I wrote this on the major CPZ thread on this site, click here
, but I thought I'd post it as a blog too, so it's easier to find for others as the other thread is long and moves quite quickly with new comments. It's important residents know the facts and can find them quickly. So here goes...
Balgowan School - CPZ Meeting Public Meeting Zones 2 & 3
This probably is the only place you'll find or know about what went on at the meeting, and even the whole CPZ issue. What is very sad, amazing and more disturbing is that matters that affect over 1000 households within the proposed scheme and many more just outside, not just now but for years to come, a very much residential neighbourly community are not made either public on council websites, reported much in the local press or anywhere else.
A lot of pertinent questions were asked of the Traffic Manager Paul Nedvard and Councillor Colin Smith, in charge of the proposed CPZ questions last night and whilst many were batted away or not answered fully, the real increduality of it all was that in many cases they didn't know the answers to important questions I'll go through below.
I think residents should be wary of council circulars in the future and ask for better worded and fully transparent fact filled leaflets or whatever before any bylaw or whatever is created. Last night showed either the council have a mandate to put in a CPZ whatever way they can by stealth and untold facts or they are complete amateurs and not worthy to do the job they have been selected to do. I think they should treat us with more respect and common sense.
Meeting started 7.30ish - Chair: Head of West Beckenham Residents Association, also, Paul Nedvard Council Traffic Management, Cllr Colin Smith - Conservative (Hayes cllr in charge of putting this through), Cllr Reg Adams - Lib Dem (Clock House ward Cllr), Sarah Phillips - Conservative (Clock House ward Cllr).
Attendance: over 180 people from both in and outside CPZ zone 2 & 3.
Reg Adams went through the history of the CPZ within the area, the votes, etc. Paul Nedvard then showed everyone the new map they are going ahead with which on recollection as no copies were distributed showed that the parking zones would be continuous bays even across cross-over/driveway entrances. This would mean car owners could park over their crossover as had been requested, but if a car without a permit was seen by a traffic warden between 10-12noon then it would be ticketed. The first question that arose from this was if the continuous parking zone replaces the currently open crossovers (where by law no car can park and limit the ingress and egress for a resident) would that take precedent over the traffic law about limiting ingress/egress. Could anyone with a permit during that time, or anyone else after the limited CPZ time be able to park in front of someones driveway 'legaly'? Which law would take priority?
We should remember that the council and its traffic managers should by right be conversant with previous schemes, both local and national, be able to access the required data and knowledge and before committing to a scheme know 'all' the answers. This is a scheme of course that is wide ranging, costly, another form of tax and even curbs human rights of everyone especially those who are old, infirm, disabled, work locally or from home.
They didn't know the answer.
The Pay & Display meters, not mentioned in the initial consultation paper, and added in the second were shown to have stayed the same in number, but they will be dual use, so if a resident has a permit they can park in them anytime. From what Paul Nedvard reported the non-residents could turn up at any time pay the £2 charge and leave their car all day every day as long as they displayed a daily ticket. The council were asked whether the residents' permit fees only were covering the scheme Cllr Smith said yes. (It has allegedly been rumoured that the Beacon put up £30k and a developer of new flats on the other side of Clock House Station has put up £10k, whilst accepting that any owners of the new flats will not be in the CPZ, this was not disclosed in Cllr Smith's answer). He was then asked what happens to the money, more importantly the profit of the Pay & Display and Fines money if the scheme is to be non-profit making. Would the money return to aid the residents it affects. He answered it goes in to the council traffic management pot and is used for all borough citizens. So it's a revenue generating source then! (Isn't that what council tax is supposed to fund amongst other things?)
There was a large outcry from residents who lived outside the initial consulted area, angry that they were given no notice of the proposal of the CPZ scheme. And they have a right to be angry, why no public notices, nothing on the council website? The CPZ will cause displacement and they will be affected. No dialogue had been entered into with them, even out of common courtesy. The actual school we all sat in was not contacted, fears over where teachers will now be able to park in time to teach, more cars on those surrounding streets at school morning times and the issue of health and safety for local children and more streets becoming rat runs as commuters cruise around to find more limited spaces had not been thought of or more importantly cared about by those dead set on implementing a scheme.
