RPZ consultation drop-in

4 Jul

Angry mob Simpsons

The atmosphere at The Gate during Thursday’s RPZ extension “drop-in session” was heated, to say the least. Some very angry people were making their feelings known in no uncertain terms. 

I got the opportunity to speak to an officer and ask the questions I wanted answered.

The consultation is happening because a small handful of residents on Windsor Road petitioned the council. They also had requests from a bit of Woodford Road and residents on Forest Side. The total number of requests was around fifteen, which seems a very small number to trigger a consultation over such a wide area. Clearly Newham were looking for an excuse.

The officer insisted that the proposals and the consultation had been designed with the input and support of local ward councillors, though when I pointed out that the election was only 6 weeks ago and the plans must have taken longer than that to draw up she did admit it was the previous set who had discussed it. The boundaries of the proposed extension were based on who asked for it and where they were located. Sebert Road was included because Councillor Robinson said she had had a lot of requests ‘on the doorstep’ and she thought it would be good to give residents the chance to vote on it.

If the scheme goes ahead residents with permits will be able to park anywhere in the Forest Gate zone, not just their own street – that includes areas in the currently existing RPZ. And I was assured that anyone who lives in the zone and has a car registered at their address will get a permit if they apply – the council can’t refuse a valid application.

The application process is online and requires residents to submit a scan of their V5C vehicle registration certificate.

On the matter of the database of vehicle ownership details – which obviously includes copies of all of those scanned documents – and who gets access to it I got no answers at all. That’s handled by “another department.” The officer suggested I submit an FOI. 

Predictably there are no guarantees that charges won’t be introduced for permits which are now free. The officer acknowledged that all our neighbouring boroughs charge for permits, even the first permit per household, but insisted “we have no plans” to start charging. Which is far from reassuring.

There is no monitoring of fraud or the misuse of visitor permits and no enforcement.

Surprisingly, no business impact assessment has been carried out on shops, cafés and market stall holders in Forest Gate.

And it’s not just business owners being ignored: if you don’t live on a street that’s part of the proposed extension you won’t be consulted. Even if parking will get worse because cars are displaced from the RPZ, tough luck.

The reason there’s no public meeting about the proposals is ‘safety’. Make of that what you will, but given the atmosphere in the room I can understand the concern. 

If the zone is extended but residents later decide they don’t like it and want it removed there’s no formal mechanism to do that. We’d have to petition the council and lobby our ward councillors. “It’s never happened in Newham,” I was told.

The consultation closes on 18 July and results will be known by mid-August. A summary of responses (how many participated, how many said yes, how many no etc) will be published. And officers will look at the responses from different areas and make decisions on a street-by-street basis. It isn’t all or nothing.

Other people were raising concerns too – very loudly. Residents on Bective Road were insisting they hadn’t ever received the consultation pack and I spoke to someone from Claremont Road who said the same thing. I’ve also heard via Twitter from people on Chestnut Avenue and Capel Road that  they didn’t get them either. 

One man complained about the introduction of pay-and-display bays outside Woodgrange Cemetery. He said asking people who were coming to bury their dead to pay for parking was “a sick joke.”

Two councillors were at The Gate, Mas Patel of Forest Gate South and Ken Clark of Little Ilford. Councillor Clark lives on Hampton Road and was attending as a resident rather than his official capacity. Both councillors agreed something had gone wrong with the distribution of papers and said they would ask questions. My view is that the integrity of the consultation has been fatally undermined by the failure to provide proper documentation to all resident in good time. If people get them now, after the one and only ‘drop-in’ session has happened, what good is that? Who can they go and ask if they have questions or concerns? The closing date is only two weeks away.

As with so much in Newham, it’s just not good enough.

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23 Responses to “RPZ consultation drop-in”

  1. Brad Emerson (@bradleyem) July 4, 2014 at 09:14 #

    If the reason for the parking controls is commuters which was one of the impressions I got, yesterday then this just won’t help.
    One just has to look at how busy it still is at 10pm to verify that (as you picked up on with an earlier blog post). The problem is simply too many households and not enough space – 44 flats in Capel Point with 6 or so parking spots. That is always going to cause issues for people who live nearby. Same for the Eagle and Child flats. God help us if/when Newham give permission for another block somewhere in the area,

    RPZs are a can of worms, once you start you can’t stop. The problem just moves to the nearest free area (and I say this as someone who used to drive to work and use on-street parking)

    • Birdman July 4, 2014 at 12:09 #

      Brad Emerson has got it right. The problem is too many people and too many cars. LBN has had a policy of encouraging people to move here without first developing the infrastructure. In addition, many people from outside the borough use Newham as a car park before getting the tube. Don’t worry, I’m sure someone will start thinking that wan stead flats has parts that would make a good car park! Jokes aside, the lack of consultation and impact assessment for this latest RPZ just shows that, as with all such decisions, it has been made and it is just a paper exercise. Sir Robin was pulling such non consultation stunts long before he became an elected Mayor and got a title. Cllr Robinson is hardly going to challenge him on behalf of residents as she is now an extremely well paid part of his gang, The local councillors should be ashamed and don’t expect too much from Clark as he has received his allowances, no doubt from protecting Wales from Labour Party members complaints when he was the regional official in charge. Newham has got what it voted for and good luck to you all.

