In just three weeks 1151 residents have responded to the informal controlled parking zone consultation launched by Jon Cruddas MP, with 989 completing an online survey, 54 direct emails and 108 responses by post. 86% of constituents taking part said they did not support the scheme and 70% of people have expressed that there was poor communication between the community and council, with many pointing out the unfortunate timing of the consultation when residents were preoccupied with the pandemic. Concerns have also been raised about a lack of clear information regarding the position of carers, blue badge holders, and other possible dispensations.
The Dagenham and Rainham MP said: "I am afraid the council have failed to appreciate the strength of concern across the Rylands Estate with an unprecedented (86%) opposed to the scheme. During the initial consultation, whilst 87% opposed the scheme only 8% of people took part. This shows that the exclusively online consultation system being used on these schemes is flawed and must be revisited, we had a situation where residents preoccupied during the pandemic didn't respond and were being counted as ‘in support'. That can't be right."
Jon went on to explain: "If the council aren't willing to conduct a thorough consultation on CPZs then I'm afraid I will have to independently consult on every scheme proposed across Dagenham. When the policy was announced I was told that it would only be introduced where the community genuinely wanted it – this is clearly not the case. People don't feel like they are being listened to and this is now a matter of upholding local democracy."
Based on the responses Jon Cruddas MP is calling on the council to deliver/address the following:
- Where a CPZ has already been implemented there must be a meaningful six-month review of the scheme. The review must be properly conducted with multiple response options to ensure all residents get a say.
- If, following review, the majority of residents are unhappy with the scheme it should be scrapped without onward enforcement.
- Future consultations on CPZ implementation must be thorough, setting a participation baseline which prevents schemes being pushed through on a poll of 5-10% of residents with those not participating assumed to be in support.
- Consultation should include a hardcopy survey for residents to return in conjunction with telephone and online options to maximise input and participation.
- Charges for new drop-kerbs should not be taken from residents where a controlled parking zone is due to be introduced.
- Where drop-kerb payments have been taken less than six months prior to the introduction of a CPZ, residents should be refunded as fees were taken under false pretences.
- The council must revise their diesel vehicle policy. Under the ULEZ Euro 6 diesel vehicles purchased after 2016 are emission compliant. In Barking and Dagenham, the same vehicles face a £75 surcharge for parking if registered before 2018.
- Special dispensations should be made for carers, health visitors and other service providers whereby visitor permits do not need to be purchased for access to a CPZ. It must also be made clear who is entitled to free permits.
- The council should be flexible about enforcement hours during consultation with residents, including the possibility of free weekend parking to make it easier for people visiting friends and family.
Jon Cruddas added: "The measures I am proposing are not unreasonable and would go some way to ensure that local people are part of the discussion again. CPZs are in some instances necessary given local parking difficulties and can work in the favour of households close to tube and rail links, but their introduction must be based on positive support within the community. This whole situation could have been handled better and I will be watching the council closely in the coming months as more potential CPZ locations are announced."