On Tuesday, I posted that the Council had listened to local residents and that the recommendation to last night's meeting of the Traffic Management Cabinet Committee would be not to proceed with the proposed extension of the hours of operation of the outer zones of the Croydon Controlled Parking Zone (apart from in a few roads around Mayday Hospital, which are not in my constituency but where residents apparently want something done).
As promised, I attended last night's meeting just to make sure the right decision was made and I was invited to speak. I made three points.
First, I thanked the Council for listening. Previous administrations have not done that (which is how we ended up with the existing 8am-midnight restrictions in the central zone) and many people told me that they thought this consultation was a sham and the decision was already taken. It's good to know that was not the case and I think the fact that they have listened will do a lot to restore people’s faith in local democracy.
Second, I said that the Council's method of informing people - advertising in the local paper and putting notices on lamp posts - was inadequate. I delivered a letter to every home in my constituency in the affected area and I know many residents associations and groups also leafleted and canvassed door-to-door. Without these efforts, many people would not have known about the proposals. A Council officer pointed out that the Council's approach was in line with the minimum standards set out in law. But I know my Conservative colleagues on the Council want to make Croydon one of the best councils in the country. In future, the Council needs to do better than the bare minimum when it consults.
Third, I suggested that the Council considered changing the names of the outer zones. You may think this is a matter of semantics but names are important. The current names make officers think that these areas are part of central Croydon. But they are not. No-one parks in Outram Road or Lloyd Park Avenue to shop in central Croydon or go there for a night out. Walk round these roads and the bays are full of residents' cars or those belonging to people who are visiting them. The Council didn't propose any changes to the other Controlled Parking Zones around the borough. If we renamed the outer zones the Addiscombe Controlled Parking Zone, the Park Hill Controlled Parking Zone etc it will help to instill in officers' minds that these are residential areas, not part of the town centre.
Anyway, I am pleased to report that the Committee agreed the recommendations so there will be no changes anywhere in my constituency. Once again, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to object and the residents’ associations and groups who made sure everyone was aware of the proposals – without such strong public support, we wouldn’t have been able to convince the Council to change its mind.