'Persuasive arguments on parking are being ignored'
After a delay of over six months, Bristol City Council has published its assessment of the online Bishopston and St Andrews parking survey carried out in December 2019, giving views on parking in streets either side of the south end of Gloucester Road.
Residents say the letter from cabinet Councillor Kye Dudd appears to leave many questions unanswered, causing frustration to those who have been asking for help with parking problems in the area for a number of years.
Councillor Dudd writes: “In the Bishopston and St Andrews survey area, responses were received from 1,282 properties, out of 3,315 properties in the survey area - a response rate of only 39%.
"When we came into office, we were clear that we would only extend existing Residents Parking Schemes if they were led by local councillors with overwhelming support of residents in the areas affected and it is difficult to make a case for an overwhelming support when a little more than a third of homes responded. It appears that residents are not overwhelmingly in favour of a new RPS except in one small area where the level of support has affected the wider result.”
The response rate of 39% is high for a consultation. Support for a parking scheme was indicated from 60% of respondents, with 70% wanting junctions to be protected from rogue parking.
Nevertheless, the letter from Councillor Dudd says the council will not take action on parking, except perhaps for junction protection, and a small area that may be added to a neighbouring parking scheme.
Ward councillor Martin Fodor said: “‘I’m as frustrated as many residents are by this letter, as it doesn’t give any concrete way forward. It implies the recently reviewed, self financing parking schemes will again be reviewed but the area where a new scheme has majority support won’t get attention. It also flies in the face of officer guidance to suggest a small extension to a parking scheme which would instantly create parking pressures in adjacent streets.
“Managing parking in areas with parking rage and conflicts would be so much easier while commuting is reduced and there’s a government budget for innovative travel measures to be introduced in the city. Holding up action for several more years on a vague promise that things could be looked at again is quite irresponsible.
“I’d like a serious response: some technical support to assess local evidence and work up options to manage streets better. We were trying to do this three years ago when neighbourhood partnerships with a budget were abolished. It seems the survey gave residents a false hope of action but now we’re back to square one.”
Speaking on behalf of the Bishopston and St Andrews Parking Group (BOSA), Paul Bullivant said: “After nearly three years of research and lobbying, BOSA is disappointed that Councillor Dudd believes that the results of the recent parking survey do not prove the case for some radical action on traffic and parking in the area, including the possibility of a Residents' Parking Scheme.
“Considering that the survey was run over the Christmas and New Year period when many students are away, a General Election was taking place and that the survey was conducted online, the return of 39% was impressive. It is certainly more than would be expected at local authority elections, or at council consultations which appear to average a 10% return, and is above the average return rate of a commercial on-line survey at 30%. Also, the number of people voting for an RPS at 60% is persuasive and matches the results of other research in the area.
“BOSA will continue to work with local councillors to find solutions to the increasing problems of traffic and parking in our neighbourhood. But if our Council supports the ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods’ initiative and is serious about its commitment to active travel and clean air, BOSA hopes that Councillor Dudd will be prepared to move beyond an ‘ongoing conversation’! Residents of St. Andrews and Bishopston, and of other parts of the city, have been talking with our council for over three years and meanwhile the problems of traffic and parking continue to increase.
“This decision has generated a great deal of disappointment and frustration among residents who obviously want to know how our council plans to address these severe and growing problems that threaten our health, our safety and the quality of our lives.”