  want ROP in the current proposals.

    Referring to residents stopping to pop into the Vet, Doctors, etc., I am of course talking about the residents of Haslemere from other parts of the town such as Derby Road, Hill Road, Courts Mount Road, etc. who regularly use the local roads for short term parking.

    If adjoining streets get exclusive parking for their roads and Bridge Road has none, of course it will affect the house prices for Bridge Road residents. It appears the attitude of some residents pushing for ROP in their roads is, if I get ROP in my road “I’m alright Jack”.

    A solution that will satisfy a majority of residents, and other users of the town, is easily achievable, but not on a street by street basis or the current SCC plans. Only by looking at the bigger picture, encompassing all who are affected will a solution be produced that will work long term.

  4. Paul M on 15/09/2012 at 12:18 (Edit)

    It is perhaps an anomaly that Beech Road and others with off-street parking should be included in this survey, but these roads do suffer quite extreme parking congestion due to outsiders – commuters presumably in Court’s Hill Road, and staff/visitors to the hospital in Beech Road. I should think all properties in Beech road have at least one off-road space but many of them have only one, and no real scope to add another even if planning law permitted them to. Beech road of course also suffers significant problems of rat-running which, in a curious way, parking congestion could solve.

    I think what Richard means about residents of Derby Road, Hill Road (sic – I wonder if those are the roads he really means, but let’s assume so for now) is not the availability of parking in the centre but its cost. While I have occasionally found no available spaces behind Waitrose, especially on a Saturday, I have yet to find Chestnut Avenue or Tanner’s Lane car parks lacking a few spaces.

    One thing Waverley really should do is improve the payment schemes for their car parks, along the lines perhaps of SWT which uses two mobile-phone payment schemes for all of its station car parks. Under those schemes you dial a number which recognises your phone through caller ID, asks you which of your cars you are parking (if you have registered more than one) and how much time you want. You can top up later if needed. The attendants have the information on their PDAs so you don’t need a sticker in the window. Waverley’s 19th century approach of correct change only please certainly needs to be updated as it is massively inconvenient and can lure motorists into unintended parking offences and so stiff fines, but apart from that, 80p an hour is hardly expensive – you should try parking in Westminster if you think that.

    Beyond that, really, why should people expect to be able to park outside your or my home, pushing us away so that we have to park at some distance away, just to save less than a quid? I am fortunate that I don’t have that problem now but I did have, for several years, in a London suburb back in the 80s and I dare say it is much worse now.

    And going back to the roads Richard mentions, any one of them is within about 10 minutes’ walk from the town centre. I can see how parking directly outside Waitrose is handy when you need to “pop in” or you don’t want to carry something heavy too far, but why Pope’s Mead? Is that closer than Chestnut Avenue Car Park?

    It is fair enough to want a holistic solution to parking in the town, and not just a collection of individual solutions for individual streets, and the views expressed by commenters here are entirely valid, but they are not shared by everyone – as I think by now you can tell. The view which prevails here seems to see these roads as engines for the conveyance and storage of cars. There is an alternative view which, by whatever name they are called, distinguishes between “streets” and “roads”. The latter are thoroughfares, a means of moving and storing motor vehicles. The former are destinations, places where people live, work, play or shop. To the extent that the street is used by vehicles, it would be the residents, their friends and family who come to visit them, and tradespeople making deliveries or working on their houses who had access. This view is incompatible with allowing all streets to be used as through routes or as car parks.

    I sense that is a minority view around here, but I am not alone.

    • Editor on 16/09/2012 at 09:16 (Edit)

      Let’s suppose that Richard does mean Hill Road residents… (although I didn’t interpret that that was what he meant).

      I’m clued up about Hill Road as I live there and I’m the Chair of our residents’ association. I am able to give some insight into how we get around which I hope you’ll find helpful.

      I know 29 people (including myself) in Hill Road/College Hill/Park Road/Half Moon Hill/Old Haslemere Road/Scotland Lane/Museum Hill who get the train to London for work. Not one drives to the station. We walk. It takes me 12 minutes going down, 14 coming back. I have heard that there is one person in Old Haslemere Road who drives and has a station car park season ticket. So, from this small sample of commuters, 96.67% walk to the station.

      Whether or not Hill Road residents nip to the shops in their cars, I don’t know. I do though regularly see residents with shopping bags walking up and down College Hill.

      I can’t speak for Derby Road. I only know one resident there. She works in London and walks to the station.

