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Residents Parking Scheme

Dodgy LibDems General
 


I noted from the Stockport Express that: "neither Councillor Weldon nor any other Stockport Council Executive member will benefit personally from the Beech Avenue parking scheme".

I have seen a document which stated: " A free permit will be issued to all Cllrs allowing them to park in RPZ (Residents Parking Zones) in their wards, to allow for the carrying out of their responsibilities, Executive members permits will allow them to park in any RPZ in the Borough".

Maybe the LibDem Councillors intended to proceed with this not inconsiderable perk for themselves, but under the beady, watchful eye of Mr. XXXX - a meticulous checker of facts in my experience - they decided they really wouldn't be able to get away with it. Thanks, Mr. XXXX, for your supberb efforts in holding our councillors to account.

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STOCKPORT COUNCIL

REPORT TO EXECUTIVE MEETING – SUMMARY SHEET

Subject: Revisions to Residents Parking Schemes


Report to Executive Meeting                                       Date:  13 March 2006

Report of: (a) Executive Councillor (Transportation)

Key Decision: (b)              YES (Please circle)

  (Forward Plan
  General Exception

  Special Urgency)

           Tick box
Summary:

The report details proposed changes to residents car parking schemes in the borough, from street based schemes to schemes based around Residents Parking Zones (RPZ).  The report also details measures to improve the administration, maintenance and financing of schemes.


Comments/Views of the Executive Councillor: (c)

The report advocates an improved approach for the development, implementation, administration and enforcement of residents parking within the borough. The new schemes will allow the Council to better manage parking spaces and permits for the benefit of residents and non residents and to fulfil its responsibilities as contained within the second Local Transport Plan.
Recommendation(s) of Executive Councillor: (d)
It is recommended that:-

(1) The proposed arrangements for introducing residents parking schemes as contained within paragraphs 3.1 to 3.7.2 of report below are approved.

(2) Residents in existing resident parking areas be advised of the new arrangements and asked if they wish to transfer to the new scheme or end residents parking in that area.

(3) The Stepping Hill Area Committee be given priority for the introduction of any revised proposals for residents parking schemes.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee (if decision called in): (e)
Regeneration, Housing and Development Services.

Background Papers (if report for publication): (f)


Contact person for accessing   Officer: Sue Stevenson
background papers and discussing the report Tel: 4351

‘Urgent Business’
: (g)    NO

Certification (if applicable)
This report should be considered as ‘urgent business’ and the decision exempted from ‘call-in’ for the following reason(s):

The written consent of Councillor                                 and the Chief Executive/Council Solicitor and Secretary/Director of Finance for the decision to be treated as ‘urgent business’ was obtained on                                  /will be obtained before the decision is implemented.



REVISIONS TO RESIDENTS’ Parking SCHEMES


Report of the Corporate Director: Environment and Economy


PURPOSE OF REPORT


To detail proposals for changes in the current residents parking schemes from street based schemes, to schemes based around residents parking zones (RPZ).

A report has previously been taken to all Area Committees in October 2005 and to the Housing, Regeneration and Development Services Scrutiny Committee in January 2006, detailing a recommended approach, and Members views have been used to inform the scheme recommended in this report. The views of the Area Committees and Scrutiny Committee are contained in Annexes 1 and 2 respectively.

INFORMATION (BACKGROUND)

2.1  Residents’ parking schemes (RPSs) are introduced in residential areas where properties have little or no off-street parking available and for one reason or another residents have problems parking outside their properties. The first experimental schemes were introduced in Stockport in 1988. The number of schemes has grown steadily. There are presently some 107 streets that have parking controlled by a scheme.

The majority of schemes are requested by residents but there are occasions when schemes are promoted through consideration of planning applications for new developments. Other areas where schemes may be necessary because of their locations are those adjacent to a major traffic attractor e.g. Edgeley Park Stadium, home of Stockport County Football Club and Sale Sharks Rugby Club, and around Stepping Hill Hospital.

The Town Centre is a controlled parking zone with a permit system for residents enabling them to use council car parks in the vicinity with a permit. The recommendations contained within this report do not cover the Town Centre. This will be the subject of a later report.

2.4     Current schemes attempt to satisfy residents’ demands to an extent by reserving space for their exclusive use at specified times. However, street based schemes are unable to even-out localised excesses of demand over supply. A zone based scheme offers an opportunity to remove parking supply in one street for, e.g. safety reasons, as compensating parking provision is provided within a wider zone. This report recommends the replacement of street based schemes to zone based schemes as well as other measures to improve the current system.


RECOMMENDED APPROACH


3.1      Procedure

3.1.1 Requests for consideration for a Residents Parking Zone (RPZ) will usually begin with a petition from residents of a particular street. A simple majority of residents must make the request for the process to continue.