  2. d July 4, 2014 at 18:26 #

    Small point. Visiters and workmen visiting/working at your house will need a permit that you must supply. Permit last 6 hours then you have to move the vehicle to a new spot with new permit. Only so many visiter permits issued before you have to buy them.
    You are only going through the same council process of installing a RPZ. You will need to organize a big no vote and ask to see the ballots cast to stop this but they will be back within 12 months to do it again.

    • Sarah Ruiz July 23, 2014 at 21:29 #

      Just to clarify – if you have a residents permit then ALL visitors permits have to be paid for – and you can only have 40 a month, they are 6, 10 and 24 hours

  3. Martin Jefferies July 5, 2014 at 11:49 #

    Duh ? Councillor Ken Clark present as a resident ? He is Cabinet Member responsible for all the Community , CONSULTATION stuff (good, bad , “heated” or cool)for the Mayor and he turns up as a resident ? What is that all about ? Anyway he lives in Manor Park, so the CPZ is going to cover that Ward as well…..who knows about all this, but a bit dodgy I reckon. Sounds and smells like a Dog’s Dinner after it has emerged from the other end of the dog

  4. Kevin Mansell July 7, 2014 at 09:11 #

    Thanks Martin for the detailed. feedback. If it goes ahead, goodbye to window cleaning! If the Atherton is any guide, don’t build up your hopes that it will be reported objectively. Worth setting up some sort of action committee to coordinate things- maybe Durning Hall CDT would facilitate?
    Kevin

  5. Conor McAuley July 8, 2014 at 17:08 #

    During the Olympic Games the whole of Newham was one great residents parking zone….and it worked. People stopped parking across my gate. Commuters presumably found another borough to clog up with their parking or maybe they took the bus. The guy down my road who sells cars on the street had to close down for a while. The garages who store cars on which they are working, in the street, had to find somewhere else to store their vehicles. The businessmen who park their lorries & vans in Balmoral Road had to do something else.

    I don’t know what the people who register their cars at cheaper addresses did, but I really don’t care about them.

    I totally support the RPZ….Bring it on….

    • Martin Warne July 9, 2014 at 08:21 #

      Conor, the council already has enforcement powers to stop illegal street trading. Likewise if you have a dropped pavement in front of your gate. Using those existing powers might be a more proportionate response to your problem than creating an RPZ.
      All the RPZ will do is move the problem from your street to someone else’s street. And when they get fed up and insist on an RPZ too the problem moves on.
      We’ve recently had a massive increase in parked cars on my bit of Capel Road. It’s not commuters because they’re there all the time. And if it’s not residents and we get the RPZ where do they go next, Wanstead Flats?

    • Ben Grant July 9, 2014 at 09:57 #

      You’ll be the first person complaining when Newham Council ask you for money to park your car when the zone is implemented. As they did in Eastham, it was once free, then a charged was added for “administration”. It’s a con!

  6. Birdman July 8, 2014 at 17:21 #

    Of course Conor supports RPZ. He couldn’t do anything else. At least his massive allowances mean he can afford the charges.

  7. Conor McAuley July 8, 2014 at 18:15 #

    In reply to Birdman, he will know that as I own one car only …. I will pay no charge for an RPZ. So yes I can afford it.

    • Martin Warne July 9, 2014 at 08:24 #

      Conor, that’s assuming the first permit per household remains free. And there’s no guarantee of that. How long before Sir Robin sees residents permits as a nice little earner? If he’s going to keep his promise not to raise council tax he’s going to have to plug the revenue gap somehow.

  8. Conor McAuley July 9, 2014 at 09:36 #

    The Council does not have the powers to stop garages storing fully taxed etc cars on the street, while they rotate the space in their workshops. Two garages do this in my street.
    The Council does not have the powers to stop commuters from parking their fully taxed cars for free in the street.
    The guy in Osborne Rd who sells left hand drive cars does not put notices on them and they are always fully taxed etc. but he stores them on the street!

    There are a number of objectors who tax & insure their cars at addresses outside London where insurance is cheaper. Around me, they are the people leading the opposition to the RPZ ‘cos they will be forced to register their vehicles in Newham.

