The Panel received a written report which provided an update on the Parking Transformation Programme. The report was introduced by Ann Cunningham and Tim Gunn, Parking Compliance Manager, as set out in the agenda pack at pages 103 to 120. The following arose as part of the discussion of the report:
a. The Panel noted previous concerns from residents who found the parking pages of the website difficult to navigate and sought assurances that the new Parking Management IT System had improved this. Officers advised that they were confident that it had as residents could now get their permits instantly, but that it would be best to wait for the system to bed in in order to ascertain whether there were any issues.
b. The Panel noted a general rising trend of the number of PCNs issued from April to August but questioned a drop in the number for August. In response, officers advised that there was a lag between PCNs being issued and the fine being paid. The drop was likely a reflection of a backlog of PCN’s being processed through the Civica system up until the switchover on 6th April, the rising numbers reflected those PCN’s transitioning through the system and then a decrease as it evened out.
c. In response to a question on how the pricing for permits was set and whether benchmarking was undertaken, officers advised that benchmarking was undertaken whenever significant increases were made such as the diesel surcharge. Officers advised that, when looking as changing the cost, officers would ensure that they were satisfied that the pricing structure was appropriate for Haringey and was also in line with neighbouring authorities.
d. In response to a question on CPZs, officers advised that in principle they would be happy to scale back the timings of a CPZ if that was what the majority of residents wanted, however they were not aware of any instances of residents requesting this. Officers set out that they would need to examine any future requests in the round and that there may be circumstances were this was inappropriate, such as if the street was in the centre of a busy CPZ and removing restrictions would result in it being clogged up with overspill from neighbouring streets.
e. The Panel welcomed the introduction of cashless parking and suggested that other locations such as shopping throughfares would benefit. The Panel urged officers to liaise with the relevant Cabinet Member to deliver further rollout.
f. The Panel requested an update on the abandoned vehicles contract for estates. In response, officers advised that the Parking Service were liaising with HfH about helping them manage their own parking arrangements on estates. HfH were beginning the process of rolling out controls under the Traffic Management Act, including abandoned vehicles and parking restrictions.
g. In relation to recent cases of residents trying to get round having a valid parking permit by covering their vehicles with a protective cover, officers advised that they had previously received legal advice that CEO’s could lift the covers to check. Officers set out that this was only undertaken by staff above a certain level.
h. In response to comments about illegal crossovers and the fines being very small, officers acknowledged that the relevant powers were 41 years old and that the fines were now not commensurate with the costs of installing an illegal crossover. The Panel was advised that the DfT were being lobbied by local government bodies to look into overhauling the relevant sections of the Highways Act 1980.
i. In relation to concerns about people giving false addresses to the DVLA and the fact that the DVLA did not ask for proof of address when registering a vehicle, officers advised that London Councils might be the most appropriate forum to raise this issue.
j. In response to concerns about specific cases of residents cars being blocked on estates, the Panel noted that this would be an issue to be picked up with HfH.
k. The panel questioned whether PCNs issued for vehicle usage in a schools streets area was monitored. The Panel also sought assurances around whether the fines were issued for vehicles that entered the area in error and subsequently turned around. In response, officers advised that they were looking to improve the design of signage for Schools Streets schemes to make it more visible, in advance of eight schemes going live this month. The Panel was advised that the legal requirement was for one sign to indicate the start of the scheme, however Haringey installed two along with two advanced warning signs.
l. The Panel suggested that an officer should drive the route of each scheme to check the signage.
m. In relation to a query around whether the infrastructure was in place to support increased numbers of electric bikes and car sharing schemes, officers advised that this was being undertaken Transport Planning colleagues.
That the Environment and Community Safety Scrutiny Panel noted the content of the report.