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.

exeter-act-1987-cover

section-30-of-exeter-city-council-act-1987

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.

exeter-hatoc-minute-119

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

Exeter HATOC | Pavement parking

Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] meets on 28 July 2015 and once again is set to discuss the issue of pavement parking

10. Update on Parking on Pavements

In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Owen has requested that the Committee consider this matter

Presentation by the Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste

Electoral Division: all in Exeter

When Devon County Council took over parking enforcement on 08 May 2008, there wasn’t time to transfer the provisions of the Exeter Act 1987 at the same time.

Since then parking on pavements has been a constant feature on Exeter HATOC’s agend

02/02/12

9. Parking on Pavements and Enforcement
In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Owen has asked that the Committee consider this item

Report of the Head of Highways and Traffic Management ( HTM/12/4 – text only | pdf ) (Page 23) on details of the relevant Act and enforcement.

Electoral Divisions: All in Exeter

*118. Parking on Pavements and Enforcement
(In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Owen had asked that the Committee consider this item)

The Committee noted the report of the Head of Highways and Traffic Management (HTM/12/4 – text only | pdf ) on proposals for the County Council to take over parking enforcement from the Police (decriminalisation) regarding provisions within an Exeter City Council local Act implemented in 1987 in respect of prohibition of parking on verges, central reservations and footways.

The Neighbourhood Highway Group Manager reported that the Department of Transport has now published a Statutory Instrument that amends the schedules in the Traffic Management Act 2004 to decriminalise prohibition of parking on verges, central reservations and footways in Exeter City. The County Council would now check that the signs indicating the restricted areas and publicise that the provisions would now be enforced by Civil Enforcements Officers (and not the police). Current exemptions where permitted would still be applicable.

It was MOVED by Councillor Hobden, SECONDED by Councillor Leadbetter and
RESOLVED that this development be welcomed and that the new provisions be implemented as expeditiously as possible following appropriate consultation and publicity.

19/04/12 

10.  Implementation and Enforcement of Parking on Footways and Verges
In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Macdonald has requested that the Committee consider this item.

Electoral Division: All in Exeter

*132 Implementation and Enforcement of Parking on Footways and Verges
(In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Macdonald has requested that the Committee consider this item).

(Councillor Bull attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

The Neighbourhood Highway Group Manager reported that a review of the signage and their replacement was underway. Implementation of the new enforcement powers by the County Council (through the Civil Enforcement Officers) was planned for September 2012. Exemptions would be permitted under the regulations.

The Committee noted the position.

08/11/12

16. Various Highways Matters
In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Bull has requested that the Committee consider the following items:
(b) Update on the pavement parking situation.

*162. Highways Matters
(In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Bull had asked that the Committee consider the following items):
(b) Update on the pavement parking situation.

Although arising from a by-law from Exeter City Council, Devon County Council – as highways agency – are responsible for signage, etc. DfT have advised that additional signage is required (at intervals of around 400m) – how has this changed from the situation prior to 2008 change of parking enforcement operation? It is NOT a TRO matter but I’ve been advised that we should discuss a scheme for members to add additional exemptions to those that already have such exemptions (like Sussex Cl and Wiltshire Cl in Cowick).

The Head of Highways and Traffic Management reported that detailed discussion between the County Council and the Department of Transport were continuing. In the interim any suggested exemptions proposed by Members should be referred to the Exeter Neighbourhood Highway Team (Devon County Council) to assess.

22/07/14

10. Parking on Pavement
In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Owen has requested that the Committee consider this matter.

Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste to report.

Electoral Divisions: All in Exeter

*71 Parking on Pavements
(Councillor Bull attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Owen had requested that the Committee consider what action could be taken to reduce parking on pavements.

The Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste reported that following consultation with the Department for Transport he was developing proposals and options, in consultation with other local authorities and industry associations, to enable enforcement of parking on pavement restrictions whilst still maintaining, as appropriate, exemptions in respect of the more narrow and congested urban roads.

