The work to implement the new and long awaited parking controls in Priestfield gets under way on the ground later this month.
Priestfield will become known as Area B7 and residents can apply now for a parking permit to park in the permit holders places. You can find a plan showing the locations of the first phase of parking places on the Council’s website here. The scheme starts on 3rd November and the controlled hours during which permits are required are 9:30 - 11:00 Monday to Friday.
There has been some concern that the plans published differ from the plans issued at the consultation stage. Important with the introduction of priority parking is the phasing - which enables a review shortly after the go live date to enable adjustments to be made. For those affected/interested, read on to see the explanation from one of our parking development staff to a public query,
" It has always been the case that Priority Parking is installed on a phased basis. In order to do that we must process a Traffic Order that includes all phases, so that we have the legal backing to introduce additional spaces at relatively short notice. With the Order process typically taking up to a year, including all parking initially allows us the flexibility to react to changing situations within reasonable timescales. In Priority Parking Area B1, this approach allowed us to react within 2 to 3 months of the going live date, introducing a second phase of parking in order to ensure that the amount of space met the needs of residents using the scheme.The plans that we have previously consulted upon have, therefore, shown all of the proposed parking. As you rightly say, the accompanying notes on the original plan state that “An initial phase of permit parking places (approx 50% of spaces shown) is expected to meet the majority of residential demand”. The notes go on to explain that monitoring will take place and that a second phase could be implemented if required.For B7, the latest plan shows the first phase of implementation, with the remaining parking being held until we can assess the need for further spaces. This is a key element of Priority Parking and is fundamental to ensuring that we place parking where it is needed most.In determining the locations of the first phase of parking places we looked at the survey data for the Priestfield area. This reveals where people park and whether the vehicles surveyed are likely to belong to residents, commuters etc. What it does not do is consider where people would park if they had the opportunity to park wherever they wished. On that basis the first phase is therefore centred around those areas where access to off-street parking is limited, meaning that those streets which consist mainly of terraced properties have the bulk of the parking provision allocated to them, while those streets that consist mainly of properties with driveways are allocated fewer spaces. We are cognisant of the fact that not everyone supports parking controls, even in situations where there are obvious parking pressures. For this reason the second element that we consider when determining the first phase of implementation is the consultation responses. Even so, we tend to build in an allowance that creates more space on-street than appears to be required.The result in this case is a first phase that is less than the 50% previously indicated. We use 50% as a guideline and , in hindsight, it may have been better to be even more vague than that. In trying to balance the needs of those who want controls and the needs of those who don’t, we will always use the data we have to determine how much parking to provide. With a second phase of implementation potentially able to happen a couple of months after phase 1, I am confident that we can deliver a scheme that meets the needs of those who want to use it and that this element of tailoring is a valuable tool in achieving that. I do not doubt that a second phase will be required – what is not clear is where the demand will lie. While our first phase centres around areas of support, I have no doubt that additional demand will become apparent once the scheme is operational. We will do all that we can to ensure that this additional demand is identified quickly and that additional space is provided where it is needed.Obviously, we look to residents to give us indications of how our schemes are working. Our monitoring involves permit numbers, on-street surveys and input from those who are using the schemes. That feedback is vital in ensuring that we get the final scheme right, with enough spaces in locations that suit its users. We want Priority Parking to work. Thus far it has been a very successful approach to commuter parking pressures and this is a success that we would like to continue.