Thursday 4 November 2021

Brent Council's answers to protests over proposed council estate Traffic Management Orders

 Residents of Summers Close and Saltcroft Close in Wembley received an additional consultation letter this week, following the earlier consultation on Traffic Management Orders sent to council estates throughout the borough.

The second consultation is part of a statutory process and refers to the introduction of double yellow lines following 'complaints about vehicles parked...that cause obstruction, access and visibility difficulties for vehicles intending to access/exit the location. This is a problem particularly for emergency services and collection services. It also affects the motorist's sight lines and therefore pedestrian safety.' 

This is possibly a fall-back position in case the TMO proposal is rejected.


Parking on the South Kilburn Estate

 In a sign that councillors' mail boxes have been running red hot with resident opposition, members of the council have been provided with a crib sheet (below) on how to answer residents' representations.  It is clear that to be really effective the number of responses, whether for or against proposals, needs to be maximised.

Cost of permits

Cabinet approved a £50 charge, as this was the lowest the charge could be set for the service to be cost neutral. These proposals are designed to ensure that parking is prioritised for residents of the estate at the cost of less than a pound a week. This initiative has not been developed with a view to make a profit but to cover the cost of enforcement on estates. Whilst residents currently pay £10, Wing Parking have made their position clear that they would need to increase their prices to continue the current arrangement, which has limited effectiveness due to legislative changes. 


What percentage of residents will have to vote for the consultation to be valid?

There is no specific percentage for the consultation to be valid but a 20% response rate is viewed as the norm. As we did with the pilot, if estates have a very low turnout, we will repeat the consultation with increased door knocking. 


What will happen if there is a low turnout but a clear majority?

We will review each the results of each estate on an individual basis, and if they have a very low turnout, we will repeat the consultation with increased door knocking. If there is a low turnout, but a clear majority and support from other consultees, e.g. emergency services, then we will proceed with implementation. 


What happens if residents on an estate say no to the proposal?

The current arrangement with Wing Parking is no longer operable and if residents vote against the proposals, it will not continue. Introducing a traffic management order is the only viable way to maintain enforcement on Brent Housing estates. It is important that we are honest with residents on this position, as it would be unfair if we did not make this point clear as part of the consultation. If the outcome for an estate is not to go ahead, and there are no significant risks to emergency services or recycling and refuse, this will be honoured. 


Should we have waited for the pilot sites to be fully implemented before consulting with the wider estates?

We know from other local authorities the effectiveness of traffic management orders and introducing off street controlled parking on council estates. Wing Parking have made it clear the current arrangement is no longer operable and they are taking action to end their existing contract with other Local Authorities. It is essential we consult with residents now to ensure they have a choice mitigating the risk of Wing Parking withdrawing the service and no available alternative. 


Visitor Parking

We will be offering visitor permits, but as part of the implementation, we must ensure permits firstly go to those residents living on the estate. Please note this will not affect any professional services required, such as carers or health visitors. Under the new proposal, we will be replicating the current highways offer. Information on what is available for older and disabled people is available on the Councils website  LINK 


Parking for Council Contractors

The arrangement that we have with trades’ people will continue and council contractors will be provided with permits to ensure they can continue carrying out repairs. Like with our current arrangement, no one is guaranteed a space. 


Will motorbikes need a permit?

All vehicles will require a permit to park on the estate where they are using a bay. As part of the consultation, if there are a number of motorbike users on the estate, the provision for dedicated motorbike parking can be requested by residents. 


Blue Badges

Where there are disabled bays already marked, they will be replaced like-for-like. If, however, there are residents, with a blue badge and no marked bays, they can apply for a bay to be converted and this can be delivered during implementation. Residents with a Blue Badge living on the estate will still be required to purchase a parking permit. 


Not enough parking on the estate

On the reduction of parking, unfortunately, residents will feel disgruntled and frustrated about parking becoming more pressured. This is an issue experienced nationally, but is magnified in London because of the limited space. 


Residents have raised concerns that building on garage sites has affected parking availability further. As a borough, there are hard decisions, which need to be made on how space is used, particularly as without new affordable homes in the borough Brent residents will not be able to stay in their community. We are incredibly proud of the New Council Homes programme and when there is a decision between providing new homes or retaining garage sites, providing new affordable homes is the priority. We have a waiting list where homeless families on average wait 16 years for a three bedroom home, and we know it is important to Brent residents that their family in the future have the choice to stay in Brent and live in affordable housing. 


Separately, Brent is a highly connected borough and as a Council, our members have declared a climate emergency. One of the key themes being discussed at COP26 is changing behaviours and how people move around in their communities. With more people than ever working from home, the RAC Foundation published that cars spend on average 23 hours of each day parked. We must continue to provide strong leadership on this and push people to think about how space can be used more effectively, whether this be for homes, play, exercise or the community rather than continuing a reliance on cars and car parks. This is further supported by the ULEZ charge to discourage high polluting vehicles being driven in London. 


For some residents, driving is the only option, which is why we do want to protect the parking that is available for those who actually live on the estates. For this to be successful, we do need residents who are able to, to think differently about how they move about. 


Women’s safety

The safety of women is a top priority, and we take our responsibility with the utmost seriousness. We continue to work with all partners to make the borough a safer place for everyone. 


We as a Landlord participate proactively in the Brent Safer Partnership and Violence against Women and Girls steering group to ensure we can do as much as possible. There is no existing evidence that these proposed changes will increase risk to women living on Brent Council Estates. We understand how recent tragedies have left residents, particularly women feeling vulnerable and angry. We strongly believe that our focus needs to be on taking action to ensure women can walk anywhere in the borough and feel safe to do so.



Anonymous said...

On Women's Safety - 'There is no existing evidence that these proposed changes will increase risk to women living on Brent Council Estates.' = We will wait until a woman living on one of our Brent Council Estates has been attacked, raped or worse before taking this matter seriously!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how a blog that aims to support social and environmental justice is lobbying against the removal of parking spaces, given how detrimental automobile use is for the environment and for public space, especially in a borough such as Brent, where a minority of the population owns and drives cars yet so much space is provided for car use. Green activists should promote transferring space used for cars to creating space for cyclists and pedestrians.