Residents are 'being ignored' over plans to introduce more Edinburgh parking restrictions

Edinburgh opposition councillors say ‘the views of residents are being ignored’ over plans to introduce more capital parking restrictions.

Parking plan has 'several mistakes' says councillor Susan Webber
Parking plan has 'several mistakes' says councillor Susan Webber

The city council is currently working towards introducing more ‘controlled parking zones’ in the capital, following approval at a transport committee meeting in January.

The plans will see more residents charged to park in their own neighbourhoods, although no decision has been made on the cost of permits.

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Phase one of a four-phase roll out of controlled parking zones will see parking restrictions implemented in Leith, Gorgie and Shandon – specifically in the Leith Walk, Pilrig, Abbeyhill and North Leith areas.

'Varied response' - Councillor Karen Doran

Following a meeting of the Edinburgh Conservative group, Susan Webber, Pentland Hills councillor and transport spokesperson for the group, published the Tories’ official position on the planned CPZs.

It reads: “The ongoing CPZ consultations across the city are set to become another example of the views of residents being ignored.

“The SNP/Labour administration is proving yet again that they think they know best.

“Numerous residents have contacted us and it is apparent that there are several mistakes, including:

the designation of a residents private parking area as now being a free-for-all parking zone;

widespread inconsistencies in the resident notification process with many not receiving the much-publicised leaflets; the knock-on impact onto neighbouring streets continuing to be ignored; major reduction on overall numbers of parking spaces as road widths prevent parking on both sides of the roads when in a formal CPZ; residents who are not online or have trouble accessing the 'virtual town hall meetings' have been excluded.”

It continues: “As the largest group within the council, the Edinburgh Conservatives know the importance of working with communities.

“Many residents and communities have a genuine need for a CPZ, but the realities of implementation within their area are not known or understood.

“We must balance the need for some areas to introduce CPZs, with the concerns of neighbouring streets.

“We are often advised by council officers that the situation on these adjacent streets will be ‘monitored’, but the mitigating action can take up to five years while these residents feel ignored.”

In response, City Centre councillor, and Labour vice convener of the transport and environment committee, Karen Doran, said: “We received a varied response to our informal consultation on the first phase of implementation, which in my opinion was not overwhelmingly opposed.

“However, feedback from residents has helped us to make numerous changes to proposals, changes which will also allow us to better integrate new parking controls with key projects in the areas concerned, including Trams to Newhaven, the communal bin review and the installation of cycle hangars.

“Ultimately, we need to consider the introduction of measures to manage parking demand.

“Not only have residents across the city repeatedly expressed concerns about the impact of non-residential parking but an in-depth, citywide analysis carried out by officers has identified areas that may be most in need of restrictions.

“As our city grows and develops we simply must address parking issues to help residents park nearer to home but also to encourage alternative travel choices, as we look to make a sustainable recovery from COVID.

“Our proposals for CPZs will limit the potential migration of parking pressures from other areas rather than perpetuate them, and we will continue to assess this, as our published monitoring strategy confirms.

“We’re also addressing the situation in narrow streets where cars often mount pavements to allow parking on both sides of the road, while also ensuring there’s enough parking for residents, which our report in January demonstrates is possible.

“While the commencement of legal processes for introducing the first phase of CPZs was approved in January, nothing has been decided yet, and anyone who is interested in the proposal can share a formal response as part of the Traffic Regulation Process, before a final decision is made by committee.”

The commencement of the legal process for implementing phase one comes after an initial consultation with residents carried out by the council.

The council distributed 33,313 leaflets advertising the consultation and the location of drop in sessions.

The consultation attracted 1,259 responses, of which 1,098 were from residents of the affected neighbourhoods.

Of the respondents, 49 per cent (624 people) said they experience parking problems, while another 49 per cent of people (but 10 people less at 614 people) said they do not experience parking problems. A further 21 people left the question blank.

Responses from those saying they do experience parking problems were highest in the Shandon and Abbeyhill areas, with 69 per cent and 70 per cent of respondents in those areas saying they have parking issues, respectively.

Following the legal process, a second consultation on phase one is set to be launched in quarter four of 2021, followed by a planned implementation in quarter one of 2022.

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