Thursday, 15 December 2011

Parking - the Local Implementation Plan ("LIP")

Back in 2005 the LIP was written and set out council policy on various matters including in Chapter 7, the Parking Enforcement Plan. You can find it here on the council website. The latest multi year plan was recently consulted on. You might struggle to relate some of the policy to reality.

Parking and Enforcement Plan

As a large outer-London borough Barnet has a considerable variety in its make-up. Vibrant diverse local centres of both town centre scale and smaller local centres depend on custom to remain in business and residents and visitors need to have access to a full range of leisure, cultural, and recreational activities and local services. It is inevitable that in a borough with high car ownership many people will seek to use their cars to do this, and this may lead to significant congestion unless parking is adequately managed at destinations. Delete the word "vibrant"; substitute "half-empty"?

Barnet has many railway and underground stations within its boundary, and these will attract commuter-parking by people continuing their journey on public transport. This can have a significant negative effect on local communities around stations. The parking and enforcement plan informs the manner in which these issues are addressed. I disagree with demonising commuters. We should be welcoming them to Barnet in the hope that they stop and shop here. If you live in the countryside near to Barnet where else would you travel from?


Barnet Council manages parking with the aim of maximising movement through the easement of congestion caused by inconsiderate and inappropriate parking, to make it easier for residents to park near their homes and to increase the turnover of parking to help users of local services, businesses and shops. Not with the intention of maximising income which seems to have crept into the equation?

One element of non-essential car journeys is that of commuters driving into the borough and parking on-street near stations to continue a journey - typically into central London. Barnet controls the amount of parking which is available to commuters and thus seeks to reduce this movement by means of controlled zones that provide primarily parking for those with a need to be in the area such as residents, local businesses and visitors including shoppers. 13 tube or Railtrack stations currently have CPZs associated with them. We are lucky to have such good transport links. Maybe a better solution would be to provide large reasonably priced car parks near to stations?

Overall an aim of parking controls is to create a safer environment for all road users making it more attractive to those who wish to walk, cycle and use public transport, whilst providing for necessary vehicle use (including motorcycles which are recognised to be an efficient use of road space). Barnet does not seem to have done well on the safety front. There is scant provision for cyclists; cycle lanes that stop at bus stops are stupid, pointless and dangerous.

In accordance with the RTRA 1984 the Council will have regard to seeking the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of vehicular and other traffic (including pedestrians) and to provide suitable and adequate parking facilities on and off the highway. This does not seem to have been the case at the Oakleigh Road North traffic lights where road traffic movement seems to have been given priority over pedestrians.

Barnet recognises that the continued vibrancy and diversity of services offered in its town centres and smaller retail and mixed-use areas depends on access by all who wish to use them. A balance must be found that encourages people to use local businesses in preference to out-of-town retail developments and this will be reflected in the provision of parking which encourages turnover whilst retaining facilities for loading and for the disabled. Access is being denied by insisting on cashless parking.
Car ownership is an aspiration of many who perhaps see it as granting freedoms they would not enjoy without it. Even if changes cause people to make less use of their cars, they will still wish to park them near to their homes and although Barnet has a great deal of between-wars development with driveways and off-street parking, in much of the Authority the only parking option is on the highway. The implementation of controlled parking zones and high charges are pushing more people to ruin the borough by concreting over their front gardens.

The Council is committed to consultation on parking controls. The local community and elected Members are involved in the process. Very little consultation is seen once a CPZ is in place.

The Council aims to be inclusive in its consultation and proposed CPZs and most other proposed parking restrictions will be the subject of direct mailings to households and businesses in a consultation area as well as street notices and statutory advertisements. Whilst the Council will have regard to petitions submitted, greatest weight is given to the views expressed through returned questionnaires as by this means the Council can be assured that the person participating was doing so without the pressures of a person canvassing for signatures. People take note. Fill in questionnaires. Go round the streets and encourage others to do the same!

The Council will consult at a formative stage of the process and is receptive to all possible outcomes including those which substantially alter the proposal, or which result in no scheme being implemented. Which area managed to avoid a CPZ?

After implementation all CPZs will be reviewed in the light of operational experience during which period the Council will encourage those affected to make representations about the scheme. This may result in changes being implemented. Look at your CPZ. If not reviewed ever, demand one but consult your neighbours first and decide what you want, maybe only a 1 hour a day restriction instead of all day?.

Overall it is therefore expected that car ownership is set to significantly rise in the Borough. However the current situation is that the borough's CPZs are able to accommodate the vehicles owned by residents that cannot be kept off-street and the permit pricing strategy and maximum entitlement is suitable for this purpose. Did something happen in April 2011 such that permit prices had to rise from £40 to £100 and visitor vouchers from £1 to £4 ?


In designating parking the Council sets charges for permits, vouchers and for paid-parking. In setting the former the Council recognises that the ownership of a permit gives the holder a right to use a vacant parking space - a right that a person without a permit does not have. This right has a value and Barnet therefore may set a permit charge that is greater than that required to cover the operational costs of running a permit parking scheme. The same principle applies to vouchers. This was not the basis on which CPZs were introduced.

The Council recognises that parking charges must not be set for the purpose of raising revenue. So why have they been?
The pay and display charge is set to encourage a turnover of parking. The Council has adopted a principle of setting a standard tariff structure across the borough, but has a range of maximum stay period from 1 hour to 4 hours and, where capacity is sufficient, for a period corresponding to the full permitted parking hours of the parking place. Car parks, apart from 3 for permit holders and 6 that are still free, all have all day hours. The two car parks in east Barnet Road used to be free and that kept the road clear. Now people are more likely to park in the side roads and walk. The permit holders only Strafford Rd car park only holds about 10 cars.

A hierarchy of parking need informs the design process and generally parking provision reflects parking need in the following order:
(i)    Disabled people.
(ii) Suppliers of goods and services.
(iii) Local residents and their visitors.
(iv) Businesses, their clients, customers and shoppers.
In consulting on parking controls, the Council considers that the views of those directly affected, ie frontagers of streets subject to the proposals have the greatest weight when consideration is given to representations and comments. However, all views expressed through the consultation process will be given consideration. Many streets within CPZs are now more or less empty because the controls operate all day and the space is thus wasted and the cars have to move further out from the middle.

Barnet has a three-year rolling programme of consultation and implementation of CPZs. In theory.
Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

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