    • Birdman July 9, 2014 at 16:31 #

      I think it is very refreshing that Conor has engaged through this blog and he does make some good points. Others have raised good questions that need answers and it does seem that LBN need to engage with, and survey, residents before this all kicked off. It just feels as if the RPZ is a fair accompli and that after the initial free period, everyone will start having to pay. Residents need some cast iron assurances and more engagement and listening from local councillors. Conor’s efforts are a good start but maybe a little too late.

      • Martin Warne July 10, 2014 at 07:44 #

        You raise a good point that I should have mentioned in my post: a number of residents who spoke to Cllrs Clark and Patel made suggestions for alternative solutions to the commuter parking problem on the Woodgrange Estate; suggestions which the councillors agreed were worth considering – for example, having a one hour restriction in the morning, from 9:30 to 10:30, like they do in Wanstead. It stops commuters parking all day but doesn’t overly impact on local shops and businesses.
        Had officers (and councillors) engaged with residents at a very early stage – before developing proposals – they might have come up with a scheme that commanded wider support. As it is, very detailed proposals have dropped on people’s doormats with no warning and it all looks like a fait accompli.

  9. Hugh Barnard July 10, 2014 at 08:43 #

    Well, if the Tower Hamlets model is followed [and it makes Luftur a great deal of cash] you’ll end up with strict enforcement/payment and paid scratchcards for visitors.

    Then on the western side [where I live, to declare interest] we’ll end up with a more chaotic parking situation, if that’s possible. Already, the park-on-pavement has resulted in both near-impassible pavements for buggies AND [smaller roads] no safe room on roadway for a bike and a van. Worst of all possible worlds.

    As for the ‘consultation’, in Tower Hamlets, I used to call these ‘insultations’, since they were held at inconvenient times, involved a few people and the results [if inconvenient] were always disregarded. Nice to see some standardisation coming to the east London boroughs.

  10. A Ridley Road resident July 14, 2014 at 12:19 #

    I am against the Forest Gate RPZ extension.

    The consultation process is far from ideal, as I live on Ridley Road I still feel I should be able to voice my concerns.
    15 requests seems insignificant to justify this change. If only Newham was honest and said “Newham has decided” rather than “Following resident and business requests”. I’m wondering how many businesses there are on Sebert Road, Capel Rd or the streets in the conservation area. If any, like the stables flower shop on Sbert Rd, I am confident they prefer free on-street parking for their customers.

    Sometime in 2012, Newham added lots of double yellow lines in the “Village” area. I am not aware of any residents or businesses who made requests for them. In fact, it has reduced the available on street parking. It might increase visibility when turning, but I’m not aware of any accidents at these junctions to justify their introduction
    I got a ticket (which I paid) on a Sunday morning at 9am as my front wheels were on a double yellow at a junction between Ridley Rd and Godwin Road. I wasn’t causing a safety risk for turning cars, all the spaces around were free (I also had a puncture, but apparently that’s not enough to dispute a ticket). In any case, this was an easy ticket to put on my car, easy enforcement. It has achieved nothing in terms of safety in the neighbourhood.

    Now onto my current favourite bugbear: the mini cabs constantly parked on double yellow lines at the end of Sebert Road, near Woodgrange Road. They pose a real safety issue. They block the way. It’s particularly apparent when a car comes from Sebert and another one tries to turn into Sebert. It often causes a blockage on Woodgrange Rd itself, or issue of cars passing each other as the road is rendered too narrow for 2 cars to drive past. Who’s enforcing the double yellow line here? No one. The cab drivers monitor the street, and clear the cars as soon as they see an officer. I suggest Newham send plain cloth officers, and give ticket every day or twice a day to the mini cabs. The officer can sit in the cafe for 3 minutes to observe the cabs are breaking the law. There used to be a much bigger single yellow line there. It’s now tiny, for 1 car only, constantly used by a mini cab. How do the local businesses (dry cleaner, café, etc…) get their legitimate deliveries then?

    My conclusion is that if Newham cannot enforce existing regulations, extending the RPZ is just providing an easier way to generate income. It’s not for safety or at the request of the majority of residents or businesses.

  11. Brad Emerson (@bradleyem) July 23, 2014 at 14:38 #

    So from what I see, whether you are for or against the RPZ comes down to self-interest. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    I’m for it – I have one car, so will (initially) pay nothing, even though I’ve never had a problem parking outside my house in over a year of living there.

    That said, in my old house (Curwen) I had tremendous problems parking, and that recently became an RPZ. I know experience that the problem there was a definitely a mixture of commuters and Eagle and Child residents. You just have to drive past there now to see how quiet that road is to see how an RPZ can benefit an area.

    As for the Woodgrange estate, it’s a shambles at the moment. Parking is just impossible. There is also some very selfish parking going on by certain individuals who deliberately take up two spaces. Sadly, this RPZ won’t help that.

    I have concerns though – the parking situation outside Capel Point will be significantly worse as those cars who park parallel to the kerb will no longer be allowed to – and this is in a place where there road is of ample width to allow defined bays. This is only going to move the cars further down Capel and back onto areas like Curwen.

