Saturday, August 08, 2009

Flawed CPZ Consultation ...

Consultation for a CPZ?
How quaint. Some councils think that you can stick a few signs up and not tell anyone and create an 'instant' CPZ.

Residents were let down by ‘flawed consultation’
Ealing failed to stress the risks of CPZ?parking displacement, says Ombudsman
7 Aug 2009 Issue 209
Parking Review

Ombudsman Tony Redmond

Ealing council’s consultation exercise for a controlled parking zone (CPZ) failed to make residents aware of the risks of displacement parking, according to the Local Government Ombudsman. Tony Redmond said the scheme had caused parking problems for residents left out of the CPZ.
The questionnaire sent to residents by the council did not give enough information to enable them to make an informed decision, stated Redmond.

The local authority committed “maladministration leading to injustice”, he said. Ealing resident ‘Mr Shah’ (not his real name) took the case to the ombudsman. The resident lives on ‘Sheffield Road’, which was excluded from the scheme. The council said that 86% of questionnaire respondents on the street were opposed to the scheme. However, just 13% of residents on Sheffield Road had responded to the survey.

Redmond learned that a plan to re-consult residents of six roads excluded from the scheme never took place, although the council recognised the adverse impact of displacement parking. Two of the roads were then included in the scheme, but not Mr Shah’s.

Mr Shah told the ombudsman that he frequently had to park several streets away from his home. The council accepted that some residents may be facing parking problems, but said its policy was to review a CPZ after 12 months of it being in place. Redmond said: “I find the council’s reluctance to bring forward its review unhelpful. It was apparent from the start the CPZ would cause problems for neighbouring streets, and this was confirmed very quickly after it was implemented when the council had received three petitions.”

The council argued that residents were warned about the possibility of displacement parking at a locally held exhibition. However, Redmond challenged this, saying that staging an exhibition did not make up for the “deficiencies” in the questionnaire. “This reflects the fact that the latter was sent to 1,447 addresses within the affected area, whereas no more than 100 people visited the exhibition,” said Redmond.

He ordered Ealing to pay Mr Shah £500 to reflect the fact that he was denied the “opportunity to make a fully informed decision on the proposed CPZ in December 2006, and for the delay in carrying out a review of the CPZ”.

The council was told to pay Mr Shah a further £500 to reflect the “time and trouble” he had experienced in pursuing his complaint.
“There is no doubt that the CPZ introduced in the area around Sheffield Road has had an adverse effect on parking in that road and on other roads in the surrounding area,” said Redmond. “This was an effect that had been foreseen by the council. On that basis, it seems to me that the documentation sent out as part of the consultation exercise was deficient in not drawing the attention of the recipients to the possibility of displacement parking on streets left out of the CPZ.”
Redmond criticised the council for delaying in reviewing the CPZ and for merely stating that residents would be consulted “sometime during the coming months”.
An Ealing council spokesman said: “We don't agree with some elements of the ombudsman's report, but we will accept the judgment. We will carry out the actions recommended by him.”

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