It was MOVED by Councillor Owen, SECONDED by Councillor Prowse and
RESOLVED that a report on proposals relating to enforcement of parking on pavements restrictions be presented to the next meeting of this Committee.

10/11/14

8. Parking on footways
Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste to report.

Electoral Divisions: All in Exeter

*82 Parking on footways
The Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste reported on the Pavement Parking Bill 2014-15 proceeding through Parliament to make provision for the safety, convenience and free movement on pavements of disabled people, older people, people accompanying young children, and other pavement users; to clarify, strengthen and simplify the law relating to parking on pavements in England and Wales; and for connected purposes. It was anticipated that the Bill would also cover inappropriate parking on verges. The County Council had made representation on this matter to the British Parking Association and the Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London (PATROL) who would be consulting with other local authorities to ascertain best practice on how to deal with this matter in the interim.

Pending statutory and best practice guidance the County Council would not be proposing any policy changes but that a report would be submitted to Cabinet on future options at the appropriate time.

 

Private Members Bills and pavement parking

When  receiving updates on pavement parking from DCC Officers at recent Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee meetings, elected members were told that some of the lack of progress on re-introducing the Exeter Act 1987 was that a Bill was progressing through Parliament. This is what was said at Exeter HATOC when we had our last update, on 10 November 2014:

*82 Parking on footways
The Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste reported on the Pavement Parking Bill 2014-15 proceeding through Parliament to make provision for the safety, convenience and free movement on pavements of disabled people, older people, people accompanying young children, and other pavement users; to clarify, strengthen and simplify the law relating to parking on pavements in England and Wales; and for connected purposes. It was anticipated that the Bill would also cover inappropriate parking on verges.

What the officer didn’t say was that the Pavement Parking Bill 2014-15 was a Private Members’ Bill, introduced by Martin Horwood MP [LD, Cheltenham].

Although Private Members’ Bills are the same as other Public Bills in that they change the law as it applies to the general population, and so must go through the same set of stages, without the backing of the Government it is less likely that PMB will get through all the stages in time to be an Act, and therefore pass into law.

There are three ways of introducing Private Members’ Bills in the House of Commons: the Ballot, the Ten Minute Rule and Presentation:

1) The Ballot
Ballot Bills have the best chance of becoming law, as they get priority for the limited amount of debating time available. The names of Members applying for a Bill are drawn in a ballot held on the second sitting Thursday of a parliamentary session. Normally, the first seven ballot Bills are most likely to get a day’s debate.

The first reading (formal presentation – no debate) of ballot Bills takes place on the fifth sitting Wednesday of a parliamentary session.

2) Ten Minute Rule
Ten Minute Rule Bills are often an opportunity for Members to voice an opinion on a subject or aspect of existing legislation, rather than a serious attempt to get a Bill passed.

Members make speeches of no more than ten minutes outlining their position, which another Member may oppose in a similar short statement. It is a good opportunity to raise the profile of an issue and to see whether it has support among other Members.

3) Presentation
Any Member may introduce a Bill in this way as long as he or she has previously given notice of their intention to do so. Members formally introduce the title of the Bill but do not speak in support of it – they rarely become law.

As it stands under standing order 14 (9) Private Members’ Bills have precedence over government business on thirteen Fridays in each session – and on the first seven Fridays allotted to Private Members’ Bills, precedence is given to Ballot Bills.

Martin Horwood was voted 20 out of 20 in the 2014 Ballot and his Bill received it’s First Reading in the House of Commons on 02 July 2015 [Hansard 02 July 2014 : Column 900]. As well as allowing for the printing of the Bill [Bill 32], the First Reading also timetabled the Second Reading on Friday 12 September 2015.

Despite appearing on the Order Paper on 12 September 2015, and some subsequent Fridays, there was no guaranteed time to debate the Bill and it fell when Parliament was dissolved on Monday 30 March 2015.

That’s not the end of the story as the 2015 Ballot for Private Members’ Bills took place on 04 June 2015. Coming in at number 10 of the 20 successful MPs was Simon Hoare MP [CON, North Dorset]. He is sponsoring Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill 2015-16.

