A decision to improve parking enforcement in Greenwich borough has been watered down by Greenwich Council after the Cabinet Member for Transport intervened.
As covered last year, Greenwich Council outsourced parking enforcement in many parts of the borough to a private company named Wing Parking who for some years lacked the legal ability to search for vehicle owners and issue fines. In effect this made enforcement next to impossible, saw some areas become parking free-for-alls and a lack of enforcement cost much revenue. Greenwich then wasted large sums on street furniture to mitigate, making some footways an obstacle course of pavement clutter instead of enforcing pavement parking.
Disabled pedestrians bore the brunt.
That was finally set to change by bringing parking in-house after a 2021 decision – seven years after being told to change. The council’s report states:
“In 2014 the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport wrote to all authorities, informing them that the Government does not recognise use of contract law on non-highway land and that local authority car parks should be regulated in the same way as public highways, by means of Traffic Management Orders.”
This also applies to streets on estate. For many years if you contacted the authority or councillors regarding poor parking on estates as seen above, the answer was it’s private land with Wing Parking in control. Enforcement was often non-existent.
The report continues: “From 2016 the DVLA started to refuse to provide registered keeper details of offending vehicles, making it increasingly difficult for Wing Parking to enforce parking controls in the Council’s housing estate car parks.”
One controversial element is charging £57 a year for a permit alongside enforcement.
The council have now decided to exclude a number of areas, and Greenwich Conservatives have called in the decision.
The areas are:
• Erwood Road
• Barnfield Estate
• Timbercroft Lane
• Butter Lodge
• Middle Park Avenue
• Sowerby Close
Tory Councillors Charlie Davis and Spencer Drury state: “Having read the consultation responses and report in full, there is no justification for the removal of Sowerby Close and Middle Park Avenue from the TMO (Traffic Management Order). No feedback was received for either of these locations during the statutory consultation.”
The council claim that “concerns were raised from the Cabinet Member for Environment, Sustainability and Transport in response to feedback they had received.”
There is no information of what feedback was received in those areas.
The council themselves stated that the measures would “aim to discourage short trips by car which can readily be made by other active transport modes. With some investment from some surplus revenue being used to improve infrastructure for cycling and electrical vehicles”.
An example of poor attempts to prevent poor parking is evident on Middle Park Avenue which has recently seen yet another wooden bollard installed, and this time next to an existing sign which left a large gap for vehicles to park on paving anyway:
The borough is littered with similar clutter.
Pedestrians an afterthought
This decision by Greenwich Council to exclude certain areas ensures a parking free-for-all may continue in certain locations to the detriment of pedestrians.
Greenwich Council only recently approved a carbon reduction report which purports to encourage walking and cycling.
However action, including direct from the Cabinet member for Transport, appears to contradict a key goal in the report.
A report before the council’s Overview and Scrutiny call-in panel next week states that Greenwich’s favoured option is to ignore the call-in and continue to exclude areas from parking enforcement rather than reconsider.
Councillors on the committee who will decide are:
Cllr Chris Lloyd (Labour – Greenwich Peninsula)
Cllr John Fahy (Labour – Woolwich Riverside)
Cllr Nigel Fletcher (Conservative – Eltham South)