3.1.2 Once a request has been made, the Area Committee or Ward Spokesperson may authorise a survey to be carried out by the Traffic Services Section. The purpose of the survey is to examine the nature and extent of the problem in the area, and to suggest both the extent of the RPZ, and also the restrictions that should be applied to it.

3.1.3 Once this is completed a report is produced and submitted to Area Committee for consideration. The Area Committees generally fund schemes and the responsibility for approving, developing and funding of a scheme usually rests with them. Once provisional approval for a scheme has been given, Traffic Services will write to all residents within the boundary of the RPZ, detailing the proposal, and giving them the opportunity to comment on the proposals. Comments will be taken into account and the scheme amended as necessary
.

3.1.4 Once the scheme has been agreed and the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) advertised, residents are informed about the scheme and that they can apply to Traffic Services for permits
.


Email from a clever and decent man - no longer with us:-

"Hi Sheila

.......I think well 75% or Edgeley are Free now, we've only got the other 25% to do unlike 6 months ago. And in my humble opinion the key to getting the Policy changed is not the LibDems but to split the likes of McLean, Khan and McMahon away from them such that they get frightened that either they will be blamed or SMBC will be litigated against.

There's lots of angles but it's coming down to " How are you Cllrs going to persuade those residents happy in a currently free RPS street to pay or disband when their TRO entitles them to free enforcement anyway and Edgeley are not paying for enforcement."


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"How free permits was put forward was really really clever (or evil)

The basic Scheme was put to all the Area Committees in Oct 2005 and
also went to various Scrutiny including Regeneration, Housing and
Development Services Scrutiny Committee. Their comments are all
attached to the Main Report.......

........The clause clearly says " a free permit will be issued..." Cllrs do not
have to apply for one; they have no choice; they WILL get one as of
right; they cannot refuse the permit . All they can do is choose not
to display it."
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Complaint from our excellent fellow Stockport Council taxpayer, sadly now deceased:-


"Dear Ms Scullion

We have carefully read Mr McMahon’s letter of the 24th Oct regarding REQUEST FOR INTERNAL REVIEW OF INITIAL DECISION FOLLOWING REQUEST REFERENCE FOI 578 UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000
And there are a number of comments I would like to make.

1 It may seem churlish but I think an apology would be in order and expected. The Council have broken the requirements of Section 16 FOI Act and it doesn’t see the need for an Apology!

2 I am surprised that Mr McMahon has handled the Internal Review. He was the immediate superior of Mr Newell and he reports directly to Ms McLean EEDs Corporate Director. Both these people were claimed by me to be involved in the denial of information. I would have thought a prerequisite of an Internal Review is that the person doing is in an independent position. The fact that Mr McMahon does not even mention Ms McLeans undoubted involvement seems to underline a lack of perspective and impartiality.

3 Mr McMahon speculates on the possible motives of Mr Newell even though that is not an aspect of my complaint. He offers without evidence that "Mr Newell acted in good faith" and " I do not believe there was any wilful obstruction" and " Mr Newell was not fully aware that he was under a duty to inform you"
Without evidence he has no ability to make any of these conclusions.

4 However I have to inform you that there are 2 other documented instances of other Officers denying the supply of information to me under Section 16 of the FOI Act.

5 The first is the attached series of emails between Mr C Ainsworth and myself. You will read the request for the Action Plan was made under the FOI Act and Mr Ainsworth said " I do not have a copy". It is possible he might not have had but there was certainly a copy of that Action Plan in File MN8 3085 as I found out in my visit in August.

6 The second instance is much worse and concerns the attached emails between Mr S Thompson Parking Manager and myself. Again the request for information was made under the FOI Act. The emails are quite lengthy. The core problem lies in my Question 4 asking for paperwork and emails relating to how £60 had been arrived at. Mr Thompson specifically says in answer to Question 4 " I can confirm I am not in possession of any paperwork or emails where someone asked me to estimate the costs"
He said this on the 14th September just after he had emailed R Lee 2nd August where he spoke of the £60 as the best estimate of the cost and went on to explain the factors of precision associated with his estimate.
Ms Scullion this is an appalling and deliberate breach of Section 16 and I can envisage no excuse.

7 In my initial request for an Internal Review I wrote of seeing in File NM 8 3095 the internal exchange of emails discussing the best way to misled and deflect an irate resident.

8 Rather than follow Mr McMahon’s suggested motives with his lack of supporting evidence I believe there is documentary evidence to support a quite dreadful motivation for what is going on.