    Looking at the parking during the Olympics should be a good marker to how things will be – and it was significantly better in the area.

    Cllr McAuley makes a good point about the cars registered outside of the borough and I wonder if the council has done any surveys to see if this is indeed an issue.

    The garage issue can be resolved by some constructive dialog between the council and the garage (permit a few non specific permits for non-overnight parking?)

    I do feel sorry for those in Tilney/Lorne road area though. I refer to my previous comment on problem moving.

  12. R.Rush July 23, 2014 at 18:34 #

    As Chairman of the Monega (Residents) Association, I had the deeply unpleasant job of being at the helm during the Council’s ‘consultation’ process in both phases of our own Controlled PZ (now spun of course to Residents PZ). Even though we have been active for twenty years or so and have had Councillors, MP, MEP, Mayor et al at our meetings the Council did not see fit to come and talk to us to find out what might be the most suitable proposal before they worked up the scheme…..and from that point onwards we felt that we were ‘in the way’ and there was a pre-destined outcome to all that was going on. We dragged information out of the Labour councillors (well only one of them wanted to get involved) and we tried desperately to ask questions in order to publicise the results on our web site. We knew that the ‘drop in sessions’ were stage managed and the objective was to re-assure people and to paint as positive picture as possible. If this was a truly democratic process then why was an equal amount of funding spent on officers time doing those sessions given over to a representative group opposing the CPZ. When the results came through the dreadful turnout of about 20% I thought would scupper the idea, but no, because a greater number within that 20% had voted in favour, 12% of residents living in the area got what they demanded. Examples of the sort of arguments put forward to convince people at the ‘sessions’ included ‘it will stop all the football supporters parking’. Hmm. Once a fortnight during the season?. And with the move to the new stadium that ‘problem’ dis-appears anyway. How about ‘it will stop people parking to then catch a train to go to work’. Laughable really, as we are simply not affected by that, and anyway, having a parking exclusion for an hour 11.00-12.00 would do the same trick and be a whole lot better for shops, receiving visitors, tradesmen etc. But none of this ever got countered during the ‘consultation’. We extracted a promise from the hapless Councillor that after six months the experiment would be up for review and could be scrapped if that was wanted. We sat back and waited but again were never consulted as a body, just as residents individually on a change of operational hours. That was the ‘consultation’. Within weeks there was a deluge of angry people from streets outside of the Monega CPZ, some one hundred and ten in our meeting, demanding the CPZ was extended…..because it had merely pushed the problem onto their own streets. If there was a Borough wide permit, was guaranteed free for all time, and every non disabled bay became a shared use bay excepting a key hour during the day then there might be less hostility to the whole idea. As it is, the Mayor could not afford to introduce charged permits because that would put people off voting in favour if they had not already got a CPZ, but once the whole Borough is done and tied up……….well;watch this space. And with absolutely no opposition party on the Council to speak up, that will be a done deal. I just find the whole thing distasteful. I made sure that our Association never took one side or the other in the debate, we just tried hard to get public awareness going and the duplicity we encountered we will never forget. If Forest Gate vote against CPZ let’s see next? Take in roads with support into the Woodgrange RPZ? Good luck.

  13. Cymru boy October 14, 2014 at 17:25 #

    Martin

    Knowing your love of RPZ I quote from a detailed council response to my enquiries about the recent stage 2 Wakefiled RPZ “consultation” – their word not mine!

    “3. Could you confirm:

    i) The total number of consultation letters sent out to local residents and businesses? 1037 Packs
    ii) The total number of responses made? 242
    iii) A breakdown of the responses who were in favour of the scheme, against the scheme and who expressed no preference?

    The response rate overall was 23% , with 47% in favour of parking controls. However, the most negative responses from the consultation came from William Morley Close, who sit geographically on their own to the north east of Priory Road, and it was agreed at the Members Reference Board, that William Morley Close, Priory Road and the area behind 17-59 Barking Road WOULD BE EXCLUDED from having parking controls introduced, and after FURTHER ANALYSIS, this then generated a 24% response rate overall, with 63% in favour of parking controls and being included in the Wakefield RPZ”

    My capitals to demonstrate how you can have an RPZ even if the local residents vote against one. Democracy lives in Newham!

    • Martin Warne October 14, 2014 at 17:28 #

      Wow! I am almost lost for words.

      • willwatersmedia February 9, 2016 at 11:07 #

        What was the outcome? Is the RPZ idea going ahead, or has it already? Thanks.

      • Martin Warne February 10, 2016 at 13:54 #

        The original proposal was accepted for the parts that affected the Woodgrange Estate. The area further north, bordering Wanstead Flats, rejected it. However, a new consultation is being proposed for this area, but excluding Woodgrange Rd, Bective Rd and Dames Rd.

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