Legislation requires that we have regard to various factors in making a decision on whether an area should have a CPZ introduced. These include the views of owners and occupiers of properties but the need for maintaining the free movement of traffic including public service vehicles, reasonable access to premises and the effect on the amenities of any locality affected are also specified as relevant factors. There may also be other matters which appear to us as being relevant which we are obliged to take into account.
Our policy of responding to demand from residents and businesses, and of carrying out a detailed consultation before proposing the implementation of parking controls, helped us achieve a Charter Mark award in 1999, and successfully retain it thereafter.
We produce a leaflet and questionnaire that is delivered to every property in the consultation area. In this document we set out the arguments for and against having parking controls, what it will cost and ask a series of questions, the responses to which will help us design a scheme.
We aim to obtain a minimum 25% response rate to our consultations, and try to make it easy and convenient for everyone to respond by providing postage paid questionnaires. We compile the results that show the individual responses from each household and business though you can be assured that these are not available for individual scrutiny to determine the views expressed by you or your neighbours. These enable us to accurately define the areas where there is support for the introduction of controls and those areas where there is not.
Getting businesses to respond to the consultation in sufficient numbers can be a problem. We try to deliver consultation documents to businesses during their opening hours, to ensure they are received. The analysis of the questionnaire and comments also helps us to ensure that the design of a proposed zone most accurately reflects the desires of the community, be it one-hour zones, controls on Saturday or any other local factor to the area.
The results of this consultation will be analysed both for the overall area and on a street-by-street basis. When examining the results we will take into account the response rate, the level of support and whether the streets involved would form a coherent zone area. We try to ensure that zone boundaries are clear so that any confusion can be avoided.
The introduction of parking controls in one street often results in displacement parking problems in adjacent streets, as commuters and other motorists may move their cars to the nearest road where parking is unrestricted. Consequently, we often consult over a wider area than that in which there are known to be current parking difficulties. In addition, we may also ask residents and businesses, if they are not in favour, whether they would change their mind if the adjacent road became controlled. We will then take into account the results from this secondary question regardless of the overall results throughout the consultation area.
The results of parking consultations are reported to the Strategic Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee, or, if previously approved by the Committee and Executive, submitted to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation for consideration.
For parking controls to be introduced, the Council will take into account the views of residents and businesses, as detailed above. However, customer feedback is not the single deciding factor and will be considered along with all other relevant factors, as detailed in the first paragraph.
Residents and businesses are generally informed of the results by letter but, in any event, a copy of the committee report detailing the results can always be found on our website.
We implement most of our new zones under experimental traffic management orders so that we can provide the protection that residents want from commuter parking quickly.
The complete process, from consultation to zone implementation, generally takes us about three to six months. The process takes time as we are required to consult the police and emergency services about our proposals, make and advertise the traffic management order, and manufacture and install parking signs, as well as road markings
After a new zone has been operational for six months, we carry out a review consultation to find out if the controls are working properly.