by Amanda Taylor on 10 March, 2020
Today, Conservative councillors on Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways Committee voted to suspend a programme of consultations on new residents’ parking schemes in the city, funded by the Greater Cambridge Partnership.
Residents’ parking schemes only go ahead if there is a majority of residents in favour. This just needs to be a simple majority, and the strength of support varies greatly between one area and another — for example, the Morley scheme (between Cherry Hinton Road, Hills Road and Blinco Grove) had 62% support, while neighbouring Coleridge West had just 53%.
Here in Queen Edith’s, the Council told us they would run consultations on new parking schemes during the course of 2019. Despite lots of chasing up, the consultations were first put off until after the May elections — and then there was silence. I heard through the grapevine that County Conservatives, all representing areas outside Cambridge) were reluctant to introduce new schemes because they were getting pressure from their constituents. Maybe some of them are the drivers of the cars that park outside our houses!
In my experience, opinions about further parking schemes in Queen Edith’s are very mixed. Some people are very strongly in favour, particularly in flats with little or no parking, and in some streets very close to major traffic magnets such as the hospital, while others don’t see the need at present.
It has been a cause of frustration that the Council has not proceeded with consultations for our area, and even more so now that they have officially put them on hold.
I sent an objection through as follows:
I am unable to attend your meeting this morning but wish to challenge the suspension of the GCP-funded residents’ parking consultations.
Commuter parking is a major concern in my division of Queen Edith’s, which sits between the Biomedical Campus and two sixth form colleges. These institutions, though much valued, generate huge numbers of vehicles that park in residential streets, making it hard for residents to park near their own homes, and creating road hazards, pollution and extra congestion whilst they cruise for a space. In some streets near the hospital, residents suffer frequent harassment by commuters.
The parking problem is only likely to intensify as the area is experiencing rapid growth — the Biomedical Campus alone is forecast to have 27,000 jobs, spread between Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Astra-Zeneca, Papworth Hospital and other employers. We are looking forward to a new railway station, ‘Cambridge South’. Our ambition is for the new station to be an arrival station reduce traffic and parking from outside the city, but with no residents’ parking in place, there is a risk that it might be used as a departure station, with Cambridge residents parking in nearby residential streets, replacing country cars with town cars.
In Queen Edith’s we have one parking scheme, ‘Morley’, which started in 2017, achieved via a councillor consultation with the GPC funding the set-up cost; and part of the GCP Coleridge West scheme, shared with Romsey division, introduced in 2018.
In most streets in my division, constituents are asking about residents’ parking, even if it be only for a few hours a day. I cannot say whether a consultation would result in a majority in any of the zones, but people deserve to be asked, as they have been in other heavily parked areas.
Officers told me in 2018 that the four other zones in Queen Edith’s would be in the next tranche of schemes for consultation. These are: Glebe, Wulfstan, Nightingale and Perse ( the last shared with Trumpington division).
That was a year ago. They then said we would have to wait till after the elections (the city council ones in May). We waited. And despite numerous enquiries about progress, we are still waiting. There has been no action on scoping schemes and certainly no consultations.
Queen Edith’s residents’ confidence in the County Council is already very low, especially with recent cycling schemes that have drastically overrun. It is becoming increasingly difficult for my constituents to believe what the Council says, and not going ahead with parking consultations is just another example of an unfulfilled undertaking.
Queen Edith’s has already waited a year for consultations on addressing what is felt by many residents to be a major safety and environmental problem. It is not reasonable for the promised consultations to be put back yet another year.
I request that the Committee resumes the programme it started.
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