On Tuesday 16/04/2019 the Overview & Scrutiny Committee met at the Civic Centre. On the agenda was the Call-in Report – Reconsideration of Decision 18/076. Officer Fred Miller – Transportation Manager at Folkestone & Hythe District Council made it clear that informal consultations take place regarding Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ’s).
Local authorities, including Folkestone & Hythe District Council are required under the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 to consult with the police, fire brigade, road-haulage industry and other interested parties if they are planning a CPZ. No evidence of any consultation with these bodies was presented to the Committee as supporting evidence.
They are also encouraged by the Dept Transport to consult local residents, but they could fulfil this statutory duty with a notice in the local paper. Most authorities do more than this, and are very likely to put notices up on the roads affected as well.
Tempers can run high in consultations on CPZs. Vince Christie of the Local Government Association says: ‘One of the problems is that there are large numbers of people who think they should get priority over others – taxis, buses, disabled drivers, residents, people using delivery bays and, in holiday areas, caravans. These pressures are always there and they are not getting any easier.’
Now at the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on the 16/04/19, Cllr Ann Berry, the then Cabinet member for Parking, and Fred Miller F&HDC’s Transport/Parking Manager, set out the procedure to introduce a CPZ, in Folkestone East ward and Harbour ward.
Now to make an application for a CPZ a member of the public in any given road needs to write in to the Council. It is recommended they get a petition of local people as well who want a CPZ across their area, as CPZ’s are not usually introduced for one road. Now all this can be done informally as is made clear in the chart below
The chart makes it clear not all letters were received with a petition. Also only a small percentage of the population who were consulted informally within the Controlled Parking Zone, wanted the CPZ in Folkestone East and Harbour ward. Is this the tyranny of the minority to justify a formal consultation to introduce the payment of £30 a year parking permit to fill the coffers of our Council and lighten the load on one’s purse and wallet, by the same sum?
It is clear the informal consultation needs to be formalised. A policy and a procedure is needed. To allow one person and ten petitioners for example, the power to introduce two CPZ’s in two of the poorest wards in Folkestone, cannot be called democratic. Nor is it proportionate or justifiable. And as for being a transparent and open process, well that’s laughable.
We hope with the new make up of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee this can be revisited, and a recommendation to the Cabinet can be made to make the procedure to introduce a CPZ, more open, more transparent and formalised, with a policy and a written procedure.
The Shepwayvox Team
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