From the above I would have to majke a formal Complaint that over a period of time the above Officers including Ms McLean have blatantly broken Section 16 of the FOI Act. This has been the result of either poor training in the requirements of the FOI Act or from a culture especially prevalent in Traffic Services of purposely ignoring the requirements of the Act. This has been condoned and done by the ex Head of Traffic Services Mr J Newell and went unchecked by Mr Newell superiors"


From: Advice@consumerdirect-northwest.gov.uk
Subject: Consumer Direct response to enquiry
To:XXXX


Dear Mr XXXX

Thank you for your enquiry to Consumer Direct dated 01/11/07. Your reference number for this case is NW-317207 and should be quoted in all further correspondence regarding this case.

I have received your request for confirmation of what we discussed over the phone on 29/10/07, re: the council's rsident parking scheme.

Where council's provide goods or services, they are bound by the same laws as traders (i.e. goods must be of a satisfactory quality, services must be carried out with reasonable care and skill, etc.) however there may be local by-laws which affect these obligations.

In terms of the price for goods or services, the council (like any trader) can choose any price, and it is then up to the consumer whether to buy or not.

In contract terms, a consumer may have a cooling -off period under the Distance Selling Regulations if the service is taken out as the result of an unsolicited visit from the trader.

For more information, we would advise that you contact the Local Government Ombudsman on 0845 602 1983.

If you require any further advice or information about this case, please do not hesitate to contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06. Do not reply to this email, or send an email to

Thank you for your enquiry.



advice@consumerdirect-northwest.gov.uk, as this address is for outbound mail only, and is unmonitored.
Daniel

Consumer Direct Northwest



Tel: 08454 04 05 06


Web:

Open: 8:00am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday



This email and any attachments are confidential and may also be privileged. If you are not the named recipient, please notify the sender immediately and do not disclose the contents to any other person, use it for any purpose, or store or copy the information.

Data Protection: Consumer Direct is funded by the Office of Fair Trading. Unless otherwise requested we may pass the information you have provided to us to Trading Standards or any other partner organisation (as described in our full Privacy Policy), who may contact you. Our full Privacy Policy can be viewed at

http://www.consumerdirect.gov.ukwww.consumerdirect.gov.uk





They certainly haven't done a cooling off period or given a detailed Contract of what they precisely do for they money and how you can terminate the Contract.

This Scheme is a con; it's not fit for purpose; no one knows what the hell it's for and why it's being sold.
When you buy a dress it's supposed to make you look beautiful and to a style. If it doesn't the Contract or the Deal is it goes back and you get your money back. If I buy a car I expect it will fulfil everything the specification says it should and enhance my life and I test drive it to prove it. If it doesn't it's not fit for my purpose and I don't buy.

IF the Scheme comes under Consumer Law and it seems it does this is a cak-handed con trick to make people pay for something that no one knows precisely what it is.


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Email from our superb, now sadly deceased campaigner to a local councillor:-

".....There are concerns that the legislated requirements of the Permit Parking Scheme are not being correctly adhered to.
The Booklet on the New PPS states on page 3 "You are required to collect SIGNATURES of 51% or more of all the households on your street in support of the scheme, even if only a section of the street is affected by non-resident parking. The petition can then be presented to your Cllr or submitted to the Council... Only then can your local Area Committee authorise a survey to be carried out"

Page 7 gives an example of a petition; "We the UNDERSIGNED being residents of (name road or street) having read the new permit parking policy relating to the annual cost of permits, support the request ...."

That seems crystal clear that a PETITION is needed that contains the SIGNATURES of 51% or more of households in a whole street even for a part street for a scheme to be legally approved by Area Committee. .....



However the approval process for Cromwell Rd does not follow this stated framework.

I have before me a Consultation Letter sent to Cromwell Rd residents on the 24th July 2007 by Traffic Services at the request of Cllr Bagnell. On the 20th August 2007 you received a letter, of which I have a copy, from one of the residents, presumably living in one of those 6 houses which eventually became the PPS, stating that his "survey of neighbours" had produced " a response (that) was extremely favourable" I presume that meant more than 51% of the whole street agreed to the 6 house scheme proposed in the letter and agreed to by you. I say agreed by you because you sent the letter to Traffic Services which was received by them on the 30th August. I am intrigued as to why, at this particular moment, you took over this relatively minor request which had been initiated by Cllr Bagnall.

The key fact that must be emphasised here is that the letter of 20th August contained the signature of ONLY the sender; none of the other residents had signed. In my view at this moment that letter could not be described as Petition as defined in the Policy and in the Booklet quoted above and you would know that point and that it was totally dissimilar to all the other Petitions you had handled for the above quoted streets.

Slightly diverging I have absolutely no problem that these houses should have been given the protection of an RPS. In fact they should have been given that protection in 2002 when they first asked for a scheme, ironically with a signed petition of which I have a copy and the related correspondence.

I asked Traffic Services why there was no signed Petition. Their written answer to me states " The redacted letter you have previously received has been accepted as a petition and is the only petition submitted to Traffic Services from residents of Cromwell Road in relation to permit parking."

