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Sandgate CPZ proposals will hurt residents, businesses, workers and visitors

May 11, 2016 5:25 PM
By Tim Prater in Objection to Sandgate CPZ Parking proposals emailed to traffic.orders@shepway.gov.uk

Shepway District Council Sandgate Parking Consultation Notice on Granville ParadeI am writing to oppose the proposed revised parking and waiting restrictions in the 'Sandgate East Parking Zone'. My detailed reasons to do so are below.

I am a resident of Sandgate, who both lives near to (but outside) the proposed parking zone and owns an office on Sandgate High Street from where my business is run. The proposed changes will significantly negatively impact on me both personally and professionally, as well as friends and neighbours locally.

As a local Parish Councillor, many local residents, business owners and staff and customers of businesses have also spoken to me directly to make it clear that these proposals will also be to their detriment and they oppose them.

It is clear Sandgate has a parking problem. However just because there is a problem doesn't make every proposal an answer to the problem. The proposals being put forward will simply force more cars into spaces elsewhere (such as on Sandgate High Street where available) or away from the area. They are bad proposals for the majority of Sandgate residents, business owners, their staff, customers and visitors.

Alternative proposals offering limited term free parking in Castle Road car park, and supporting Saga in extending the parking facilities in their grounds (and improving the access to those parking areas) would have massively more local benefit without the disproportionate disadvantages of the proposed scheme.

The proposed changes have a very significant impact on the wider Sandgate area, including the shopping hub of the village. Granville Parade has very few properties actually on it, with a number of those having their own off-road parking. The 20+ spaces in the road however are well used by local residents in other streets (including Sandgate High Street where few properties have any off-road parking), business owners, business staff, visitors and shoppers. Restrictions in the roads proposed will affect around 50% of the on-road parking availability in the centre of Sandgate.

The proposed operational hours of 8am-8pm EVERY day of the year are punitive to local residents who live near to but not in those roads. The CPZ in Folkestone West operates from 9-11am Monday-Friday to dissuade all day parking by commuters. If the main intention of this parking restriction is to prevent all day parking by Saga staff, as I am told is the intention, to have a 12 hour a day, every day of the year scheme in Sandgate is therefore clearly out of scale.

There is little evidence that "Saga" parking causes an issue outside 9-5 Monday - Friday. An analysis of parking in local roads would show spaces becoming available after 5 almost every day. The exceptions to that are a high demand for spaces on evenings where there are meetings at the Freemasons Hall in Gough Road. It seems however that those parking restrictions would not cause those meetings, or those attending, disruption as they start after 6pm (and thus with 2 hours parking, would reach the 8pm cut-off period). Convenient.

Further, Saga actually make the parking in their grounds available to the local community free of charge at weekends as they have a large number of free spaces in their on-site car parking then. Such is the evidence that Saga parking is not causing an issue at the weekends in the wider community is that they don't even fully use their own car parks at that time. Shepway DC even helpfully funded signage which is used at weekends to promote the free parking in Saga. The restriction at weekends and bank holidays (and indeed after 5pm) would therefore lead to the position that local residents would be barred from parking in parking spaces in Sandgate over the weekend, but could park in free spaces in Saga's grounds.

Those local residents that live locally in roads such as Sandgate High Street rely on the spaces in Granville Parade which is a large number of the available free places to park in Sandgate. Over a weekend for example, there are some spaces in Sandgate High Street and Granville Parade - the free car parks in Sandgate (Wilberforce Road, Gough Road) have a prohibition against parking for longer than 24 hours. By around halving the number of free spaces available for people to park over the weekend, you are requiring people to either move their cars more often, which is environmentally and practically ridiculous, or requiring them to buy an expensive full season ticket for Castle Road Car Park at a cost of £657 a year. I thought this wasn't supposed to be a money raising exercise?

CPZ's were, I understand, designed for "residential" streets. Although I see that description could apply to Castle Road, in no way is it reasonable on Granville Parade, a road with the English Channel running the full length of one side, and Folkestone Rowing Club the other side (along with a few houses, flats, B&B's and the back of a popular pub / restaurant). Users of Folkestone Rowing Club, and indeed many of the local eateries and pubs, will often visit for longer than 2 hours.

As a website developer with a High Street office, we frequently have meetings that last longer than two hours. This restriction would therefore impact clients visiting our office as well as customers and staff of many other businesses in the High Street itself.

On Granville Parade there is increasingly a real problem with cars parking on the maintenance gangway itself, causing access issues for those using the walkway between Folkestone and Hythe, including the hazard of vehicles driving up onto the seawall to park.

Although Sandgate Parish Council have worked pro-actively with Shepway on this issue for years, Shepway have failed to enforce a parking ban on that area - there are now upwards of 5 cars parking on that area pretty much all of the time. The perversity of this situation is such that if these proposals are followed, those parking on the Parade on the road will be liable to a fine after 2 hours, whereas those that mount the pavement and park on the gangway will, as now, escape any fine or requirement to move. I'm sure it is not the intention of the Council to encourage people to park on the maintenance gangway blocking pedestrians and cyclists, but that will be the effect.

Overall, I object to the proposals as a local resident, local business owner, and local Councillor. It will be detrimental to the majority of local residents, and the vast majority of local businesses, their staff and customers. It will harm Sandgate, and as such, I ask that all aspects of the on-street parking proposals are rejected and the proposals withdrawn - as Sandgate Parish Council has asked you to do repeatedly.