August 14, 2015
Outcry from residents over plans for Highbridge parking shake-up

Controversial plans to introduce new residents parking permits and extra double yellow lines in a residential area of Highbridge have led to an outcry from angry residents.

Somerset County Council wants to make a number of changes to parking arrangements “to find a solution to residents’ parking problems”, however the residents say they have not been properly consulted about the scheme.

The council’s TRO (Traffic Regulation Order), which can be viewed here, proposes that a mixture of Permit Holder Only Zones and No Parking Zones are introduced to address parking issues in Newtown Road, Cuthbert Street, Tyler Way, Ladd Close, King Street and Scott Road. Residents will be charged £60 for the permits.

But resident Louise Bates said: “Somerset County Council have been incredibly underhand in the ‘notification’ of this ‘proposed’ parking scheme. There is to my knowledge one A4 notice pinned to a telephone pole at the end of Victoria Place – actually facing into Victoria Place as opposed to one of the streets in question.”

“There is not enough parking in this area anyway. Imposing restricted parking is not going to improve the situation, it is merely a way to raise monies. The reason given for the proposal is, and I quote from the notice, ‘To avoid danger to persons or other traffic using the road or any other road or for preventing the likelihood of such danger arising, or to preserve or improve amenities of the are through which the roads run’’.

Louise said: “This smacks of redtape gobbledegook being cut and pasted from various documents as a ‘coverall’ statement. Whoever decided on this action obviously has no personal knowledge of the roads affected or this area in general. It seems to be madness to all who live here. Somerset County Council would have been much better served to actually consult with the people in the roads that will be impacted.”

“The wider implications are many fold, not least the question of where do we actually park when the permit areas have reduced the number of parking areas, and potential lowering in re-sale value of homes.”

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: “The proposals will not alleviate any danger to people, in fact, by reducing the number of spaces available, they are increasing the danger to young children and elderly residents forced to park further away from their house. The nature of the streets mean that drivers must reverse the length of the street either to arrive or to leave; minimising that danger will not be achieved by charging residents to park outside their house.”

And another resident, Richard Hornsby, added: “During the time that the new parking restrictions would be in place – 8am-6pm – these roads are empty anyway. It’s in the evening that all these cars appear from people who live here – it means they will have to pay for the privilege of working and living here.”

Another resident, Pamela Butler, added: “The plans are idiotic. There is room to turn part of the grassed footapth into extra parking spaces and help the problems. I suggested that three or four years ago but they said no, you’d be backing onto a main road.”

Highbridge town councillor Bill Hancock told this week he was unaware of the proposals, saying: “This is the first I have heard about the plans – there has not been any proper consultation. The County Council should be giving residents and ward councillors plenty of time to review the plans and provide their comments. Changes like this shouldn’t be taken lightly – once implemented they might be there for years and have a big impact on the day-to-day lives of residents.”

But Somerset County Council spokeswoman Daisy Blacklock told “The residents parking scheme in Highbridge has been developed in response to requests from the local community to find a solution to their parking problems.”

“At this stage these are only proposals and anyone wishing to object can write to the Traffic Management Team, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY stating the reasons for their objection. We urge all affected residents to share their views with us before the consultation closes on Wednesday, 2nd September 2015.”