Stevenage Old Town residents continue fight against parking permits
PUBLISHED: 10:42 08 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:28 13 October 2020
Residents of a Stevenage street have raised concerns over the council’s consultation into implementing parking permits in their road, stating their own research contradicts that of the council.
Stevenage Borough Council plans to implement parking permits in nine residential roads in the Old Town, including Stanmore Road, which often sees a high turnaround of cars parked by those using the GP surgery.
After completing a survey with their immediate neighbours, Andy Prior and Sean Milwood of Stanmore Road began asking residents in surrounding streets also subject to parking permits how they feel.
According to the council’s Old Town Parking Survey findings – carried out in 2019 – there was a “strong demand for permit parking in Albert Street, Basils Road, Grove Road, Southend Close, Stanmore Road and Victoria Close”.
The survey’s total response rate for the whole of the Old Town was 17 per cent, with the response rate of the affected area of 451 homes at 49 per cent. Of those addresses, 76 per cent were in favour of the scheme.
Permit support including non-responses showed 37 per cent were for the permits, 11 per cent were against, two per cent did not state and 50 per cent provided no response.
The consultation period for the scheme ran from January 26 to February 14 2019.
Based on this, the council gave the permit scheme the green light, which would mean anyone parking in the affected streets without a permit could be subject to a fine.
However, Andy and his neighbour Sean Milwood took to the streets with their own questionnaire, with the aim of getting at least an 80 per cent response rate.
In Stanmore Road, there was an 83 per cent response rate, and 13 per cent in favour of the scheme, while in Walkern Road 82 per cent responded, with 15 per cent in favour.
In Grove Road, 37 per cent of people wanted permits, out of the 80 per cent of households which responded.
For Basils Road, 37 per cent are for the permits, 38 per cent against, five per cent undecided.
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Andy said: “As you can see based on our greater response rate, this permit scheme is not wanted by the majority of residents/voters.
“The issue is space more than anything – most houses have two or three cars.
“The general consensus on the questionnaire – having upwards of 400 responses – was that if the old Waitrose car park continued to be free there wouldn’t be an issue with parking in the Old Town.
“I can’t see how in the middle of a pandemic they can make this decision. Everyone has been told to work at home and there should be the common sense to not do anything and know the facts.
“There’s lots of commuters parking in our streets, but most people aren’t going to London – if they aren’t going to London, it’s the residents parking.
In Stanmore Road, there are two nurseries, which have pick up and drop off at 9am, 12noon and 3pm – something else Andy and some of his neighbours are conscious of.
“They have an issue with permits and it’ll have a massive impact on the businesses,” Andy added.
“We put flyers through every door encouraging people to make any sort of comment, and got a lot of responses back.”
So far the residents have been told that the only was to lift the decision will be to take the issue to the High Court. Jody Hanafin, a Conservative councillor representing the Old Town, has listened to their concerns and agreed to meet with them.
Andy is yet to hear back from other councillors – Jim Brown and Loraine Rossati – which represent the ward.
READ MORE: Stevenage Old Town parking permits – the nine roads affected if plans go ahead
Since Stevenage Borough Council’s initial consultation, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown has changed the working and social lives of many of us.
The council has taken steps of help draw more business to the Old Town since the partial lifting of the lockdown, for example, blocking off a number of spaces in the High Street to enable the Standing Order pub, Costa, and Angelique to accommodate outdoor diners.
It has also made the former Waitrose car park in Primett Road free for up to three hours for the next five months.
The Comet has approached Stevenage Borough Council for comment and is awaiting its response.
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