You, the Waverley Local Area Committee, and Surrey County Council have utterly failed in your duty to consider the impact

From: Jeremy Leake <removed>
To: All members of Surrey County Council’s Local Area Committee (Waverley)
Subject: Your parking scheme in Haslemere: The Impact
Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2013 08:31:29 +0000

Dear Waverley Local Committee Members

You will recall that I asked you at the start of your January WLC meeting how you were going to decide whether or not to pass the proposed Phase 1 parking package without considering its aggregate impact on other residents.  Undeterred, the Chairman, Mrs Frost asked to you vote road-by-road.  Initially, some of you asked what the estimated car displacement would be for the road being considered.  The answers came from SCC Officers: 10 for Bunch Lane, 2 for St Christophers Green, 10 for Kings Road.  Then you stopped asking about car displacement but continued passing the proposals through.

I had put a written question to that same meeting in January asking what the aggregate estimated car displacement of Phase 1 would be but received no response.  I followed up after the meeting with an FOI request, which I’ve now had an answer to.  The answer referred to a document setting out estimated car displacement that had been sent to me in November, relating to the proposals that had gone to statutory consultation rather than the version of the scheme that came to you.  But I was not given a total displacement estimate.  So I asked again, as it’s a simple question.  I was told that the total had not been calculated.  So, simply adding the effects of yellow lining in Bunch Lane and the total displacement in the document I was sent previously, I get to a total of 45 cars.  An independent estimate of car displacement for the proposals that went to statutory consultation by Councillor Mulliner was 65 cars (and I think he has since revised that up to 69 cars).  By comparison, the entire Tanners Lane car park has capacity for 50 cars.  So as you can easily see, the displacement impact of Phase 1 is very large.

What this highlights is that SCC and you, as a Committee, have singularly failed to do any cost/benefit analysis of the Phase 1 parking scheme, despite the concerns repeatedly raised by residents.  Councillor Renshaw had made a statement to June WLC that it was “widely accepted” that his Phase 1 parking proposals would cause little car displacement, so you should proceed with it.  And so you did.  Following that, SCC was inundated with complaints from residents that there would be significant car displacement from Phase 1.  SCC ignored them and put the proposals to the September WLC committee.  Residents in my road were told last July by the deputy chair of WLC and the SCC Cabinet Member for transport that Phase 1 was a done deal.  You, despite also being told about car displacement concerns, took around 3 minutes in September to pass the proposals to statutory consultation.  The SCC Officer who authored the proposal in September was not even present to answer any questions you may have had, and you asked none.  The subsequent statutory consultation revealed 507 objections about specific roads, most citing displacement as a key concern.  An additional 137 people objected on displacement grounds alone.  That gave you unambiguous evidence that Councilor Renshaw’s statement to you in June was completely false.

If our MP, Mr Hunt, had made the statement that Councillor Renshaw made in the House of Commons , he would have been forced to offer a public apology to the House for misleading them.  Councillor Renshaw should now make a public apology to you and to the public for his statement in June.  His statement determined the subsequent course of events.  What about SCC’s “consultation” in the summer of 2012, which was sent only to roads who would benefit from Phase 1?  It is the equivalent of the government considering a third runway at Heathrow and only consulting people waiting for a delayed plane in the departure area, and ignoring all those who will suffer noise and congestion from increased airplane traffic.

To be clear, this is no fault at all of those residents who have been offered ROPs.  They were perfectly entitled to petition and they have waited too long for SCC to come up with any kind of solution.  But their neighbours in adjacent roads suffer exactly the same difficulty in finding on-road parking in Haslemere.  For example, a neighbour of ours who is a nurse and works shifts, has to drive around Haslemere for around 15 minutes before she can find a parking space.  When her elderly mother visits, she visits by train because she cannot find a place to park.  When our neighbour visits her mother she often stays overnight because if she returns home in the afternoon, she can’t find a parking space.  You have just made her life even more difficult.  There are many other similar stories.

Why didn’t you consider any alternatives?  I asked SCC why they had not considered, and consulted on, a curfew parking scheme in a zone around the town centre, whereby for 1 hour a day, only residents would be allowed to park.  That would mean visiting commuters would have to park outside the town centre.  It would not be as beneficial to residents who would have received an ROP in Phase 1, but it would have been a benefit to all residents, and would not have made some residents better off at the expense of others.  It would have also hugely reduced the inefficiency that comes with the “dead space” problem of ROPs whereby residents have driven to work and their parking space cannot be used by anyone else.  SCC first told me that such a scheme was not practical because it would mean that shoppers would not be able to park for that 1 hour.  But I pointed out that SCC’s ROPs would rule out shoppers parking at any time.  So SCC changed its argument and said that shoppers parking would mean that residents could not park.  But the whole debate about parking in Haslemere has come about because of the inefficiency of all-day parking commuters taking up on-road parking, not about shoppers.  And I pointed out that in the SCC Leader’s council district, Tanbridge, they have a curfew parking scheme around the shopping centre.  SCC responded by telling me that this was different because the scheme in Tandbridge was “350 metres” from the shopping centre and so shoppers would not want to park there.  Can you believe that?

Parking problems in Haslemere will not go away for residents in my road and adjacent roads.  Residents will have to live day in and day out with the consequences of your decision to make their problem much worse.  So this issue will not go away for you.  You and SCC have utterly failed in your duty to properly consider the impact of “Phase 1”, despite residents repeatedly trying to engage on every front they could think of.  So the only thing left for them is to decide how to vote in the elections in May.  I don’t think they’ll be thinking of the consequences for you, just as you didn’t think about the consequences of your decisions for them.

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Leake

15 Lower Street
Haslemere
GU27 2NY

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From: Victoria Leake [mailto:] Sent: 16 February 2013 8:46 AM
To: editor@haslemereparking.com
Subject: Haslemere Parking Scheme: The Impact

Please publish, or make it a feature story.

Best wishes,

Jeremy & Victoria Leake