This Bill received its First Reading on 24 June 2015 [Hansard 24 June 2014 : Column 905] where it was resolved that
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 4 December, and to be printed (Bill 16).

I hope this makes more progress than Martin Horwood’s Private Members’ Bill.

Further Reading:
James White: Parking Attitudes Survey 2013 – An independent survey uncovering the attitudes of drivers in the UK towards parking on pavements [Guide Dogs, January 2013]

Cover of Guide Dog's Parking Attitudes Survey 2013
Cover of Guide Dog’s Parking Attitudes Survey 2013

Some thoughts on Tony Hogg’s comments about pavement parking

Cllr Paul Bull with an end of Pavement Parking sign
Cllr Paul Bull with an End of Pavement Parking sign (Diagram P667.2)

As someone has long been concerned about pavement parking, it is good news that Tony Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon & Cornwall has come out with strong comments on the issue [Parking on Exeter pavements is ‘inconsiderate’ says police boss Tony Hogg E&E 23 June 2015].

It concerns me because it makes life difficult for many – pedestrians with mobility issues, those with visual impairments, users wheelchair and mobility scooters, and parents with buggies and pushchairs among them.

The article highlights section 30 of Exeter City Council Act 1987 which prohibits the parking of vehicles on verges, central reservations and footways.

s30 of Exeter Act 1987
s30 of Exeter Act 1987

It seems  since 1987 many motorists were prosecuted under s30.

However, the article make it clear that the situation changed dramatically in May 2008 (not January 2012) when parking violations became civil offences, with Civil Enforcement Officers [CEOs] enforcing regulations by issuing Penalty Charge Notices [PCNs].

Unfortunately, the terms of s30 were not transferred at the same so, despite the comments of both Tony Hogg and Cllr Percy Prowse, CEOs currently cannot issue PCNs for pavement parking.

This might come as a surprise to many who believe that pavement parking is against the Highway Code.

Rule 244 of the Highway Code states:
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. Law GL(GP)A sect 15

So rule 244 needs a little decoding by looking at those two phrases – MUST NOT and should not.

Many of the rules in The Highway Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. Such rules are identified by the use of the words ‘MUST/MUST NOT’. In addition, the rule includes an abbreviated reference to the legislation which creates the offence.

Although failure to comply with the other rules of The Highway Code will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted, The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts (see The road user and the law) to establish liability. This includes rules which use advisory wording such as ‘should/should not’ or ‘do/do not’.

So parking on the pavement in Exeter is NOT illegal in itself.

However, my research has revealed that there TWO regulations that could result in fines. It is illegal to drive a vehicle on the footway (Highways Act 1835 s72) and to cause an obstruction (Highways Act 1980 s137). Both the latter carry fines (Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, s51 and schedule 3).

However, it is difficult to enforce and prove guilt in these cases. Despite the obvious inference that a parked vehicle has been driven on the footway prior to being parked there, witnesses to the driving may be needed to secure a prosecution.

Similarly the offence of obstruction of the highway is difficult to prove, particularly if police claim that it is possible to negotiate the obstacle whilst remaining within the boundaries of the highway – even if this means a diversion for pedestrians off the pavement. Despite this reluctance of the police to prosecute, there is a good deal of case law on the general issue of ‘obstruction’ and ‘unnecessary obstruction’.

Back in 2009, The Department for Transport  stated that:
“There is currently no national legislation banning the parking of all vehicles on the pavement, due to the wide range of circumstances and locations where pavement parking occurs. For example in some narrow residential roads with a lack of off-street parking provision, drivers have little option but to park on the pavement to avoid causing traffic hazards.

“The Government has no plans at present to introduce new legislation specifically aimed at banning pavement parking on a national scale.”

During the 2014-15 Parliament, two Private Members Bills sought to address the issue: one by Mark Lazarowicz MP [LAB/Co-op], Edinbburgh North and Leith] to devolve powers to introduce a pavement parking ban to the Scottish Government; and one by Martin Horwood MP [LD, Cheltenham] to introduce a blanket pavement parking ban in England and Wales.

