It certainly seems to be so from this letter circulated to Brent Councillors the Head of Housing and Neighbourhoods:
You may be aware of a consultation launch by the Project Centre on behalf of Brent Housing Management to introduce off street controlled parking to all Brent Council Estates.
I firstly want to apologise for the breakdown in communication between yourselves and us. I understand this must make it particularly difficult when residents come to you for information and briefing should have been sent to you ahead of the consultation launching.
Additionally, there has been interest from the local press and I am working with the communications team on this. A key concern raised via the local media outlets is whether this is a scheme to make money. Please see the link to the Cabinet report and supporting documents: LINK which includes the financial information associated with this project.
I have attached a briefing outlining the key points on the introduction of off street controlled parking and the motivations for this proposed change.
All residents have been posted a hard copy of a leaflet (see appendix 1), have the opportunity to attend a face to face meeting and / or submit their comments online. We will be extending the consultation to the end of November to ensure everyone has the opportunity to express their views. We will also be organising a members specific briefing session with our consultants and details for this will follow shortly.
It appears that the not univerally respected Serco will be enforcing the new arrangements. The briefing indicates that Wing Parking was contracted to undertake parking enforcement in 2012 but then (highlighted in yellow) says Wing is not taking any enforcement action. I wonder how much that lack of action is costing?
Off street controlled parking on Brent Council Estates – Councillor Briefing
Prior to transferring back to the Council, Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) contracted Wing Parking to undertake enforcement action on council owned housing estates and this has been in operation since August 2012. In 2012, the government introduced The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, which reduced Wing Parking’s ability to take any meaningful and effective enforcement action. The Act stopped Wing Parking from accessing information from the Driving Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and as such, any parking tickets issued cannot be pursued unless driver’s details are already known. This has made it difficult to control parking from non-residents on council owned housing estates. This means that, perversely, Wings can only enforce parking tickets against the residents who have purchased permits. The system is therefore only punishing those it was meant to protect.
Following on-going complaints from residents, Councillors and emergency services regarding obstructive and inconsiderate parking by both residents and non-residents of the estates, BHM set out to review alternative options for parking enforcement on Council housing sites and it was approved in July 2020 for Brent Housing Management to proceed with introducing Traffic Management Orders (TMO) across all Brent Council Estates subject to consultation with residents.
BHM has to date piloted this approach on five Council Estates and implementation on these estate is now underway.
Key points to note
Under the existing Wing Parking arrangement, residents pay £10 per year for a parking permit. Under the new proposal, residents will pay £50 per year for a parking permit. Whilst this is a increase compared to £10 per year, Brent Housing Management negotiated a reduced rate for residents living on Brent Council estates.
Currently under the existing arrangement with Wing there is no enforcement that takes place, whilst the signage and presences of Wing Parking officers does act as a deterrent, the effectiveness is limited and has resulted in continued complaints from residents affected by unauthorised parking on estate. The new arrangement will be managed by the Councils contractor Serco and deliver effective enforcement on estates and tackle abandoned vehicles and anti-social behaviour linked to non-residents vehicles on estates.
An example of the consultation leaflet sent to each of the residents accompanies this briefing (see appendix 1) and the contractors carrying out the consultation are called the Project Centre (link to FAQs is prepared by The Project Centre) https://consultprojectcentre.co.uk/brenthousingestateparking/widgets/18431/faqs).
This leaflet outlines the position on visitors, as implementation must firstly prioritise residents living on the estate. This means visitors in the short term will not be able to park on the estate but it will be reviewed once the scheme is live and availability can be reassessed.
Through discussions with Wing Parking, it is apparent that the legislation has affected their financial viability for the type of contract with Brent Housing Management. Brent Housing Management currently subsidises that lack of income generated through penalty charges. Wing Parking have also confirmed that due to further upcoming Government changes current schemes would become inoperable. If residents choose not to go ahead with the new parking controls on their estate it is not possible to continue offering Wing Parking as an alternative.
Through the consultation, residents do have an opportunity to influence whether and how the traffic management order is applied. Statutory stakeholders such as the emergency services also have an opportunity to comment. We encourage ward members to submit their views via the following link Project: Brent Housing Estates (pclengagement-hub.co.uk).
Communications going forward
All Councillors will be notified of the outcome of the consultation for each estate within their Ward prior to any communication going out to residents. Should Councillors wish to attend, the dates of face to face meetings with residents are available Project: Brent Housing Estates (pclengagement- hub.co.uk)
Questions can be sent directly to Estate.Parking@brent.gov.uk this applies to both residents and Councillors.
Note: Some council homes have been left off the list Brent Council published (see previous post) These include Gauntlett Court, Summers Close and Saltcroft Close.