sSurely this has to be one of ‘this year’s hot topics’ in Woodbridge, and we are not even half way through 2019!
Parking is one of the main issues that consumes both Woodbridge residents & business owners. Woodbridge is a rural community hub, and as such the public transport links to bring people from the surrounding villages / outskirts of our town are often not running at convenient times, meaning that more people have to resort to private car usage to visit Woodbridge Town centre.
Whilst there is increased car parking provision in Woodbridge with new spaces created behind the Community Centre, meaning that there are now about 900 car park spaces in total for Woodbridge.
However, cars inconsiderately parked or stopping ‘on street’ is an ongoing issue in our town centre, which leads to congestion and delays for us all; also access for emergency services is made difficult, if not impossible.
Parking enforcement ‘on street’ is now dealt with via District Councils once that powers have been granted to them – this is in the process of finally happening in East Suffolk and should be happening later this year.
Obviously a sound legal basis is needed before any parking tickets & fines can be issued, and this is covered by the relevant County Council issuing a ‘Traffic Restriction Order’ (TRO) for the appropriate street, after consultation with local residents, businesses as well as the relevant town (or parish) council, and the district council.
This consultation should be well publicised, and open to all affected to express their opinions.
Suffolk County Council posted a page on their website inviting consultation on a new TRO for East Suffolk – this ran between 28 January 2019 to 18 February 2019.
Back in 2014, the UK Government offered a change in how TRO consultation was to be publicised to the public, after which, it was decided to not change how TRO consultation is carried out – meaning that a newspaper advert should be placed, alongside notices posted in the local area.
I’m concerned that this process has not been followed to full efficacy in Woodbridge, as I cannot recall seeing any notices posted on Church Street (a road I walk on daily), nor recall seeing a specific notice in a local paper.
I have contacted Suffolk County Council highways for details of their consultation process and, at time of posting this, have not received a reply from their contact named on their webpage (the one linked above)
It seems ‘very efficient’ that within 6 weeks of the local consultation closing, a comprehensive legal instrument has been drawn up, passed, approved by council, and contractors commissioned for the line installation, and the lines painted (which was accomplished overnight on 14th & 15th April 2019)
We as a community have a right of challenge to any TRO at any stage
Taken from this link: “The Government believes that introducing a right to challenge parking policies will strengthen local democracy and local accountability.
The introduction of direct democractic participation through the right to petition and initiate a local resident review will strengthen the rights of local taxpayers, and encourage citizen participation in local decision-making.
Given elected councillors, not officers, will make the final decision on the review, in turn, this will strengthen local representative democracy.
We hope the end result should be to remove unnecessary or excessive parking restrictions and unfair parking practices, to the benefit of the local economy and local shops.”
I’m therefore very interested in hearing from any business based on Church Street, that are directly affected by the new introduction of the ‘no loading or unloading’ at anytime double yellow marker tags (pips) on the kerb side.
There seems to be no alternative provision being offered by Suffolk County Council to enable these businesses to receive and dispatch their goods needed for them to operate. This is, to me, a very unacceptable situation.
I’ll be visiting all the business affected by this change to the TRO covering Church Street and Market Hill in Woodbridge, to see if there is an appetite to petition Suffolk County Council for a review.
Please note that this will NOT result in any changes to the double yellow lines on these streets (which do permit loading & unloading)
Double Yellow lines (as per the Highway Code):
You may stop to load or unload (unless there are also loading restrictions as described below) or while passengers board or alight.
I look forward to hearing from you all in due course.