Headington car park charges soar to new heights

Residents tell us they strongly oppose the huge car parking charge rises for the Headington and St Leonard’s Road car parks. The Neighbourhood Plan called for 30 minutes free parking with stepped charges thereafter.

Altaf set out your concerns at the last City Executive Board meeting but the Labour Group decided to retain the suggested proposals for the following tariffs:

£2:00   0-1 hours

£2:50   1-2 hours

This was discussed again at yesterday’s Council Budget meeting. The Lib Dem budget amendment included mitigation of the proposed charges, and Ruth spoke to this but the amendment was voted down by the Labour Group and the Green group abstained.

It was still possible to submit individual budget lines for debate, and we tried again – Altaf spoke in favour and Ruth summed up. This was for a budget line that would peg the increase to:

£1.70   0-1 hours

£2.20   1-2 hours

That budget line of £52K would be made up of savings to the car parks resurfacing budget for 2018-19.

Once again the single line amendment was voted down by the Labour Group.

Some comments were made about Waitrose shoppers by a Labour councillor which some people in the chamber found offensive. Independent Cllr Mick Haines spoke in favour of the Lib Dem amendment.

The car park charges coming into effect will be:

£2.00   0-1 hour

£2.50   1-2 hours

Signs will go up in the car parks in March/April alerting people to the changes and asking people to comment before the charge is increased.

Expiry dates on visitor parking permits

We have had enquiries from two people about current batches of car parking permits being dated 2016/2017/2018. This means that the permits themselves expire in 10 months, and residents will need to apply again at Christmas.

Here is the response from the County Council’s Parking team.

Visitor permits dated 2018,2019 & 2020 are in production as we speak.

The first batch of 25 issued from the existing stock 2016, 2017 & 2018 are for 6 months therefore should the resident apply for their second allocation ( Aug/Sept time) they will be issued permits from our new stock.

Of course there may be some residents that find 25 are enough to cover them for a full year therefore in this instance any returned permits will be replaced. Replacing permits will strictly apply to those who have not obtained a second allocation during their permit year.

We have asked for better information on the website. It seems strange that Resident Parking Zone parking permits stretch from year to year, but visitors’ permits have a cut off date. We have asked for parking permits to be colour coded to aid enforcement officers but have not yet received a response.

 

UPDATE

We learn that the replacement of unused visitor permits is not advertised. Why not?

It is very uncommon that a resident returns the unused/expired permits and it is not advertised. Residents over the age of 70 ( and who qualify for their second set free of charge) should be encouraged to apply for this second set instead of attempting to replace existing permits.

Latest stats on parking infringements in Sandfield Road

We have been asked by residents to check how regularly the civil enforcement officers patrol in Sandfield Road. Here are the latest figures from the County Council.

The statistics for the last 6 months from 01/07/2017 to 18/01/2018 for Sandfield Rd are as follows:

  Visits – 723         

Vehicles Logged – 156      

Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) Issued – 42      

Vehicles driven away before a PCN has been issued – 5

There are some poor markings in some areas which make the enforcement of certain bays difficult, and these have been reported to Highways.

Regarding cars switching every two hours, seemingly what the drivers have been doing is swapping their vehicles around between free bays and moving before the parking period expires.  Unfortunately, as they are moving to a different marked free bay our CEO’s have to start their observation periods again. 

NSL has been requested to monitor the situation and increase patrols.

Anger as Headington shoppers face 47% increase in car park charge

Residents are protesting against proposals to increase the minimum charge for parking from £1.70 to £2.50 in the City Council-owned Headington and St Leonard’s Road Car Parks. Some have called this “A tax on Waitrose shoppers.”

Businesses are worried that this hike in charges will deter customers from shopping in Headington, and using its services and restaurants.

The proposals for increased car park charges were published in budget documents released for public consultation by Labour’s City Executive Board on 20th December. (1, 2)

Oxpens minimum parking charges are frozen as it competes with new Westgate parking facilities but suburban car parks face substantial rises.

The proposals are out for public comment until 28th January.

Altaf comments, “Many people are angry. The proposed rise in Headington’s 0-2 hour charge is much higher than in other City Council car parks. I am demanding that the Council withdraws this proposal and thinks again.”

Roz says, “I want to see Headington centre thriving, not priced out! The scale of the increase for 0-2 hours is outrageous. I am advising people to send in their objections to the City Council as soon as possible before the 28th January deadline, there is still time to get this changed.”

