Over the last few months, some concerns have been raised about Sutton Council’s N1 van parking policy. This policy, agreed at the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee in September 2016, restricts N1 vans not DVLA registered at the address within the parking control zones.
At the time the policy was implemented the idea was to discourage companies using the residential streets to park their fleet vehicles rather than provide parking at their own premises and to prioritise residential parking spaces for residents' cars, the main objective of any CPZ. This was in response to concerns raised that there were too many commercial vehicles in the CPZ areas.
Since the adoption of the policy there have been only 10 refusals in the existing Controlled Parking Zone in Central Sutton of new applications for N1 vans not registered at home. And from what I’ve been told, Council officers were able to help find adequate alternative options for the applicants. In some cases, the solution was as simple as asking the applicant to park their N1 van on their driveway and their private vehicle on-street after purchasing a parking permit.
In February I promised, in public at the Council's Scrutiny Committee, to look at this policy again. I believe that it is logical for the policy to be re-evaluated as parking controls potentially expand to other parts of the borough.
My main concern was to understand what viable parking options during hours of operation would be available to N1 van owners if they live within the St Helier area and the van isn't registered to their home address. This policy has not caused problems in the existing parking control areas but St Helier, primarily a residential area is different from Sutton Town Centre.
After challenging our officers and listening to residents' concerns, it has become clear to me that the implementation of this policy in areas like St Helier would have a disproportionately negative impact on some residents that rely on such vans to make a living. The main reason being that St Helier does not have the same level of access to public car parks, private driveways and private garages as the areas within the existing parking controls.
I sympathise with residents who are concerned with the growing amount of large company owned vehicles that are now being parked in the borough and this issue needs to be addressed. However I do not think that it is fair to penalise some residents because they happen to work for certain large companies like British Gas.
I have now made my views clear to senior Council officers and intend to discuss, over the coming weeks, what steps are needed to change our policy to allow all N1 vans to park within existing and new parking control areas. I will be in touch again when I have more information.
Cllr Manuel Abellan
Chair of the Environment & Neighbourhood Committee