Disc zones the answer to parking woes?

Date: Monday 20th March 2017

PLANS have been announced to create disc parking zones on two estates in Penrith where residents have safety concerns over the number of vehicles being left on their streets.

Traffic management officer Kevin Crawley, speaking at a meeting of Cumbria County Council’s local committee for Eden, said parking issues on the Scaws and Wetheriggs estates had become “too large to hold off”.

A Penrith parking review was launched in February, 2015, after councillors decided to defer a plan to introduce a residents exempt disc parking zone on the Scaws estate. Concerns were raised at that time about the then parking enforcement arrangements being unfit to ensure the proposal could be delivered effectively.

Since that decision was made, however, parking enforcement has been “brought in-house” by the county council. In addition, parking can now be monitored electronically using Chipside parking management software.

A report to councillors said: “As considerable time has elapsed since the first consultation on the proposal to introduce the restrictions proposed in 2012, the council would need to go through the formal consultation and advertisement process again before any restrictions could be introduced.

“This report recommends that this process is commenced using the original proposal documents.”

Councillors agreed to give officers permission to launch a formal consultation into the disc scheme plans. It is hoped the consultation can be rolled out swiftly, as the pre-work had already been done, and the schemes could come back to the local committee for resolution in July.

The meeting was told there was an “increasing and escalating” problem on the Wetheriggs estate and a solution needed to be sought. The consultation was a way of opening the door to find the best way of moving forward.

Helen Fearon (Con, Penrith) said: “It is essential that we tackle some of these problems being experienced there. There has been all sorts of concerns about the huge volume of parked cars appearing on a daily basis on our streets. It has become quite a worrying safety issue.”

Patricia Bell (Lib Dem, Penrith) said the problem was too huge to ignore in 2012, but the Eden area local committee chose not to support the resolution then on the table.

In conjunction with the disc parking zone schemes being proposed, she said another piece of work should be carried out to see if there were any areas around the edge of the town that could be developed as temporary car parks for people that have to travel to Penrith for work.

“Workers want somewhere that is cheap to park,” said Mrs. Bell,who expressed a fear that the problem could be displaced elsewhere.