There are several ways in which the public can respond to the consultation:

  • Sign a petition at Headington Market from 10.00-12.00 on Sat 20 January, also available at various Headington shops including Monaco in Old High Street
  • Write comments down in a letter, mark it “Budget Consultation” and send it by 27th January to: Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, Oxford City Council, First floor St Aldate’s Chambers, OX1 1DS
  • Submit comments to the lengthy online consultation at https://consultation.oxford.gov.uk/consult.ti/budget2018/consultationHome

The Chief Executive will attend the next Headington Ward Focus meeting on Tuesday 30th January at the Headington Baptist Church, 98 Old High Street from 6:00-6:30pm

 

Source documents

(1)

http://mycouncil.oxford.gov.uk/documents/s39528/Appendix%207%20Fees%20Charges%2018-19.pdf

(2) http://mycouncil.oxford.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=14878#mgDocuments

Appendix 7 Fees and charges p130

 

Time restrictions on parking – a Manor Ground legacy?

A resident has asked why changes are being made to a Traffic regulation order in the Latimer Road area without including timing changes to parking restrictions in the Headington West Controlled Parking Zone – these currently show Saturday afternoon restrictions. The reply from the County Council may be of wider interest to those in the Highfield area so we are posting it up below.

We are aware of the anomalous situation within the Headington West CPZ in that many of the roads south of London Road have restrictions which were timed (both on Saturday afternoons and weekday evenings) to reflect the presence of the old Manor Ground. Indeed when we carried out a review of the Zone in around 2010 this was one of the main issues we sought to address. Unfortunately that review was never implemented, primarily due to the deterioration in Council finances, and  I am currently unaware when it will be revived. Were we to have proposed changes to the restriction timings in Bickerton and Stapleton Roads as part of the current very localised consultation there would no doubt have been criticism from residents in other streets within the CPZ that they were not included, and we do not currently have the resources to carry out a zone-wide consultation/review.

We have asked the officer to let us have an approximate cost for a zone-wide consultation and review so that this can be added to the infrastructure projects listed for potential funding from Community Infrastructure Levy monies.

Parking tickets in Headington streets

We have asked for reports on the number of times civil enforcement officers have visited Staunton Road, Sandfield Road and Windmill Road and how many penalty notices have been issued from January 1st to the 27 November 2017. Here is their reply.

PCN = Penalty Charge Notices

VDA = Vehicle Driven Away before a PCN could be issued

Windmill Road

Visits – 2,159

PCNs issued –  44

VDAs  –  64

Staunton Road

Visits – 1,487

PCNs issued –  26

VDAs –  38

Sandfield Rd

Visits –  1,424

PCNs Issued –  53

VDA – 26

Parking permits in Gathorne Road: response to consultation

The owner of flats which obtained planning permission on condition that they were car-free has applied to have eligibility for Controlled Parking Zone permits restored for his tenants. This arises from a recent appeal case in which the planning inspector found in his favour.

A consultation has just finished on whether the Traffic Order for Headington Central CPZ should be altered to include eligibility for tenants in these flats for parking permits.

Altaf and Ruth have sent the following response as City Councillors for Headington Ward. The final decision on whether this change will be approved will be made by Cllr Yvonne Constance at her Cabinet Member Decision meeting on the 12th October at County Hall.

If the change is approved, there will be more local pressure on the planning authority to turn down applications in roads well-served by public transport due to insufficient space for parking or resultant harm to neighbour amenity from additional parking pressure.

Submission to consultation re change to Headington Central controlled parking zone order: Wingfield House (Flats 1-6)

As city councillors for Headington Ward, we are writing to object most strongly to the proposed changes to the (HEADINGTON CENTRAL) (CONTROLLED PARKING ZONE AND VARIOUS RESTRICTIONS) (VARIATION No. 32) ORDER 20 which seeks to restore the above Gathorne Road properties to full permit eligibility. We set out our concerns below.

  • We believe that the County Council should not be encouraging the use of cars in areas that are excellently served by frequent public transport, especially at a time when the Access to Headington project is facilitating better space for cyclists, and when concerns from our residents about air quality in the area are increasing. The advent of Rapid Transit buses will improve travel for Headington residents still further, and there is a successful car-share scheme currently in operation in the area.
  • Applications to intensify or change the use of flats and HMOs in this area have been permitted by the planning authority including councillors on East Area Planning Committee only on condition that these are car-free developments. Gathorne Road is close to excellent public transport routes in and out of Oxford, the airports and London.
  • There are currently only 18 dwellings in Gathorne Road; on-road parking spaces are already under pressure both from existing permit-holders, and from hospital and care workers seeking to access the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and a Gathorne Road property for tenants with special needs. The removal of some on-road parking spaces in Windmill Road as part of the Access to Headington scheme is likely to shift parking to adjoining residential roads including Gathorne Road. The restoration of permit eligibility to tenants in these six properties would reduce on-road parking availability for current Gathorne Road permit-holders, and potentially shift parking pressure to St Anne’s Road nearby, thus impacting negatively on permit-holders there too.
  • We are anxious that this proposed change arising from what we feel to have been a questionable inspector decision does not serve as a precedent for the Headington area, which contains a very large number of shared houses, HMOs and flats which have only received permission for build or change of use on condition that they are car-free. We recognise that it is most unusual for a local authority to challenge an appeal decision by a planning inspector, but we feel that the arguments for exempting these properties from eligibility for the CPZ are overwhelming.