Mark Lazarowicz’s Responsible Parking (Scotland) Bill 2014-15 was instigated by problems Scottish MSPs have had introducing their own legislation in this area – such Sandra White MSP [SNP, Glasgow Kelvin] had proposed in her Responsible Parking (Scotland) Bill. Mark’s Bill received Second Reading in the House of Commons in September 2014, but was adjourned and then withdrawn

Martin Horwood’s Pavement Parking Bill 2014-15  was due to receive Second Reading, first in September 2014, then in January 2015 and finally in March 2015, but the Bill will make no further progress following the dissolution of Parliament on 30 March 2015.

In summary, pavement parking is anti-social, can be illegal and both the highway authority (usually the County Council) and the police can and should take action in many circumstances. I would like to see drivers being issued with a penalty charge notice (PCN) if they obstruct a dropped kerb or block a pavement.

I appreciate there may need to be exceptions to this ban as where the road layout might require vehicles to park on part of the pavement, whilemaintaining space for all pedestrians to pass. Local Authorities should be able to make exemptions based on local circumstances. However, I believe that such exemptions should be the exception and each such exemption requires adequate justification.

Diagram P667.2 from The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions [TSRGD] 2002
Diagram P667.2 from The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions [TSRGD] 2002
Further reading:
Highways Act 1835 s72
If any person shall wilfully ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers; or shall wilfully lead or drive any horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, or cattle or carriage of any description, or any truck or sledge, upon any such footpath or causeway; or shall tether any horse, ass, mule, swine, or cattle, on any highway, so as to suffer or permit the tethered animal to be thereon;

House of Commons Standard Note SN1172: Parking – pavement and on-street [17 November 2014]
Download  HERE

Department of Transport discussion paper, Pavement Parking – Curbing an Abuse [December 1986]

#EXcouncil | @ExeterCouncil Budget speech by @ExeterLabour’s @CllrPeteEdwards

Work commitments meant that I’m in Hexham as the special meeting of Exeter City Council set the Budget – and so I missed the “State of the Union” address by the Leader, Cllr Pete Edwards.

The minutes of that meeting will outline what Pete said in his Budget speech, but no worries – I received a copy of what he said

Leader’s Budget Speech
24 February 2015

Lord Mayor, I hold out this Vision for Our Future (Exeter Vision…Our City, Our Future, Exeter Vision Partnership, 2003) to remind us all of the journey we have been on as a city for over a decade, to remind everyone that this city has enjoyed the highest level of growth of productivity of any city in this country and we do not shy of taking difficult decisions.

The city centre is the engine of our local economy and requires disciplined action over the long course to ensure we continue to do what is necessary to direct investment in the city centre.

I am committed to delivering a swimming pool and leisure complex on the Bus and Coach Station site in line with our Corporate Plan and previous decisions taken by this Council.

We continue to work with Crown Estates to deliver a comprehensive redevelopment that will ensure Exeter remains the destination of choice by investors.

The Budget

Turning now to the Budget, I would like to again remind Members, Officers and the wider public that reductions in Central Government funding are amongst the most severe cuts we have faced in living memory. The Council has contented with a 15.6% reduction in Government Formula Grant in setting the budget for 2015/16 and will have to completely reshape itself in order to deliver these ad the additional £3m worth of savings required over the next few years.

An ambitious Council

In spite of this, we are still an ambitious Council and are determined to ensure that the City achieves its potential and our residents receive quality services. We continue to support the City, ensuring it is at the forefront of economic recovery and have supported the delivery of:
– 3,468 new homes since 2011-12 – more that any other district in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay – earning the Council £10.2m in New Homes Bonus
– Since 01 April 2014, 64 affordable homes have been delivered with 235 further affordable homes consented and in the pipeline for national house builders
– 20 new Council homes will be completed by June 2015, with a further 26 under construction for completion later in the year.

