Car parking charges in Exeter

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It’s that time of year when the RAC Foundation release their annual report showing that local authorities make a *profit* from parking operations after income was deducted from overheads – in 2015-16 this surplus was £756m.

Councils across Devon made over £22m from parking charges and fines in the last year – and there has been a big jump in surpluses over the past 5 years.

Devon County Council – as the Local Highways Authority – is responsible for all on-street parking and Residents’ Parking Zones across the county.

Any profit generated by unitary and upper-tier councils from on-street parking must by law [Section 55 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984] be spent on transport-related activities.

In Devon, money generated by the parking service is typically spent on enforcing parking restrictions, maintaining equipment such as pay and display machines, public transport and improving parking areas. The way money is spent is agreed annually by the Cabinet and is published in the annual County Road Highway Maintenance Revenue Budget and On-street Parking Account.

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DCC On-street parking account 2016-17

Following lobbying from members sitting on the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] and others, DCC has set up  the HATOC Waiting Restriction Project  – a managed process to deliver an annual programme of works to deal with the requests for waiting restrictions to be introduced or amended that the County Council regularly receives.a Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee. Just this week, DCC advertised a new TRO, 5555 Devon County Council (Various Roads, Exeter) (Control of Waiting & Loading) Amendment Order.

For the current year, DCC achieved a surplus of £2.6m from parking activities – up from £594k 5 years ago.

When parking was decriminalised in 2008, and DCC took over parking enforcement from Devon & Cornwall Police’s Traffic Wardens, on-street enforcement [by Civil Enforcement Officers] and back office administration was provided by the district councils and Exeter City Council working under agency agreements. It was originally anticipated that the enforcement element of the on-street service would operate at or around a zero (‘net nil’) budget with the cost of enforcement being offset by the income from Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) after a period of ‘bedding in’. In reality the cost of enforcement significantly exceeded the income from PCNs, resulting in an annual deficit of £795,160 in 2011/12.

Following a decision by DCC’s Cabinet in December 2013, since April 2014 Devon County Council has provided the on-street service in-house, and it is possible to download how the service has performed during the first two years of operation here:

District councils are responsible for their own local car parks – Exeter City Council has some 29 car parks across the city.

The RAC Foundation report shows that ECC’s surplus for the year 2015/16 was £4.6m [and ranked 39 of the 353 local authorities in England] , up from £3.4m in 2912/13.

Since ECChas not made any wholesale changes to parking tariffs since January 2012, this rise in surplus can be due only to increased usage of the city’s car parks.

The City Council has a net budget of £15m – made up of Council Tax, Government Revenue Support Grant and income from car parking and property.

On a Band D Council Tax bill of £1,600.49, Exeter City Council receives £140.05 [of the balance, DCC= £1,184.39; Adult Social Care = £23.23; Devon & Cornwall Police = £172.84; and Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service = £79.98]. A 1% rise in Council Tax would bring into ECC an additional £90,000 and so to replace the income from car parking would require car parking  charges rise by 51%, or £71 per year.

ECC launched a Parking Strategy in March 2016, and followed this with a revised tariff structure that will come into operation from 2017.

The  proposed tariff structure should provide a more gradual rise in price with a clearer ‘per hour’ rationale. 

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The new structure also tried to strike a careful balance between supporting the local economy and making sure that people are not encouraged to favour car use over other more forms of sustainable transport – walking, cycling and public transport.

Futher reading:
DCC Cabinet: County Road Highway Maintenance Revenue Budget and On-street Parking Account 2016/17 [13 April 2016]

Exeter HATOC: Proposals for the delivery of an annual local Waiting Restrictions Programme [19 April 2016]

ECC Scrutiny Committee – Economy: Officer’s Report on Parking Strategy 2016 – 2026 [03 March 2016]

ECC Scrutiny Committee – Economy: A New Strategy for Parking 2016 – 2026 [03 March 2016]

ECC Place Scrutiny CommitteeDelivering the Parking Strategy: Tariffs, Designations and Permits  [08 September 2016]

 

 

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Devon County Council’s road maintenance programme for Exeter

At the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee held on 14 November 2016, members requested information in relation to the Devon County Council’s road maintenance programme [item 11 of the agenda].

