Sutton’s Liberal Democrat Council has developed a new parking strategy for the borough, following recent surveys that found inconsiderate parking to be residents’ number one issue. This is also reflected in the issues taken up by Lib Dem councillors around the borough.
The council will now seek comments and guidance from residents and local businesses to see if its proposals are on the right track, especially since anticipated population growth in the borough is likely to put extra pressures on available parking space in the future.
Sutton has the sixth-highest levels of car ownership and usage out of the 33 London boroughs. This has led to concerns about traffic congestion and air quality in the borough. A high level of car ownership in streets with older houses without garages and with a concentration of flats has contributed to parking stresses because off-street parking can be difficult in these areas.
The Parking Strategy and Policy document, which has been approved by Sutton Council’s Environment and Neighbourhoods committee, sets out how the council plans to assess, review and manage on-street parking in the borough in the coming years.
This will mean proposals for new schemes in some parts of the borough that have no schemes at present, but which experience particular parking problems, for example around St Helier Hospital. The borough’s current Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) arrangements will also be reviewed to assess if these on-street parking schemes are still fit for purpose.
The first three years of the five-year strategy, starting in April 2017, will focus on the borough areas with the most parking problems on an area-by-area basis. Particular emphasis will be on looking at so-called “attractors and generators”, such as around railway and bus stations, hospitals and clinics, schools and colleges, local High Streets and shopping areas, and superstores and new development sites, to see how the on-street parking situation can be improved.
Car parks will also be looked at to see how their use can be made more attractive to reduce problems with on-street parking.
The aim is to have a borough-wide parking management and enforcement policy that manages predicted demand for on-road parking and avoids a future where Sutton has too many cars and too few parking spaces.
On-street parking has already been reviewed and residents consulted in the six local committee areas of Sutton Local; St Helier The Wrythe and Wandle Valley; South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont; Carshalton and Clockhouse; Cheam North and Worcester Park; and Beddington and Wallington. This followed an increasing number of enquiries to the council from residents and businesses having problems with on-street parking.
Reviewing parking conditions in an integrated fashion borough-wide across the six local committee areas will prevent random ad hoc approaches being taken in different places across Sutton. This will mean a consistent approach across the borough.
Cllr Jill Whitehead, Lib Dem Chair of Sutton Council’s Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee, said: “Sutton is proud to be a green borough and traffic congestion is a major challenge, given the potential for significant population growth in the coming years. This is why it is vital that we have in place a sound strategy for managing the anticipated increase in demand for parking space.
“Sutton has the sixth-highest levels of car ownership and usage in London. Our key transport objectives are to improve public transport links and to encourage more short journeys undertaken by bicycle or on foot. But the parking policy and strategy will also be key in improving traffic flow and regulating the movement of traffic to prevent gridlock.
“The rising population of London means that a better transport system is a priority. But we need a parking strategy that deals with increased demand for road space.
“We are inviting residents and local businesses to have their say about the parking strategy and to tell us how they think we can avoid a crisis of road space in future.”
The Parking Strategy supports the aspirations of One Planet Sutton, the Sustainable Transport Strategy, the Cycling Strategy, the Local Plan, the Town Centre Masterplan and the Sutton 2031 growth agenda.
The Parking Strategy document can be downloaded from the Sutton Council website here.
The Parking Strategy’s key objectives:
- Ensuring the safety of all road users.
- Enabling residents to park near their homes.
- Assisting users with special requirements.
- Providing enough affordable parking spaces in appropriate locations to support and grow the local economy.
- Providing the right balance of short-, medium- and long-term parking opportunities.
- Ensuring effective loading and unloading for businesses.
- Assisting the smooth flow of traffic.
The London Borough of Sutton Residents Survey 2015 found that 42 per cent of residents said parking was the aspect most needing improvement in their local area.