Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Cotham residents parking plans published

Letters should have started plopping onto doormats across the southern part of Cotham Ward (i.e. between Cotham Road and the railway line) to consult people about a possible residents parking scheme. This is something that Anthony and I have been working on for a few months now - getting together a 'starting point' draft to show people how it might work, but to seek comments and ideas to refine it further.

My position on residents parking has changed somewhat since I've seen how well the Kingsdown zone has worked for the people living in it. Some of the Kingsdown residents have been interviewed for a little video which is pretty compelling - especially the trader who talks about getting it wrong!

I am now positive about moving forwards with this, though I will honour my old promise to only proceed if the majority of people living in the area (or a sensible subset it) back it.

As far as the Cotham plans go, there is a page explaining it all on the Council website, including a pretty neat zoomable online map. The consultation period is running until the 2nd December and a decision about whether to proceed will be taken after that.

There are two drop-in sessions being held at Cheltenham Road Library where residents can go along and ask questions about how the scheme might work and to pass on their comments to the traffic officers.
  • Wednesday 2nd November : 3-8pm
  • Friday 18th November : 3-8pm
I will try to pop along for some of the time at the latter one, I think, so that people can bend my ear too. In any case, I'm happy to get questions and comments through the blog or by e-mail (

Also, Sustainable Redland have produced a very interesting and engaging document about why they are supporting residents parking from a climate change, safety and sustainability perspective. It's well worth a read to remind yourself about the 'big picture' reasons why controlling car use is a good idea.


Anonymous said...

where have all these cars that previosuly parked in kingsdown gone? Have they simply moved somewhere else? Or are commuters using public transport more? Have students and others in HMOs stopped bringing cars or are they parking them out of the zone?

Neil Harrison said...

Anon - there aren't straight answers to these questions as there weren't good figures prior to the RPZ going in.

We do know that a good proportion of the commuter parking has moved into Cotham, but this has fallen off somewhat over time as people have come to realise that there isn't much space and as the wardens and Police have enforced against silly and dangerous parking.

However, public transport use in the area has risen sharply. How much is a direct result of the RPZ is moot as it was rising anyway. The bus companies won't release figures for commercial confidentiality reasons, so we can't say how many people have switched.

One of the things that the Kingsdown pilot illuminated was actually how few cars (relative to expectations) are owned in HMOs/student houses. Only 120 houses in the RPZ even applied for a second permit. Student car ownership generally is falling due to spiralling insurance costs.

We anecdotally know that some people do park outside the RPZ to dodge the permit fee, but it's impossible to know how many - it's more likely at the edges than in the middle. We've also heard from people who've given up their car or opted into the Car Club instead.

It's worth looking at the comments on pages 13 to 18 of the July evaluation report as this gives some clues to what's happening:

Anonymous said...

Just a quick question, having looked at the proposed plans for Cotham. If you live within the zone are you able to obtain residents parking if the plans go through, or is it only if you live on the streets which are designated residents. Just to clarify I live on Cotham Hill and am worried that I'll have no-where to park if I'm not entitled to a permit and the plans go through. There are a few of us in the position that live on Cotham Hill, as I've spoken to my neighbours. Would be great if you could clarify. Thanks!

Neil Harrison said...

Anon2 - if you live in the Zone, you would be able to get a permit and this will allow you to park in any 'resident only' or 'mixed' bays anywhere within the Zone. You don't have to park on your own street.

Anonymous said...

I live in a four storey property on Cotham Brow. We pay council tax on the whole property. However, despite my house not being an HMO I do have extended family living with me and I also have a lodger. Between us we own 4 cars. Would we be 4 granted permits?

Neil Harrison said...

Anon3 - I can't answer that specifically. The 'normal' number of permits is two, but I've got agreement that houses can apply for more if they can demonstrate need. This is a decision that would be taken on a case-by-case basis by council officers.

Bristol Parenting Cafe said...

Dear Neil - too many Anon's here but thanks for answering my question (I'm the Cotham Hill resident). I shall spread the word amongst my worried neighbours that it's fine!

Joss said...

Dear Neil

Like 'anonymous' from 11th Nov, I live in a house that I share with two other working professionals. We each have a car which we need to get to work, between 3 and 15 miles away. Clearly we would need 3 permits. You write that houses can apply for more if they 'demonstrate need'. Can you be more specific about what might constitute 'need' in the council's eyes?