The details for Exeter are as follows:

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Schemes included in this view

Schemes excluded from this view

  • Schemes still awaiting Asset Approval
  • Bridge Assessment & Strengthening (BAS)
  • Revenue Funded Schemes
  • Pre-patching for 2017/18
  • Road Restraint schemes (RRS)
  • Street Lighting
  • Traffic signals
  • Cycleways
  • Roadmarkings

Glossary

      • Resurfacing – surface treatment with a bituminous material, 40mm or more thick.
      • Patching – surface treatment with a bituminous material, 40mm or more thick but in smaller areas not covering the whole road or footpath.
      • Surface Dressing – surface treatment with bitumen and chippings. Patching will be completed in the year preceding surface dressing.
      • Micro Asphalt – Slurry style surface treatment, typically suited to urban areas. Patching will be completed in the year preceding Micro Asphalt.
      • Joint / crack repair – treats joints and cracks in the existing surface that need sealing prior to a longer term repair in the near future.
      • High Friction Surfacing (HFS) – specialised surface dressing at locations that require higher skidding resistance.
      • Drainage – upgrading, repairs and improvements to highway drainage systems.
      • Footway works – surface treatment to a footpath involving resurfacing or a bituminous sealant, or replacement of concrete flags.

Further details on the programme for the current year requested by are available on DCC’s public web site as a interactive map

There also a list rather than the map, which can sort schemes according to Electoral Division or Market Town [but a few anomalies show up – I don;t think Exminister will take too kindly to being included in the Exeter list!]. This list also shows the current status of each scheme.

 

Patching works in Oxford Street, #EXEStThomas

On Wednesday 09 November 2016,  Devon County Council Cabinet considered a report on the Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Policy, Strategy and Plan.

The minutes note that “Members present expressed continuing concerns at the effect of historic levels of funding made available by Government for highway maintenance which was no longer sufficient to meet current demands let alone the growing backlog of work required.  Members attending under the provisions of standing orders also expressed concerns at the apparent divide in the treatment of urban and rural areas and the impact upon the economy of the County as a whole.”

Annex 1 to the report – Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Policy – sets out what this means it practice.

With over 7,700 miles of roads in the county, Devon has the longest highway network in the country. Yet there is a maintenance backlog.

DCC’s asset modelling work suggests that across all highway assets (carriageway, footways, street lighting, bridges, drainage system, etc…..), it should be investing over £55m per year just to keep up with annual deterioration and maintain the assets in their current condition. it is estimated that DCC needs to spend over £167m to to fix the most deteriorated roads requiring maintenance now, and that DDC should be investing approximately £38m per year just to maintain them in a steady state. The capital grant allocation for roads from government was £29m for the 2016/17 year. Thus, every year that DCC is  unable to spend what it needs means that highway network condition will deteriorate. This will be particularly noticeable on minor road – and DCC thinks it is therefore essential that to target the money we do have to deliver the most effective maintenance of each asset in the longer-term.

What does this mean in practice?

Recently, Oxford Street in St Thomas was cleared for 5 days for resurfacing work.

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Temporary Traffic Notice – Union Street, Exeter [TTRO1618573]
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Alternative route due to temporary closure of Union Street

Yet within these 5 days, only patching works – rather than the complete resurfacing that’s needed – took place.

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Oxford Street 01
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Oxford Street 02
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Oxford Street 03

As a result, I and my co-councillors have been contacted by local residents confused and angry about what DCC have done, and the poor state the road is in after it has been *repaired*. In particular, they are concerned that loose rubble left after the patching works will cause further damage to their cars.

They understand that the workmen could only do the areas as agreed, but they hope that a full assessment on the true state of the road was made while it was clear of cars.

Like them, we would like to know when complete resurfacing might happen

 

 

 

E&E Letters | Inconsiderate pavement parking – Let’s make it ‘cross-party’

E&E

13 October 2016

Inconsiderate pavement parking – Let’s make it ‘cross-party’

I welcome the recent thoughts of Cllr Peter Holland on the issue of inconsiderate pavement parking [Anger over inconsiderate pavement parking in ExeterE&E, 10 October 2016] as they echo the same comments I’ve been making for the past five years.

Cllr Holland is correct that section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 did outlaw the practice of parking on footpaths [ie pavements] and verges, and this provision was enforced by traffic wardens under the direction of Devon & Cornwall Police.

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However, Cllr Holland is mistaken in saying “when the responsibility for enforcement of the law was transferred to Devon County Council the law went into ‘decay’.”

The truth is that when parking enforcement was decriminalised in May 2008, those powers transferred to Devon County Council and now Civil Enforcement Officers [CEOs] enforce using powers issued by the Secretary of State for Transport [The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP] under regulations contained within the Traffic Management Act 2004.

And in the rush to transfer powers to DCC, the provisions of the Exeter Act 1987 were missed.

