Council accused of creating parking problems to raise revenue
Greenwich Council has been accused of manufacturing parking problems in Eltham to justify the expansion in the area of its revenue-making Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ).
A Highways Committee report has revealed that the Council’s policy of imposing pay and display on a section of road in Eltham North next to the train station (where there are no properties) has created parking problems for residents living in nearby roads.
Rather than reverse their original decision, Council Officers suggest instead in the report that there should be an expansion of Controlled Parking Zones across the whole of the Eltham Park area – a scheme which increases revenue for the Council.
The report was a response to a petition of over 450 signatures from local residents collected by Eltham North Conservative Councillor Spencer Drury. It asked for the western section of Glenlea Road to be restored to free parking. The road (which has no residents living on it) is now mostly left empty during weekdays and Saturdays when the controls apply.
Spencer has written to Officers to highlight that their own report admits that the parking problems are of their own creation. Despite this, and residents raising concerns that the parking controls are adversely affecting them, the report to the Highways Committee recommends that no changes are made to the current situation.
Cllr Spencer Drury said “I think it is a betrayal of our role as elected members to actively implement policies to make residents lives worse so that the Council can charge them to solve a problem it has created - and in doing so increase its revenue which I have no doubt they will spend on pet projects in Woolwich.
“I wrote to the Council Leader in May saying that no one will object if she holds up her hands and says that imposing pay and display parking on this section of Glenlea Road was a mistake – at least she would be listening to the feedback from residents. Unfortunately she still has not found time to reply.
“I would urge the Highways Committee to reject the officers' advice and ask them to restore free parking to this section of road.”
Notes for anyone wanting further information
- Comments from local residents on the chaos that the council has caused can be found on the change.org petition (https://www.change.org/p/royal-borough-of-greenwich-restore-free-parking...). For example, Sandra Cottrell said “My daughter and family live on Eltham Park Gardens. I pick my grandchildren up from school and am unable to park in their road as there are no spaces available anymore. We have to drive around neighbouring roads and then walk home. My daughter can't even find a space in her own road when she gets home from work.”
- Prior to the meeting Spencer has written to the members of the Highways Committee pointing out that:-
- The Council admits that the problems with parking around Eltham Park are at least partially the result of the imposition of parking restrictions in western Glenlea Road (4.2 reads “Officers are of the view that the parking controls in this location make only a partial contribution to the recent parking displacement.” and 4.3 states “A number of commuters are now parking free of charge in the uncontrolled streets nearest Eltham Station and causing new problems.”)
- Their solution to this is to expand the CPZ to the roads that their current policy has caused parking problems on (4.7 reads “The solution is more likely to lie in an extension of suitable controls (subject to consultation) to those streets that are(or could be)under new pressures”).
- They actually admit that if free parking were allowed on this section of road the situation would be improved for local residents (in 4.9, it states “Previously these places were full from early morning to late afternoon by rail commuters and would be so again.”).
- The Council’s parking budget is £2m short of the Council‘s target for the last financial year, which was reported to Cabinet in June (http://committees.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/documents/s48388/10%20-%20201516%20End%20of%20Year%20Financial%20Position%203.pdf).