Wednesday, 26 August 2015

What do you think about the new Redlands area parking scheme?

Residents' parking signRedlands councillors have recently published plans for a large parking scheme across Old Redlands. In Redlands Green campaigner Kizzi Murtagh has also been working on parking problems and so we welcome these draft proposals for discussion however we also have concerns.

Below are links to a plan view of each road, from Redlands councillors, details of the exhibition and our concerns.

Let us know what you think and if you would like us to update you on further developments by email. You can do this by emailing me:

Overview plan

Erleigh Road plan

Kendrick Road plan

Allcroft Road plan

Morgan Road

Redlands Road plan

Redlands Road plan A3

Erleigh, Denmark and Alexandra roads plan

Addington Road plan

Upper Redlands Road plan

Elmhurst Road plan

Alexandra Road plan

Eldon Square plan

Donnington Road and Blenheim Road plan

Cardigan, Foxhill, Blenheim Gardens, Hatherley and Donnington Gardens plan

Redlands councillors have organised a drop-in exhibition on the scheme, details below.

When: Monday 28 September 2015 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Where: St Lukes Church Hall, Erleigh Road

This scheme is a "draft for discussion". What do you think? My general thoughts are below.

Alternatives to private car ownership

Having knocked on many doors in the Old Redlands area recently it is not clear to me that residents' parking on its own will solve parking problems in the area. More work is needed on making alternatives to the car more attractive, thereby reducing car ownership, such as: better walking and cycling infrastructure (joined up cycle network), expansion of the Co-Wheels car sharing scheme, and cheaper bus fares.

Displaced parking

As always with permit parking, this scheme will create problems around its edges. We have again asked if Redlands councillors will work with us on this so we can minimise the impact on Park Ward residents. Either way, we will be working with residents to pre-empt any problems.

Visitors' hours

Some proposed residents' parking bays do not have any visitors' hours meaning that residents may go through their visitors' permits very quickly and end up having to buy more. More information on the council's website here:

Reduction in parking spaces

Some roads will lose 50% of their parking which will cause problems for people.

Hospital and University

Pressure also needs to be continued on the Hospital and University to get them to do their bit.

What do you think of the proposals? We will keep working with residents to improve the local area.


tom.burns said...

If this goes ahead Reading Council will be forcing people from their homes. I live in a house share on Blenheim Road - there are four of us in total and three of us have a car. We chose Reading as a place to live because it was a good location for all our universities/jobs. I have to regularly commute to Oxford and Newbury. My partner regularly to Swindon, and our other housemate uses his car to get to work in Wokingham. I understand he could get the bus there but he also needs his car to visit family in the North.

A permit scheme would limit us to two cars per household. The reason we chose to live here was because the road could accommodate our parking needs. This would force us to move elsewhere and if the scheme came into force before our lease ends we would be stumped.

The Green party recognise that there is a housing crisis in this country. For young people it is almost impossible to get onto the housing market. In order to get somewhere to live that is affordable we house share, which often requires that we live fairly far from where we work. In pushing ahead with this policy the council are doing a disservice to it's citizens.

I understand that there are problems with parking in redlands and on my road, however I think the main problem is when people park their cars poorly causing an obstruction in the road. Most people park their cars well - on my road we park our cars fully on the road on the right and up the kerb on the left. This allows cars to easily pass. However some people park their cars with no thought to the vehicles that have to pass. Better enforcement of badly parked cars would be much more beneficial than imposing rules that would force people to move out.

Rob White said...

Thanks for your comments Tom. Yes this scheme would unfortunately create problems for you. The Green Party wants to see more investment in alternatives to the car, such as public transport, which would make some of the journeys you mention possible, more easily, by public transport. In the meantime we support tackling problems using the powers that are available in the fairest possible fashion. Residents' parking is one of the few tools the council has, so we think a scheme is worth exploring. You should definitely contact the Redlands councillors with your views.

My guess is that even if things went smoothly it would take the council between six months and one year to get the scheme up and running. In similar situations in the past we have helped people, caught mid-tenancy, to get an extra discretionary parking permit to see them through to the end of their tenancy.

I agree that better enforcement of badly parked cars would also help, but on its own I don't think it will resolve parking problems.

John resident of Cardigan road said...

These parking proposals will be a disaster for our community.
Most of the high density roads will have parking cut by 50% as parking will only be permitted on one side of the road.
The council will happily issue permits for all qualifying residents. The permit only gives you the right to park once you have found the space. The real problem will be the lack of space once you remove half the current capacity.
At the moment when I drive into my road and there is a single space then there is no problem. If I arrive minutes later after another resident has just parked then there is a parking problem. This proposed change will mean most residents do not find spaces.
I can only imagine that the current proposals are made as a softening up exercise before being scaled back to fundraising parking meters near the hospital.

Rob White said...

Thanks for the comment John. Yes I agree that the scheme will create problems for people living in roads which will lose 50% of their parking. We will keep working for a better scheme.