When asked what percentage of displacement occurs when such schemes have been put into place in the past Paul Nedvard replied it was impossible to call and give a figure. The devil is in the detail. Notice how he didn't answer the question. There must be traffic surveys that give this detail and be known to them. Reading up on so many other CPZ schemes all over the country it would seem they all fail to mention this in their initial circulars and of course the movement of cars to unaffected roads gives them an opportunity to implement a CPZ to the surrounding areas. Call it what you will but stealth tax is what it is.
Again lack of foresight, knowledge and incompitance was shown by the council when asked by a supporter of the scheme does his company car, not registered at his address like so many others in similar positions, qualify for a permit. The rules are that to obtain a permit your car must be registered to someone at your address. So what was the answer? They didn't know!
They said that the scheme would be marked out and start in September. Although there are processes with which it can be stopped Cllr Smith said he was going to sign it off. They are implementing a scheme they don't know the detail, legality, and social effects of. Don't you think they should? Shouldn't we?
One lady who needs visitors everyday, without offstreet parking and no car, was told that she should use the limited 30 tickets day-permits available - a cost of £60 which would last her around 2 and half months. After that the visiting help would need to find a Pay & Display (if available, as commuters could park in them from 7.30am and stay all day) and then that would be another £2 a day, works out at around £400 a year more there too. In essence the council told her to get a car, even though she doesn't drive', it would be better!
In fact limiting residents to only a handful of permit day-tickets effectively is an abuse of their human rights. They should be able to obtain more. The council says they limit the number in case anyone abuses it, but that's tantamount to saying everyone is a criminal at worst and untrustworthy. Thank you councillors! Those who work shift, care for the elderly or infirm, run small businesses, child minding facilities are honest upright citizens and are an important make up of our neighbourhoods. They are penalised why? If residents are forced to pay for day-permits for visitors etc by the council, then they should have the legal right to unlimited tickets. Anything else is an abuse of civil liberties
The majority of attendees were not for the scheme, but their were a large number who had expressed a preference for a CPZ. I was going to say voted for, but what most people were unhappy about was the fact that the consultation was never worded or it implied that they were voting or whether it was a street by street or area wide vote. In fact although there were many more questions and the meeting went on for 2 and half hours, the most telling moment happened at the end when asked if the council were satisfied that they had 'legaly' complied within the rules of engagement in such matters of procuring a vote to implement a scheme they replied yes and that they could not see a judicial review making any difference. A gentleman appeared from the back, withdrew some papers and asked Cllr Colin Smith if that was so true then the rules he had with him (and I wish I had a copy of them here) stated along the lines that any such scheme or vote must be made publicly available, set out clearly its points, what action would be taken after a 'vote' was carried out and new introductions and ammendments (like the ommission of pay & display) cannot be submitted after the event. At that point Cllr Smith, talked over him to try and stop him, he said he would and could not answer, it was a legal matter and at that point the Chair, the lady from West Beckenham Residents Association abruptly closed the meeting. Only 30 of those remaining saw this. The confidence of the council looked a little watery eyed and I fear legal action might well be a route some residents will take at which point I'm sure the council will call into question how they conduct themselves when dealing with their constituents.
It is the residents who should draw up plans, exchange ideas, work out between neighbours the best cause of action, set the rules. They are the ones who are mindful of any actions they may take will cover a far wider area. They have to live there, work there, enjoy the community Beckenham seems to afford its residents.
The night was'nt as boisterous as past public meetings and I thank Balgowan School and all those who set it up. What worries me though is that a council can use such tactics or incompetance to make laws. But then it's all just politics isn't it. As usual you and I are played like pawns. We'll at least here you get a chance to know what went on and discuss, you can't get it anywhere else.
Do me a favour invite a neighbour to use the site, and know what's going on and affecting them now and in the future.