The Economy

Last year the Chamber of Commerce reported the highest increase in business confidence. This is reflected in strong performance in the property market, both commercial and housing, the visitor economy, and investment in the city centre.

Over the previous tow years:
– visitors to Exeter have increased by 10.3%
– visitor spend has increased by 14.31%

Plans for the redevelopment of the Guildhall Shopping Centre are full-steam ahead, and we have seen new companies such as Jamie’s Italian, Byron Burger, etc moving into Exeter.

There has been a significant increase in demand for industrial units and a number of large car showrooms have committed themselves to the new Matford Green Business park.

The amount of secondhand office accommodation has shrunk by a half. Indeed, we are now hearing from the property sector that we will have a shortage of supply, such is the demand for accommodation.

It is also important that we recognise the scale of investment that continues that continues to be made in the city by the University of Exeter, the most recent example being the Living Systems building, a £52m capital investment on the University campus.

The most significant investment over the year has been the decision by the Met office to invest over £100m in the new Supercomputer at Exeter Science park. This will be a tremendous boost to our local economy and will mean the early opening-up of the Science Park.

There are a number of other investments that are being made at the Science Park on the back of this decision, and with the support of the Local Enterprise Partnership.

As members will be aware we are investors in the Science Park hub and we play an important part in the Exeter & Heart of Devon Growth Board which administers funding and steers the strategic projects.

On a more local level, we are supporting the development of a local currency – the Exeter Pound – to support local small businesses and independent traders. It is anticipated that the organisation and the currency will be up and running by September 2015 in time for PWC 2015.

As the economy grows we face a shortage of workers in the construction sector. To address this ECC, EDDC and MDDC are due to sign a Construction Skills Concordat. The Concordat will ensure that when the Councils award contracts for capital programme and maintenance work, they give favourable consideration to those companies that have a clear and well evidenced approach to supporting the development of a skilled workforce – for example, in terms of taking on apprentices and recruiting locally. We will work with partners to support the roll-out of the Construction Industry Training Board’s Client-Based Approach.

We wil continue to offer apprentices, develop work experience for those with disabilities, mental health problems and other barriers to work, and work with employers to expand these schemes.

We have 8 apprentices working across the Council and we have appointed 2 apprentices into full-time employment.

Flood Protection Scheme

As a Council, we have also invested in the infrastructure of the city; we have contributed the £3m promised towards the £32m flood defence scheme.

Sport…and the Rugby World Cup

Turning now to a sporting theme, I am sure everybody will share with me in singling out for praise for Jo Pavey this year for her outstanding achievements, and as a fitting tribute we have completed the improvements to Exeter Arena with a completely new running track.

Sticking with the sporting theme, the Rugby World Cup 2015 will be a major event for the city and something we can be proud of.

It is estimated that Exeter being a Host City will generate an extra £39m of economic activity for the city. The city is expected to welcome an additional 120,000 visitors to the city for the duration of of the Rugby World Cup [Source: Ernst & Young]

What members may be less aware of is the work that is going on to build a legacy programme fro the event.

Already this has seem the establishment of a women’s team and recently the holding of a rugby empowering and employment programme.

I am also delighted by the decision of the RFU to host the 7-a-side European Region tournament at Sandy Park on 11 & 12 July.

All bodes well for our local economy. Indeed, Exeter’s economy continues to go from strength to strength, and the momentum of growth we have worked so hard to keep going has now firmly taken hold.

Health & Wellbeing Board

A key part of the legacy work is increasing activity to make Exeter the most active city in the South West. We are working with the Exeter Health & Wellbeing board and other partners to increase levels of physical activity in the city, and to promote the sustainable use of the river, canal, and other green spaces for outdoor leisure activities. Last summer saw a highly successful Ping! Exeer project in the city.

Energy Saving Measures 

We continue to work hard to invest in projects that will reduce our revenue running costs without affecting frontline services, and have begun the programme of delivering £4m worth of energy saving projects using solar panels on our buildings and car aprks, along with replacing inefficient boilers and lighting in our offices.