We urge the Cabinet Member to oppose this change and ask her to continue to exempt these properties from full permit eligibility in the Headington Central CPZ.

Altaf-Khan and Ruth Wilkinson             29/09/17

Here is the submission from County Cllr Roz Smith, submitted 3/10/17

Submission to consultation re change to Headington Central controlled parking zone order: Wingfield House (Flats 1-6), Gathorne Road, Headington, Oxford

 

With advice from Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council planning committee put a condition on this property that it should be exempt from parking permits, i.e. a car free development. The condition was sensible given the proximity of regular public transport, local services within easy walking distance, (GP, Dental, library, schools etc.) plus an active car sharing scheme.

The owner has now appealed this condition and it seems an ill-informed planning inspector found in his favour. This was a shock, given the pressure on the few residents parking spaces within Gathorne Road, nearby St Anne’s and Margaret Roads. If allowed, we could see as many as 12 more vehicles competing for the 18 spaces in Gathorne Road and the few spaces in surrounding area.

Many homes do not have off road parking and the Access to Headington project will see even more pressure when residential spaces in Windmill Road are removed. The detailed work around removal of parking spaces in Windmill Road undertaken by county officers with consultation with residents and local councillors will be undermined by allowing parking eligibility for the Wingfield House development.

The stated aim of Access to Headington is to encourage use of sustainable means of transport. If this change to the eligibility for parking permits is allowed then I envisaged a raft of appeals for changes to parking conditions within the City’s controlled parking zones.

I concur with my city councillor colleagues that if this change is approved then it will be more difficult for the local planning authority, (Oxford City Council), to turn down applications and for the County Council to further its aim of reducing the high volume of vehicle movements within the City.

I recognise it will be unusual, but not the first time, that a local authority to challenge an appeal decision by a planning inspector. However, I feel the arguments for exempting these properties from the eligibility for parking permits in the Headington CPZ are overwhelming and I urge the Cabinet member to continue the exemption for this development.

Cllr Roz Smith

County Councillor for Headington & Quarry

Notice of proposal to change parking in Latimer Road

The County Council has given notice of proposals to amend the traffic regulation order for parking in Latimer Road pursuant to the conditions given to planning consent for the Beech House development and adjacent maisonettes.

Here is the map of what is proposed. Comments must be directed to

Traffic and Road Safety Team (Ref.MR) for Director for Communities, Oxfordshire County Council, County Hall, Oxford, OX1 1ND

by the 29th September

 

Parking in Woodlands Close during Southern Gas works

We were alerted to works coming up in the Woodlands Close area as follows:

Woodlands Close, Oxford, Oxfordshire
14 September — 30 October
Delays unlikely Some carriageway incursion
Works location:  The Whole Of Woodlands Close
Works description:  Relay Approximately 160 Metres Of 4″ Di With 75mm Pelp + Associated Services
Responsibility for works:  SGN
Current status:  Planned work about to start

Woodlands Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire
14 September — 30 October
Delays unlikely Traffic control (give & take)
Works location:  Jct Franklin Road To Jct Of Sandfield Road – C/W F/W Verge
Works description:  To Abandon 350m Of 4″/6″2″ Si And Replace With Similar Of 90/140/63 Plus Associated Services And Connections
Responsibility for works:  SGN
Current status:  Planned work about to start

We contacted County Streetworks who gave us the contact number for Southern Gas’s contractor. We asked about the implications for resident parking during the works and have received this reply:

We don’t anticipate to restrict parking on Woodlands Road but we may have some slight impact on Woodlands Close. We have applied for a number of parking dispensations for the residents which may be affected by our works and will be in full communication with these at all points during our works.

We have the contact number for the contractor so if anyone has concerns, please get in touch and we will resolve these directly with SPIE Distribution and Transmission.

Parking entitlement in car-free developments

Should permission be granted to build car-free accommodation in Headington?

If you agree, then should anyone moving into that accommodation be entitled to ask retrospectively for CPZ visitor permits?

This is a hot topic in Headington. Currently those living in “car-free” accommodation are not eligible for parking permits but a planning inspector has ruled in the favour of a developer who has asked retrospectively for the decision on one of his flats to be overruled.

This and other issues of concern will be debated in the Open Session at our next Ward Focus Meeting on Tuesday 26th September at 6pm in Headington Baptist Church Hall after the presentation by the Police and Crime Commissioner.