A new power was conveyed by Statutory Instrument 2012 No.12 issued by the Government under the TMA 2004. Within its Schedules, the Statutory Instrument details which restrictions can be enforced by DCC’s CEOs.

statutory-instrument-2012-no-12Civil enforcement of offences in section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987
2. In Schedule 7 to the Traffic Management Act 2004 (road traffic contraventions subject to civilenforcement), in paragraph 4 (parking contraventions outside Greater London), after subparagraph
(2)(e) insert—
“(ea) an offence under section 30(1) of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 (c. xi)(prohibition of parking vehicles on verges, central reservations and footways).”(b)

However, the situation was complicated in that the Department for Transport informed DCC – as the Local Highways Authority – that it would require additional signage, at intervals of around 400m, to enforce the new legislation.

And, of course, there are some roads which would be blocked without pavement parking,

Indeed the P bus – which coincidently serves both my ward of St Thomas and that of Cllr Holland – would be unable to make its way down Barley Farm Road if all the vehicles parked on the road.

If the situation is complicated in Exeter, then it is even more complex nationally.

The only mention of pavement parking in the Highway Code is under Rule 244:
“You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.”

The direction MUST NOT is legally enforceable [under the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 section 15] but should not is an advisory direction, not an enforceable one.

There is little or nothing DCC’s Civil Enforcement Officers can do in this situation – unless the vehicle is causing damage to the pavement, when the driver *could* be prosecuted. In practice, this rarely happen, if at all.

Interestingly [as it pre-dates motorised vehicles], under section 72 of the Highways Act 1837 it is an offence to wilfully [but note, not park] “a carriage of any description upon the footpath.” But this can only be enforced by a warrant Police Officer, who needs to see the carriage actually driving on the footpath – even though to park on the pavement, the vehicle must have been driven onto it.

And it is also an offence under the Highways Act 1980 and also under s.28 of the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847 to “wilfully obstruct free passage along the highway or deposit anything which causes an interruption to, or obstruction of, the highway [including any public footpath or public thoroughfare].

In these cases, enforcement is the responsibility of warranted Police Officers and authorised PCSOs, rather than DCC’s CEOs.

At a meeting of the joint Exeter City Council and Devon CC’s joint Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] held on 28 July 2015 [see minute 119], County Officers expressed confidence that a Private Members’ Bill  being brought forward by Simon Hoare MP [CON, North Devon], which would resolve the whole issue of inconsiderate pavement parking.

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I wasn’t convinced at the meeting that the Bill would proceed, and so it came to pass that on 08 December 2015, after a debate in the House of Commons, Simon Hoare withdrew his Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill 2015-16 because he had been promised that “DfT would undertake some work to examine more closely the legal and financial implication of an alternative regime.”

So Cllr Holland’s own Government appears to kicked the issue into the long grass.

I note he hopes to raise the issue when the Minister, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, visits the city later this month.

Let me make this offer – we could make this a cross-party issue and I would be happy to meet the Minister along with him.

Paul Bull
Labour & Co-operative Councillor, St Thomas Ward

@DevonCC Place Scrutiny | 20mph Speed Limits

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On 14 June 2016, Devon County Council’s Place Scrutiny considered this Report of the Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste (HCW/16/44),  with attendance from Devon and Cornwall Police.

The minutes of the meeting note:
(Councillor Hook declared a personal interest in this item by virtue of being a member of “20 is Plenty”, a national campaign group.)

The Committee received and noted the Report of the Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste (HCW/16/44) setting out the present positon relating to the County Council’s Policy on Local Speed Limits together with a copy of the current Devon Traffic Policy and Devon Traffic Advice Note.

Members were advised that publication of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) study on a national review of 20mph speed limits had been delayed and was not now anticipated until 2017 and that only after publication of any new guidance from DfT to Local Highway Authorities could the current Devon Policy on Local Speed Limits be reviewed.

Members nonetheless recognised concerns expressed about speed limits and enforcement acknowledging also that these concerns could be dealt with by working with the Police, local communities and the Speed Complaint Action Review Forum (SCARF) whose reviews could include enforcement via police or speed management safety cameras or education (using vehicle activated speed warning signs). It was important to continue collating data.  Working with local communities on self-help schemes was another option, details of which were on the Highways web pages.

The Committee also welcomed Inspector Richard McLellan and PC Mark Goulding from Devon and Cornwall Police who addressed the meeting at the invitation of the Committee outlining the action taken particularly in respect of repeat offenders and the need for collection of data.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hook, and SECONDED by Councillor Ball and
RESOLVED that Cabinet be recommended to make representations to the DfT expressing the Council’s disappointment at the continuing delay in publication of the DfT’s new guidance on 20mph speed limits and Devon MPs be also urged to exert pressure on the DfT for early publication.

