Plans to bring in pay and display parking in Westgate’s Station Road and Westbrook’s Canterbury Road, plus one hour time limited bays in Royal Crescent, Westbrook, are back on the table.
Last year Thanet council postponed plans to change free parking to seasonal pay and display at one road in Birchington and several in Westgate and said there would be a review of Westbrook roads. The decision followed a consultation on proposals which received more than 5,300 responses.
The consultation, which ran from Wednesday 2 May to Tuesday 29 May 2018, invited residents and local businesses to make representation and raise any objection to the proposals. Responses included emails, letters and petition signatures expressing their points of view and commenting on the proposed changes.
Thanet council said that having reviewed all of the feedback and taken into consideration the views of residents, two locations would not be included in the Orders and a third area would undergo analysis. The decision saw the removal from the proposals of The Parade, Minnis Bay and Cuthbert Road, St Mildred’s Road and Station Road in Westgate. Canterbury Road and Royal Crescent in Westbrook were to undergo traffic surveys and ‘analysis.’
However, in June last year Alpha Parking Limited, an Independent parking consultancy, were commissioned to undertake parking surveys of the roads in Minnis Bay, Westbrook and Westgate. The surveys were undertaken on July 13-14.
The report found that at Minnis Bay the majority of users were short stay visitors. At Westbrook the report says there was an influx of parking during the day with vehicles not necessarily abiding by the one hour limit in Canterbury Road.
For Westgate the report says there was little or no spare capacity during the day in Cuthbert, St Mildred’s and Station roads, adding that an influx of vehicles were from outside of the area.
Thanet council’s Joint Transportation Board will now look at new proposals for the pay and display and time limit bays.
Options under discussion
The options to be discussed include leaving The Parade in Minnis Bay as free parking but in Westbrook changing Canterbury Road to pay and display from 9am to 6pm and adding Royal Crescent to the Margate West resident parking scheme and introducing time limited bays to one hour.
In Westgate the proposal is for no changes in Cuthbert Road and St Mildred’s Road but to bring in pay and display at Station Road in Westgate between 9am-6pm.
A report to councillors says: “New on-street parking schemes will bring in new income which could be used to invest in further traffic management schemes and helping maintain our current parking service.
“Some proposals will improve sightlines for drivers and pedestrians. Additionally, some waiting restrictions on corners and at junctions will discourage inconsiderate parking and improve pedestrian access to footways which can cause particular difficulties for those with restricted mobility, wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs or prams.
“This will be of benefit to both able bodied and disabled road users. The proposals allows for disabled badge holders to park within any pay and display bays by using their blue badge meeting the needs of persons with a protected characteristic.
“All of the revised schemes will be subject to further statutory public consultation and following this consultation process the council will further consider the proposals, which include not implementing them, charging per hour for these parking areas or in line with the fees and charges agreed for that financial year.”
The seasonal charges were first proposed by the council in April 2017 as part of a three phase scheme. Following the public outcry amendments were made to the scheme in the October.
Thanet council said the revised scheme would bring in additional annual revenue of approximately £390k per year. The aim was to plug the gap left by cuts to council grants from central government. The charges were approved by councillors at the end of 2017.
Angry residents in Birchington raised a petition against the changes. Traders and residents in Westbrook and Westgate were also furious, saying the charges would “kill business.” Protestors took action with “Highway Robbery” posters appearing on sign posts across the area.
The Joint Transportation Board meeting takes place at Thanet council;’s offices in Margate on Thursday (September 12) at 7pm.