Sunday, 5 June 2011

Labour stall on changes to visitor permits

The thorny issue of changes to the Residents Parking Scheme in Reading is on the Council's Traffic Management Advisory Panel agenda next week.

And already it looks like Labour councillors are saying one thing and doing another.

A local campaign was started by residents opposed to aspects of the revised Residents Parking scheme which would split permits into two half days rather than one full day.

We listened to the concerns that were raised by residents and had we still been running the Council we would have insisted that the number of permits was doubled to 40 at the earliest opportunity.

We also had the agreement of the former lead councillor for transport, Cllr Richard Willis for this to happen.

But if you read Section 7 of the official report by Council officers going to TMAP next Thursday it appears that the new Labour administration is unlikely to do this any time soon:
"Officers have been asked to look into changing both the allocation of free visitors’ permits, with a view to increasing it to 40 half day permits, and a change in the hours the permits cover.
However there are logistical and financial issues associated with making those changes and a full report on these, plus options for introducing these changes or alternatives, will be brought to the next meeting of this panel."
The recommendation in the report is:
'That officers review the times a permit covers and numbers of visitors permits provided as part of the revised residents parking scheme and bring a recommendation to the next meeting of the Panel with a view to changing those areas of the scheme.'
The next meeting of the panel is not until September.

It is clear that the Transport department will be resisting any changes to the policy, as in the section 'Financial Implications':
''The changes to the scheme being considered in section 7 would have a more significant impact on the costs of the residents parking scheme and are not being recommended at this time.'

This conflicts with the pledge made by the Labour Leader of the Council, Cllr Jo Lovelock in her document 'Cabinet Priorities for 2011/12' which is due to be rubber-stamped by Labour councillors on Monday:
'Residents’ parking permits and discretionary permits - we will bring a report to July Cabinet on the times and numbers of visitors’ permits and also to reverse the £300 charge for discretionary permits.'
So which is right? And who is in charge of Labour's transport policy?

Either way this does not bode well for local residents who will be forced to wait even longer for these much needed changes.

We will be supporting residents and calling for changes to visitor permits to be brought in as soon as possible by the Council.

No comments:

Post a Comment