I can't believe anyone in possession of the full facts would find that acceptable.

I don't see how a Council Policy is carefully drafted with specific safeguards to maintain democratic integrity is casually put aside in one instance when someone judges the means might justify the end. It doesn't matter that a satisfactory result has been achieved; someone has broken the legally stated rules and especially in a 4 Star Plus Council this cannot be tolerated.

I would expect you as an elected Cllr to agree with those sentiments I have just expressed and therefore would ask

1 Who was it that agreed to ignore the rules.?

2 Had this acceptance of the unsigned letter as a properly signed petition previously been brought to your attention?

3 Are there any more streets where this error might have occurred?

4 Whilst the end result is good what are you going to do to make sure this does not happen again?

5 As I say the end result is good but residents have paid for protection when they should not have been asked for money. Should they have an apology and a refund?

I would like to say this is the only legal problem with the Scheme but unfortunately it isn't. I think we should clear this mess up before we go onto the next errors.


Kind Regards
xxxx"

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Email to Executive Councillor responsible - David White

"Dear David

I am concerned that the legislated requirements of the Permit Parking Scheme are not being correctly adhered to.
The Booklet on the New PPS states on page 3 "You are required to collect SIGNATURES of 51% or more of all the households on your street in support of the scheme, even if only a section of the street is affected by non-resident parking. The petition can then be presented to your Cllr or submitted to the Council... Only then can your local Area Committee authorise a survey to be carried out"

Page 7 gives an example of a petition; "We the UNDERSIGNED being residents of (name road or street) having read the new permit parking policy relating to the annual cost of permits, support the request ...."

That seems crystal clear that a PETITION is needed that contains the SIGNATURES of 51% or more of households in a whole street even for a part street for a scheme to be legally approved by Area Committee.

In fact I have before me the redacted petitions from streets such as Beech Av, Maxwell Av, Abergele St, Wembley Close and they closely follow the above requirements. I believe you were personally involved with some or all of the above so you would be aware of that.

However the approval process for Cromwell Rd does not follow this stated framework.

I have before me a Consultation Letter sent to Cromwell Rd residents on the 24th July 2007 by Traffic Services at the request of Cllr Bagnell. On the 20th August 2007 you received a letter, of which I have a copy, from one of the residents, presumably living in one of those 6 houses which eventually became the PPS, stating that his "survey of neighbours" had produced " a response (that) was extremely favourable" I presume that meant more than 51% of the whole street agreed to the 6 house scheme proposed in the letter and agreed to by you. I say agreed by you because you sent the letter to Traffic Services which was received by them on the 30th August. I am intrigued as to why, at this particular moment, you took over this relatively minor request which had been initiated by Cllr Bagnall.

The key fact that must be emphasised here is that the letter of 20th August contained the signature of ONLY the sender; none of the other residents had signed. In my view at this moment that letter could not be described as Petition as defined in the Policy and in the Booklet quoted above and you would know that point and that it was totally dissimilar to all the other Petitions you had handled for the above quoted streets.

Slightly diverging I have absolutely no problem that these houses should have been given the protection of an RPS. In fact they should have been given that protection in 2002 when they first asked for a scheme, ironically with a signed petition of which I have a copy and the related correspondence.

I asked Traffic Services why there was no signed Petition. Their written answer to me states " The redacted letter you have previously received has been accepted as a petition and is the only petition submitted to Traffic Services from residents of Cromwell Road in relation to permit parking."

I can't believe anyone in possession of the full facts would find that acceptable.
I don't see how a Council Policy is carefully drafted with specific safeguards to maintain democratic integrity is casually put aside in one instance when someone judges the means might justify the end. It doesn't matter that a satisfactory result has been achieved; someone has broken the legally stated rules and especially in a 4 Star Plus Council this cannot be tolerated.
I would expect you as an elected Cllr to agree with those sentiments I have just expressed and therefore would ask

1 Who was it that agreed to ignore the rules.?

2 Had this acceptance of the unsigned letter as a properly signed petition previously been brought to your attention?

3 Are there any more streets where this error might have occurred?

4 Whilst the end result is good what are you going to do to make sure this does not happen again?

5 As I say the end result is good but residents have paid for protection when they should not have been asked for money. Should they have an apology and a refund?

I would like to say this is the only legal problem with the Scheme but unfortunately it isn't. I think we should clear this mess up before we go onto the next errors.

Kind Regards


XXXX"





"The killer clause means the 30 or so houses in Beech Av will make the
5000 or so houses in 107 RPS streets either pay or disband within the
year. The clause is there, I'm told, because there cannot be 2
Schemes 1 paying and 1 free in the Same town. Seems to make sense
otherwise someone in Beech Av who now has to pay but didn't vote for
the Scheme could justifiably complain, Why am I paying when others
don't to get exactly the same service?"



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