These projects will deliver tangible savings without affecting frontline service delivery.

Looking to the future

I think it is important that I single out the recent initiative we have taken with the leaders of Teignbridge and East Devon District Councils to develop greater collaboration between us for the sake of the greater Exeter area.

This is a strategic partnership that offers a better way going forward to plan for our economy and I am sure greater collaboration will be the call from National Government of whichever party forms the next Government.

For next year’s Budget we have made another £1.4m of savings to the revenue cost of the Council by a combination of restructuring and efficiency savings. We have again managed to achieve this without a reduction in frontline services but this will be evermore challenging over the next four years.

Conclusion

Finally Lord Mayor, Councillors – the Budget that I am proposing to you this evening aims to deliver the necessary savings,  and to protect and maintain as far as possible the services which the citizens of Exeter need most. I therefore propose to you the recommendation set out in the papers before you in terms og the approval of both the revenue estimates and the capital programme for the year 2015-16.

This will result in the setting of a District Council Tax of £135.05 for a Band D property, an increase of 1.99% over the previous year, an equivalent of £2.63 per year, or 5p per week. This will mean we will still have the lowest District Council Tax in Devon.

I so move

Is there a social need for the #CowickPBus in the evening and on Sunday?

Exeter City Council have analysed the 2011 Census on a ward-by-ward basis across Exeter.

The data for Cowick gives some interesting points to consider when feeding into Devon County Council’s Public Transport Review:
Persons of retirement age                                          = 22.6% 2nd highest ward of 18
Persons stating general health ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ =  5.9% 3rd highest ward of 18
Households with no cars / vans                                = 21.3% 12th highest ward of 18

Just the sort of people who need and use the P bus – the only route that serves the majority of the ward; the one that doesn’t go anywhere the GP surgery that serves the ward; and who would become isolated if DCC withdraws the subsidy for evening and Sunday services.

As part of of it’s Public Sector Equality Duty,  DCC have published an Impact Assessment and a Needs Assessment as part of the consultation.

The Needs Assessment in particular talks about the the value of bus services in Devon and acknowledges
Withdrawing public transport is much more than just a withdrawal of a service – likely to profoundly affecting people’s lives adversely in a way that many other service withdrawals do not, by denying access to many services, jobs and independence

And the same paper quotes from a 2014 survey :
73.7% of all passengers on DCC funded bus services could not travel long-term if a bus service ceased
58% had no alternative way to make the journey if the service was cut.
46% are totally dependent on the bus
and a further 37% are “quite dependent” of which 38% did not think the alternative would be sustainable

And it links to to study by PTEG who represent the strategic transport bodies serving the six largest city regions outside London and declare themselves “the voice of urban transport”.

The Case for the Urban Bus – the economic and social value of bus networks in the metropolitan areas (March 2013) has a section devoted to bus travel for older people:

4.60. Despite the fact that people increasingly enjoy a sociable, healthy and active older age, it is
estimated that overall, around 10% of people aged over 65 in the UK are lonely all or most of
the time. Some 12% of older people feel trapped in their own homes and 17% are in
contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week.

4.61. These problems can be exacerbated if the bus services that older people rely on are cut
back, curtailing their ability to access key local services and to socialise and maintain vital
links with friends and family.

So some strong evidence on the important of a decent bus service in combating social isolation.

Yet none of this seems to feed into DCC’s Public Transport Review which is focussed entirely on costs.

The section on the P service suggests that the withdrawal of evening and Sunday services on the route would mean 17,541 passenger journeys per year would be lost to give an annual saving of £24,119.

Gong back to the 2014 survey which said 58% had no alternative way to make the journey if the service was cut, that 10,000 passengers unable to make a journey – 30 passengers a day facing possible social isolation

So I question if the strict application is the only criteria that needs to be considered?

There are no parallel routes available to Cowick (and Pennsylvania) residents. It’s a long haul up the hill from Buddle Lane for elderly residents. There must be someway of quantifying the social needs of potential passengers as well as the financial implications.