Secondly, have the council considered that the residents' parking zone will put the long-established and excellent garage on Hampton Road (Bristol 2CVs) out of business? Should it go ahead, they say they would only be allocated one permit. They've also said the owner of a garage in the Kingsdown area is being forced to close, directly because of the effect of the zone - and despite having made his views known with a signed petition. It's nonsensical for the parking zone to have such an effect as this. Not only do businesses such as this help the area to thrive, with the knock-on effect on other firms in the vicinity (i.e. people bring their car to the garage, then go and have a coffee/do shopping etc. on Cotham Hill or at Clifton Down), they also perform a service like neighbourhood watch - these guys keep an eye on what's going on during the day and I know they'd sound the alert if they saw something odd!

Neil Harrison said...

Joss - I can't really give more information about the 'more than two permits'. It's being dealt with on a case-by-case basis and there have been so few in Kingsdown that there aren't rules, as such. Your example sounds like exactly the sort of thing that might be covered.

On the garage issue, this is being considered and I've been in touch with another in the area. There shouldn't be any particular reason why they can't be accommodated in some way. If they're serving local people (with permits) there is no problem, after all. I've not heard anything about a garage in Kingsdown, but I'll enquire.

Neil Harrison said...

Joss - I've checked with officers and the councillors for Kingsdown and no-one has heard anything about a garage being forced to close or a petition about it.

After discussing the wider issue with officers on Friday, we think we've got a solution to the issue that will stop any negative impact for local garages and the officers are meeting with one of the garage next week to discuss how it might work.

Anonymous said...

Garage in Kingsdown? Royal Park Garage in Oxford Street has a "To Let or May Sell" sign outside. I used to park there to use the garage but can't any more.

Neil Harrison said...

Anon - that was the only garage in Kingsdown that I could think of, but no-one can recall them getting in touch to discuss any difficulties at any point. There are ways of working around any issues from residents parking which are now being looked at for Cotham where garages have contacted the Council. Correlation isn't causation and there probably other reasons why they are closing down.

Joss said...

Thanks, Neil, for investigating, I will let Manni at Bristol 2CVs know you're onto things and I'm sure he'll appreciate it and/or get in touch himself. Odd that they seemed convinced of an acquaintance's garage closure due to the scheme, but perhaps it was 'hearsay'...

I really hope there is a way for my fellow tenants and I to each have a parking permit. Mondays to Fridays shouldn't be a problem, as we leave for work before 9am and are usually home after 5pm, but the weekends and school holidays (2 of us are teachers) will be problematic.

Again, thanks for your swift response.

Neil Harrison said...

Joss - as the plans stand (and there doesn't seem to be any will to change this), the scheme doesn't operate at weekends. I can see the school holiday problem, though, and I'll look into how to try to accommodate this.

Jo said...

Nearly 2 months on from closing date on opinions...
Anyone know what's going on?!

Neil Harrison said...

Jo - it doesn't seem to have been picked up by the press, but a statement was released by the Council a week or so ago confirming that a scheme will proceed and that the plans are being revised in light of the consultation. I've been meaning to blog about it in more detail, but I've been under the weather and really busy. I'll put something up over the weekend if at all possible.

Neil Harrison said...

Jo - here's the statement that I've just dug out from my e-mail:

"The proposals to make some minor amendments to the Kingsdown Residents’ Parking Scheme went out to statutory consultation in December. The consultation period has now closed and a decision on whether or not to proceed with the changes will be made next month. The council promised to make tweaks to the scheme after a review was carried out in July last year.

The scheme has proved very popular with residents and revisions are likely to be minor. Nearly all residents report that the area is quieter, safer and more pleasant - and that it is much easier to park.

The council is taking forward proposals for schemes in other areas close to the city centre. Informal consultation to develop a residents scheme in the area of Cotham south of the railway line took place last autumn. The council will now proceed to formal consultation over an improved scheme, taking into accounts suggestions made during the informal consultation.

A neighbourhood partnership scheme to protect corners with double yellow lines and add car club bays across the whole of Cotham is a separate scheme which is due to go to formal consultation this week.

Informal consultation in Redcliffe, the second of the areas that the council is looking at, begins on Wednesday 11th January 2012 and closes on Friday 10th February 2012.

Full details of the proposals can be found online at and the plans will also be available for inspection at Bedminster Library from 11th January. There will be two drop-in sessions at Bedminster Library on Thursday 19th and Tuesday 31st January from 3.30pm-7.30pm."