A Residents’ Parking Zone for Wardrew Road in #EXEStThomas?

Over the past couple of days there have been renewed calls on social media for a Residents’ Parking Zone [PRPZ] for Wardrew Road and the roads off – both on Facebook and Streetlife. The issue was also raised when the local Labour team recently spoke to residents of Maple Road.

One of the problems about establishing a new RPZ is the cost.

Just to install simple double yellow lines requires a statutory Traffic Regulation Order, which cost in the region of £4,000 to advertise the relevant details – I haven’t an estimate on what it costs to consult and make Residential Parking Zones, but undoubtably much more that than £4k.

As  a result, Devon County Council, through the Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC],  has come up with a set of priorities across Exeter.

Priority of Residents Parking Schemes
Priority of Residents Parking Schemes

These were decided at an Exeter HATOC meeting held on 20 January, 2014, where the minutes note:

*39 Priorities for Residents Parking in Exeter

(Councillor Westlake declared a personal interest by virtue of being resident in a potential proposed Residents Parking area)

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Highways, Capital Development and Waste  on an update on the future delivery of residents parking in Exeter in accordance with identified areas put forward for consideration by the Committee’s Congestion Working Party and previously updated by this Committee on 08 November 2012 [Exeter HATOC – Report from the Congestion Management Working Group].

It was MOVED by Councillor Owen, SECONDED by Councillor Westlake and

(a) that the residents parking priority list, in section 3 of report HCW/14/3 – text only | pdf HCW/14/3, be adopted subject to consultation with the Chairman and local City and County Members regarding specific roads and boundaries at the appropriate time; and

(b) that the priority list be reviewed every two years.

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

Pavement Parking – the currrent situation in Exeter




Dear Living Streets

Well done over recent days and weeks on the street parking issue in support of Martin Horwood’s Private Members’ Bill.

I’ve been meaning to do this for some while – update you on the current situation in Exeter.

As the appendix to your execellent guide [Policy Briefing 01/10 – Parking and the pedestrian] from February 2010 points out – pavement parking USED to be illegal under the by-law contained within the Exeter Act

Unfortunately when parking enforcement moved from police (criminal offence) to county (civil), the powers that be didn’t transfer the powers they held under Exeter Act.

Over the last 3 years, Exeter Highways & Traffic Orders Committee have been trying to rectify this situation but have been stymied by Secretary of State for Transport who had decreed that current signs on all boundaries are not sufficient to allow enforcement and has told DCC officers that repeater signs would need to be installed every 400m or so.

Gateway sign as required by s30 of Exeter Act 1987
Gateway sign in Cowick as required by s30 of Exeter Act 1987

Even ingnoring the cost of several £100ks, this seems ot go against all other directives about reducing street clutter.

There are some roads (even in my own ward) where, if pavement parking was prevented, legal parking would make the streets too narrow for traffic to pass. We often have problems on one road, where legal parking prevents the only bus for the ward getting down the street!

So I’m keem 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.

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

Keep up the good work


First thoughts on pavement parking

I’m often contacted about the issue of parking on pavement.

Surely it’s easy to stop pavement parking, isn’t it? You just don’t do it, as it’s against the law (and the Highway Code) and if you do, you can be given a ticket

Everyone seems  to think it’s illegal and against the law – I’m still trying to get my head round the problem, but this issue isn’t as simple as it seems to work out.

Let me try and explain.

Most parking and traffic issues are the direct responsibility of Devon Country Council acting as the highways authority.

In 1987, Exeter became one of the few places outside of London where parking on the pavement became illegal – under a by-law put forward by Exeter City Council known as the Exeter Act 1987. On all the outer borders of Exeter you’ll see a sign saying “No parking on footways, verges or central reserves”. This is a sign specific to Exeter and has to have special approval from the Secretary of State for Transport.

No Pavement Parking gateway sign on Barley Lane [although it is actually facing the wrong way!]
So the situation was that Exeter City Council had a by-law that Devon County Council had to implement as highways authority.

Parking enforcement used to be carried out by traffic wardens, working for Devon and Cornwall Police. In this respect they issued parking tickets for parking on pavements.

In May 2008, responsibility for parking enforcement passed to Devon County Council [DCC] and they put in place a system whereby Exeter City Council – through Civil Parking Enforcement Officers – issue PCN tickets for stationary vehicle offenses as an agent of DCC [phew!]

In the transfer, someone somewhere forgot the Exeter Act.

In trying to resolve the issue over the past few months, the Department for Transport [DfT] have become involved and said that to be able to enforce the by-law those signs with SofS approval need to be more frequent – suggesting 1 every 450m of so. The cost of this would run into hundreds of thousands.

So at present DCC are negotiating with DfT over this issue – and its seems are currently at stalemate

DCC through the Exeter HATOC {Highways and Traffic Order Committee] on which I sit as an ECC elected member alongside all 9 DCC County Councillors ares till trying to resolve this matter.