Molly said...

As a student at the university, I believe that this scheme will be damaging not only to us but the university whose presence supports local business' and employs many people around reading.

I require my car to travel to my work placements and to my Sports commitments outside of reading. I am female and unfortunately do not feel safe to travel on the bus alone at night to get home.

Although I am in a position where I would be eligible for a permit as my parents own the house I live in and do help me financially, I have many friends in similar situations who can not realistically reregister their car each year to their homes or afford to pay for the permits.

I feel that it must be accepted that students are part of the community here. As such a large part of the population, we contribute a huge amount financially to the local economy, to landlords renting houses, to house prices, and in so many more ways. the proposals are realistically going to hit students hardest, and the negatives for us would be disproportionately great compared to the negatives for the rest of the populace.

I also do not believe that cutting 50% of the parking on our street would solve any problems as although most students wouldn't get permits, I have been here throughout the summer when most students were home and the parking situation remains unchanged as term has started.

Rob White said...

Thanks for your comments Molly. Yes I agree that cutting the parking by up to 50% in some roads will be a disaster for the area.

On the subject of affordability, residents' parking unfortunately hits all low income groups. The first permit is free though and someone who cannot afford a permit could always try applying for a discretionary one asking that the fee be waived. I agree that this is not ideal.

It would be far better if we got decent investment from the government into alternatives to the car, this would reduce car ownership and the need to introduce the scheme in the first place.

John resident of Cardigan road said...

I was reading the budget consultation leaflet today. Spending cuts and rising demand for services means working more efficiently but also "Looking at ways to create additional income will also form part of the proposals" Future charging for permits would be a very low cost to the council to implement as they already have the administration structures in place. It would raise significant sums at even modest "administration" charges. (say 400 permits per road at £50 each) Most car owners already pay over a hundred pounds a year in road fund duty. The resident permit will be an additional tax to park near your home. I know one part of London where books of visitor permits were given to residents and then they could buy more if they wanted to. After a few years they then started charging for the first book of visitor permits.

Rob White said...

John, yes, all true. Labour have a proposal to increase the cost of the second permit this year.

As I say in my original post, what we really need a significant investment from the government in sustainable, healthy alternatives to the car to reduce the pressure on roads and parking.

Dysanovic said...

Removing half of the parking spaces from the terraced streets in the Redlands area is utter madness.

Why not instead make the 50% of the spaces which have been proposed to be made pay and display into residents parking?

The scheme as it stands just looks like a giant money making scheme for the council who have no thought for the residents. The hospital and University should be taking more responsibility for the amount of cars being brought to the area; this scheme just looks like a cheap way for these bodies to avoid having to spend any money to help address the problem.

My property have already been devalued by the Article 4 direction (note that I am a homeowner, not a landlord) and this scheme will devalue it further.

My worry is that the council who come up with these hair-brained plans don't provide any means for the public to consult (note that I went to Erleigh Church meeting, none of the residents views were being captured by the council or democratic parties), and the democratic parties will probably be toothless in stopping the scheme.

Finally, if the council has spent well over a year to come up with this scheme, but they cant print a plan where the legend matches the map, what hope do they have to get this scheme right?...

Rob White said...

Dysanovic, yes, I agree cutting the spaces will create more problems than the scheme solves. I don't think the council will go for pay and display on the other side because transport planners say that the roads are too narrow.

Arun said...

I live in Lancaster close and we already have problems with cars parked on both sides of the road by drivers visiting the hospital or commuting to London. If Allcroft road is converted to a pay and display the parking problem on our street will become untenable. We will then be forced to ask the council to introduce a no parking scheme which was proposed in the past but rejected since it inconveniences the parents parking on our street to drop children at the Abbey.

As Rob said this proposal moves the problem along to the fringes without resolving it. It will only result in further restrictions put on the fringe roads in the near future.

Dysanovic said...

I recently found out the the pay and display areas will also be a residents parking area. The council should make this more apparent as I was unaware. This makes the scheme much more acceptable and one which I now would vouch for. However, the university and hospital should take more responsibility for the cars they attract to this area and the council should force them to.

Rob White said...

Dysanovic, on the overview plan only the pink roads are both pay-and-display and residents' parking. According to the key the red roads are only pay-and-display.

I think the scheme would work better for residents if all pay-and-display roads were also residents' parking roads. But this still doesn't tackle some of the other fundamental problems with the scheme – like some of the narrow terraced roads, with no offstreet parking, losing 50% of their parking.

Dysanovic said...

Hi Rob, thanks for the reply.

Yes, soon after I posted I noticed that the pay and display zones in the main terraced areas are not shared with residents which is ridiculous. I too completely agree that they should be shared, and if they were not I would strongly reject the proposal. I don't drive everyday, which means that I wouldn't be able to leave my car parked in my street and I'd have nowhere nearby to move it to.