FURTHER READING:
The County Council agreed Devon’s speed limit policy in August, 2006. The Report can be seen on the DCC website using
the following link:
http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/Data/Cabinet/20060801/Minutes/pdf-EEC-06-92-HQ.pdf

A Scrutiny investigation into 20 mph limits was reported at Scrutiny in November 2008. The Task Group covering report can be seen on the DCC website using the following
link:
http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/celistdocuments.aspx?MID=1465&DF=11%2f11%2f2008&A=1&R=0&F=embed$text

Scrutiny considered a report on Road Traffic Collisions and Casualties in September 2014 that included a discussion of
20 mph speed limits. The minutes of the discussions can be seen on the DCC website using the following link:
http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/CeListDocuments.aspx?MID=1503&RD=Minutes&DF=15%2f09%2f2014&A=1&R=0

Scrutiny considered a report on Speed Limit Policy in Sept 2015. The minutes of the meeting can be seen on the DCC website using the following link:
http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/CeListDocuments.aspx?MID=1511&RD=Minutes&DF=11%2f09%2f2015&A=1&R=0

Devon County Council Traffic Policy Note DTP 34/05 – Local Speed Limits
This Policy Note DTP 34/05 sets out the criteria for introducing speed limits in Devon

Devon County Council Traffic Advice DTP 34/05 – Local Speed Limits
Policy DTP 34/05 sets out the criteria for introducing speed limits in Devon, this advice note gives further guidance to the
implementation of those speed limits – includes planning guidance.

Local Speed Limits - Assessment [Speed Limit Review]
                            Local Speed Limits – Assessment [Speed Limit Review]

E&E | Last-ditch attempt to save patrols

E&E logo [new]

 

25 February 2016

Last-ditch attempt to save patrols

By Anita Merritt

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Lollipop protest outside County Hall

An 11th hour bid to save Devon’s school crossing patrollers has been launched.

Parents, grandparents and anyone who wants to see the continuation of what is regarded as a vital and life-saving service in Devon, is being asked to contact councillor John Hart, the leader of Devon County Council, by phone or email before it is too late.

The Heart to Hart campaign has been launched by school crossing patroller campaigners and is being backed by Cllr Alan Connett, Liberal Democrat group leader on Devon County Council.

He said: “My call would be for every parent, grandma and grandad in Devon to email Cllr Hart and say they want to keep our school crossing patrollers.

“They can also contact their local conservative councillors as they are the ones who voted to cut the service.

“This is our 11th hour chance to save school crossing patrollers. When they’re gone they’re gone.”

Cllr Connett said he was concerned not much money would be saved if the council has to spend out on traffic islands or alternative safety management outside schools. He added he was also worried parents would no longer feel it was safe for their older children to walk to school which would increase traffic on Devon’s roads and impact on children’s health by being driven to school instead of walking.

“The decision is a false economy,” he said. “Labour put forward a different proposal, as did the Independents and Liberal Democrats. We could have found the money for it.”

At last week’s meeting, the majority of councillors voted in favour of Cllr Hart’s recommendation to approve the budget for 2016/17, which excluded funding for school lollipop patrollers. A further debate of the service will take place at the council’s scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, 07 March.

Overwhelming opposition from schools, councillors and the public – along with three petitions with one signed by more than 1,000 people – failed to sway the mind of Devon County Council in its mission to save £250,000 a year from its budget.

Under the new proposals, school patrollers will be employed by a third party that would deliver the service on a full-cost recovery or commercial basis.

If schools decide not to fund the cost of their patrol, the alternatives are for it to be run by volunteers or to lose the service.

To make sure the service continues to be delivered safely, the council says it is prepared to continue a degree of support such as establishing and monitoring quality standards, providing training and doing risk assessments.

Save our school lollipop patrollers campaigner Marie Leverett, a mum from Stoke Hill, Exeter, said: “I sincerely hope the County Council will reconsider it’s position at the scrutiny committee on 07 March, and take some time to think through the ramifications of this ludicrous budget cut in the short, medium and long term.”

At last week’s full council meeting, Cllr Hart said: “It’s not an easy decision to make but I think it’s the right decision for us to take.”

To join the Heart to Hart campaign, send an email to Cllr Hart asking to save Devon’s school lollipop patrollers at john.hart@devon.gov.uk or call him on 01752 403554.