I’m writing this in Hexham (where I’m currently working for a few days)

Northumberland County Council are also carrying out a consultation on future funding of subsidised bus services.

In the past NCC has, like DCC,  used  has used a simple cost per passenger criteria to assess value for money for subsidised bus services.

In there current consultation, NCC is applying a sustainability test by combining  Cost per passenger and Passenger need/benefit

Screen shot 2015-02-22 at 16.38.18

I wonder if this would show that the evening and Sunday services on the P route are sustainable?

Further reading:  Sustrans: Locked Out, Transport Poverty in England (Sept. 2012).
(Transport Poverty and the contribution of public transport to reduce it)

#PavementParking in #Exeter – why the provisions of the Exeter Act 1987 have fallen into the long grass

Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.

However, the law surrounding the practice of pavement parking is extremely confused and confusing.

The Highway Code states in Rule 244: You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.

So, in London, parking on pavements is illegal under the Greater London Council Act (1974), except in specifically designated areas, which much be clearly marked.

But elsewheren the rest of the UK the law is more complex.

Heavy commercial vehicles are banned from parking on the footway (Road Traffic Act 1988 s19 and s20), except when goods are being unloaded and and the vehicle is not creating a danger or an obstruction.

It is illegal to drive a vehicle on the footway (Highways Act 1835 s.72) and to cause an obstruction (Highways Act 1980 s. 137). Both the latter carry fines (Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, s.51 and schedule 3).

However, it is difficult to enforce and prove guilt in these cases. Despite the obvious inference that a parked vehicle has been driven on the footway prior to being parked there, witnesses to the driving may be needed to secure a prosecution.

Similarly the offence of obstruction of the highway is difficult to prove, particularly if police claim that it is possible to negotiate the obstacle whilst remaining within the boundaries of the highway – even if this means a diversion for pedestrians off the pavement.

The Department for Transport have stated that:
“There is currently no national legislation banning the parking of all vehicles on the pavement, due to the wide range of circumstances and locations where pavement parking occurs. For example in some narrow residential roads with a lack of off-street parking provision, drivers have little option but to park on the pavement to avoid causing traffic hazards.”

Back In 1987, Exeter City Council took a robust attitude to the problem of pavement parking – rather than using Traffic Regulation Orders [TROs] in specific areas, they used legislation to impose a city-wide ban. By virtue of section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 [commonly referred to as the Exeter Act 1987], footway and verge parking on urban roads was prohibited:

section-30-of-exeter-city-council-act-1987
The Act went on to say: (8) The Council shall erect notices on roads at the borders of the area to which the prohibition specified in subsection (1) above applies.

nadder-park-road-obscured-sign-02
Gateway sign on Barley Lane where it jois Nadder Park Road (although in photo it is facing the wrong way!)

So, the Exeter Act 1987 made parking on the footway or verge a criminal offence. And traffic wardens did enforce it by issuing parking tickets. There were some exceptions, and these were marked with specific signs – Sussex Close and Wiltshire Close off Somerset Avenue in Cowick are 2 such examples.

TSRGD Sign 667 Vehicles permitted to park partially on the footway (Sussex Close)

Notice in the above paragraph I used the past tense!

Up until 2008, parking violations were criminal offences and enforced either by the police and/or traffic wardens. In May 2008, those powers transferred to Devon County Council and now Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) enforce parking restrictions using powers issued by the Secretary of State under regulations within the Traffic Management Act 2004.

When DCC applied for Civil Parking Enforcement powers the request was also made that the provisions of Section 30 of the Exeter City Act 1987 be included in the Schedules to the Traffic Management Act. However, due to time constraints this was not possible. As a result, the provisions within the Exeter City Act were not transferred to DCC and therefore responsibility for enforcement currently remains with the Police Authority.

Since then, Exeter Highways & Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] have been trying to rectify this situation.

At its meeting on 02 February 2012, Exeter HATOC considered a report, Pavement Parking in Exeter

Minute 118 of this meeting notes that it was RESOLVED that this development be welcomed and that the new provisions be implemented as expeditiously as possible following appropriate consultation and publicity.