  5. Richard on 16/09/2012 at 13:50 (Edit)

    I am sorry I have still not been able to make my points clear.
    What I am trying to say is that I regularly see people from the other side of town, using Bridge Road, Popes Mead and Chestnut Avenue as short term parking to pop to the shops in the town during the day. ROP will affect them and they are also residents. You could argue, quite rightly, they should use the car park, but they don’t. Will they just go somewhere else with free parking, like Tesco’s? Nobody knows, because nobody has looked at the wider implications.
    The problems with King’s Road are very different to Popes Mead. Kings Road has commuter issues, Popes Mead has a problem with town workers also residents from other roads. The only solution on offer from SCC does not fit either properly.

    Currently SCC are giving the opportunity for residents in one road to decide the fate of other residents and users of the town. Yes ROP would be great, but only as part of an overall solution. The street by street plan that SCC has put forward only addresses the few who are lucky to live in a road that will get it.

    Unfortunately parking is a very emotive subject, but we all must not lose sight of the bigger picture. SCC view this as a money making exercise, for a very small amount of outlay they will get 50 pounds per car, with no restrictions on increasing that to whatever they think they can get away with in the future. They also know that once it is in place you have it for good, future proof revenue for them.
    A view expressed at the consultation by a SCC official, after being asked if they had done any study on the impact to the town centre, the reply and I quote “does it really matter if the traders suffer” and to the same question about the Haslemere Hall, “Well if it does affect it, just shut it down”. So if you think that SCC have your interests at heart and care about Haslemere, they don’t.

  6. grayswoodcommuter on 16/09/2012 at 21:22 (Edit)

    I am in no way surprised to hear that Beech Rd has been included. Not because it needs ‘protection’ from parking, but simply because once again Robert Knowles has used influence.
    Name one other road in the whole of Haslemere, in the last decade, that has had a complete road surface replacement (not repair – entire new road). Everything else rots apart from the Leader of the council’s road? Not exactly coincidence. My request for information under the freedom act was less than convincing.

    Commuters and shoppers and ‘outsiders’ (Ahh, outsider… what do we do? They might have three legs and one big eye..). But what about the well made arguments by St Barts school? Parking for drop off and pick up – a new experience for us this last two weeks, is difficult. We park in Beech road for 20 minutes each morning and walk to school to avoid the jam in the closer proximity. Where will all the St Barts parents go now?

  7. Victorialeake on 19/09/2012 at 06:33 (Edit)

    In response to Paul M analogy on the classification of streets and roads. I live in Lower Street, in one of the first cottages ever built in Haslemere. The cottage is four hundred years old. Horses and carts would have parked outside our cottages. The cottages on the high side just past the converted Church on the way to the station use to have a path up to their cottages so that the horse and cart could travel to the cottages but Surrey County Council took that away. In the late 1960?s the cars use to park on the green at the top of Shepherds Hill, there is room for twenty cars up there but Surrey County Council saw fit to remove that for the residents of Lower Street and Shepherds Hill and instead created a lay-by that can fit seven cars comfortably.

    We are waiting to hear back from Waverly Borough regarding converting the top of Shepherds Hill back into parking which could accommodate at least 20 cars for Shepherds Hill and Lower Street residents. Witness statement from a resident who’s mum use to be a council official.

    “The lay-by at the top of shepherds Hill was actually put there for our cottages which are just below the lay-by on the common and for shepherds Hill originally in the 1970s when the road was modernised. Before this time all the area that is grass now, was parking. “

    In addition we have just come back from surveying another sight on the same piece of land, in which a number of residents, including Sandrock residents have said would make a great area for at least ANOTHER 20 cars for the Lower Streets residents. The land is flat so it wouldn’t need much doing to it, just removing some overgrown bushes. It is a disused Sand pit. If you come out of the bottom of Courts Mount road, instead of going left down Sandrock, you go diagonal and cross the road onto a old track which use to be for horse and cart, within twenty yards of getting onto the track you will need to turn to your right and there is a big clearing, and room for 20 cars. It would be great to finally give the residents of LWR/SHEPSHILL a home, and it would mean forty less cars off Haslemere streets.

    It is beyond difficult trying to get Waverly Borough Council and Surrey County Council to coordinate on parking issues in Haslemere. Perhaps a Unitary Authority is what is needed in Haslemere. “A unitary authority is a type of local authority that has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area or performs additional functions which elsewhere in the relevant country are usually performed by national government or a higher level of sub-national government.

    Typically unitary authorities cover towns or cities which are large enough to function independently of county or other regional administration. Sometimes they consist of national sub-divisions which are distinguished from others in the same country by having no lower level of administration.”