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Village Diary

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Still Kingston’s overflow car park

Thursday 5th December 2019

Still Kingston’s overflow car park

(Reproduced from the Hampton Wick Association Newsletter, December 2019)

If when you read this article you find you have a strange sense of déjà vu, don’t worry, so do we!

Parking for residents in Hampton Wick has long been problematic, particularly so for those at the Kingston Bridge end of the village. Our CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone = residents’ parking spaces) only operates Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, all our CPZ parking and all single yellow line spaces are unrestricted and FREE.

Meanwhile, over the bridge in Kingston there are no free parking spaces anywhere – their CPZ operates seven days a week. So we become the FREE overflow car park for Kingston shoppers.

Hampton Wick residents are left with nowhere to park. We know of people unable to invite friends or family to visit on Sundays as there is literally nowhere to park – a visitor’s permit is no use if the CPZ isn’t in operation and the space taken.

As a side note, single yellow lines by default operate on the same hours as the nearest CPZ so on Sundays all our single yellow line spaces are also taken by Kingston shoppers

Severe problems are caused by Kingston shoppers driving up and down residential side roads searching out any free CPZ or single yellow spaces, and frequently squeezing into inappropriate spaces. Emergency vehicles have been blocked, cars start parking and driving on pavements – on one occasion the police had to be called to prevent a fight breaking out.

Here’s the odd bit

Now, here’s the odd bit. Through our lobbying, the council were convinced there was a problem. They held a consultation. We showed enough demand for the council to draw up a plan to make the CPZ controls effective on a Sunday in several roads at the bridge end of the village.

The council officer responsible came up with a really good plan for the CPZ hours to be extended to Sunday, and at no additional charge to residents (often the extra cost of ‘policing’ the restrictions increases the resident permit cost). We were told it was about to be agreed by the council and councillors when the local elections in May 2018 intervened. Following the election we were again told that it was about to be implemented

However, in the meantime the decision was taken to slap double yellow lines along some of the worst hot spots. This can apparently be done more quickly, as an emergency measure, without the need for consultation.

The double yellow lines worsened the problem for residents

This inevitably had the effect of reducing parking spaces for residents and hence making the residents’ issues worse, not better.

Of course the residents’ spaces along those stretches are still available free of charge to Kingston shoppers – it’s just that there are now fewer parking spaces overall so both residents and Kingston shoppers are forced to park further away, exacerbating and shifting the problem instead of fixing it.

(The HWA did intervene and we managed to save six single yellow parking spaces at the end of Park Road, near to the High Street and a further parking space for residents at the other end of the one-way section.)

And here’s the rub… After the double yellow lines were painted in the hot spots, the complaints reduced. In those areas, the double yellow lines had successfully prevented the emergency vehicles being blocked in and the driving on pavements etc, which is why the complaints reduced. However, we were still expecting the changes to the CPZ hours. These changes to the CPZ hours, ‘the really good plan’ by the council officer responsible, would have properly addressed the whole problem.

It seems though, that the lack of complaints over emergency vehicles being blocked in etc was mistaken for “the Kingston shoppers have gone away and now we can park normally in our own CPZ on a Sunday”.

Clearly, because of the extra double yellow lines and the lack of implementation of the ‘really good ‘ CPZ plan, the problem for residents got worse not better.

Not encouraged

We aren’t encouraged by the words on the council website which has recently been updated as follows:

Decision: The results showed support in some of the roads for an extension of the hours, however, following the subsequent implementation of double yellow lines in the Park Road and School Road area, the Council received few enquiries or complaints concerning the parking problems on Sundays. Given this, the Council will not be proceeding with extending the operational hours at this time but will reconsider the matter in 2020 with a view to carrying out a new consultation.

It’s very difficult to see how painting double yellow lines up and down Park Road (hence removing parking) could fix residents’ parking problems on the following roads, identified as being in favour of the changes to the CPZ? (School Lane, School Road, Church Grove, Park Road, St John’s Road, Saddlers Mews, High Street). We also hear the same complaints from residents of other roads.

Please bring back the common sense plan

We call upon the council to revive their common sense plan to extend to Sundays the hours of CPZ operation in areas near to Kingston Bridge as soon as possible in the New Year. And without the further delay and cost (to the council tax payer) of yet another consultation.