In accordance with Standing Order 23(2) Councillor Macdonald has requested that Exeter HATOC consider this item again at the subsequent meeting held on 19 April 2012.

Minute 132 of this meeting noted that I attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item.

I asked about how vehicles parked over the dropped kerb entrance to their own driveways would be treated if and when pavement parking was enforced.

The minute goes on to say that The Neighbourhood Highway Group Manager reported that a review of the signage and their replacement was underway. Implementation of the new enforcement powers by the County Council (through the Civil Enforcement Officers) was planned for September 2012. Exemptions would be permitted under the regulations. The Committee noted the position.

On 08 November 2012, Exeter HATOC received an update on the pavement parking situation.

Although arising from a by-law from Exeter City Council, Devon County Council – as highways agency – are responsible for signage, etc. DfT have advised that additional signage is required (at intervals of around 400m) – how has this changed from the situation prior to 2008 change of parking enforcement operation? It is NOT a TRO matter but I’ve been advised that we should discuss a scheme for members to add additional exemptions to those that already have such exemptions (like Sussex Cl and Wiltshire Cl in Cowick).

Minute 162 of this meeting adds that the Head of Highways and Traffic Management reported that detailed discussion between the County Council and the Department of Transport were continuing. In the interim any suggested exemptions proposed by Members should be referred to the Exeter Neighbourhood Highway Team (Devon County Council) to assess.

So it seems that plans to reintroduce the provisions of schedule 30 of the Exeter 1987 have been stymied by Secretary of State for Transport. Even ingnoring the cost of several £100ks, this seems ot go against all other directives about reducing street clutter.

The next time that Exeter HATOC considered the matter was at its meeting held on 22 July 2014.

Once again I attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item. I pointed out that there are some roads in Cowick where, if pavement parking was prevented, legal parking would make the streets too narrow for traffic to pass. We often have problems on Barley Farm Road, where legal parking prevents the only bus for the ward getting down the street!

barley-farm-road-pavement-parking
Pavement parking on Barley Farm Road

So I pointed out that I’m keen to explore the option used by Oxford, Slough and maybe others – with a line denoting where cars can pavement park and if this line is breached, a PCN can be issued.

The minutes of the meeting note that the Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste reported that following consultation with the Department for Transport he was developing proposals and options, in consultation with other local authorities and industry associations, to enable enforcement of parking on pavement restrictions whilst still maintaining, as appropriate, exemptions in respect of the more narrow and congested urban roads.

It was MOVED by Councillor Owen, SECONDED by Councillor Prowse and RESOLVED that a report on proposals relating to enforcement of parking on pavements restrictions be presented to the next meeting of this Committee.

So at the meeting of 10 November 2014, pavement parking was again considered.

Minute 82 of this meeting reported on the Pavement Parking Bill 2014-15 proceeding through Parliament to make provision for the safety, convenience and free movement on pavements of disabled people, older people, people accompanying young children, and other pavement users; to clarify, strengthen and simplify the law relating to parking on pavements in England and Wales; and for connected purposes. It was anticipated that the Bill would also cover inappropriate parking on verges.

The County Council had made representation on this matter to the British Parking Association and the Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London (PATROL) who would be consulting with other local authorities to ascertain best practice on how to deal with this matter in the interim.

Pending statutory and best practice guidance the County Council would not be proposing any policy changes but that a report would be submitted to Cabinet on future options at the appropriate time.

So it seems, for now, DCC officers are letting discussions in Parliament take their (extremely slow) course.

And what of the progress of that Bill?

It was hoped that the Pavement Parking Bill 2014-15 would be receive its Second Reading on 09 January 2015 but there was insufficient time to consider it.

It has been rescheduled for a Second Reading on 27 March 2015, but I  don’t think this is likely to be heard (it will be the last session before the general election).

Further Reading: Living Streets are a dedicated group of professionals and volunteers, working together to create safer streets around the UK and in February 2010 published a Policy Briefing on pavement parking