Before Christmas Lambeth announced that the deadline for local residents to submit responses on the proposed new Camberwell M controlled parking zone has been extended to 22 January 2010. Further information for local residents on how they can make their views known is available on the Lambeth website.
The proposed zone would cover much of Vassall Ward (see map) extending from the border with Southwark on Denmark and Flodden Roads in SE5 to Brixton Road, SW9.
What are the benefits?
Local organisations such as the Minet Conservation Association and many local people support the proposal.
Local residents we spoke to who are in favour of the zone highlight the fact that the area is surrounded by existing controlled parking zones in Lambeth and Southwark and so suffers from people coming from outside the area to park their cars causing congestion.
In particular lots of commuters come and use the area as a free car park on weekdays continuing their journeys to work by bus or tube or walking to Brixton or Camberwell. Local people point to the noticeable difference that can be seen between weekends and weekdays in terms of the number of cars parked on local roads.
Local residents also point to the low levels of car ownership in the ward and protested at the high levels of pollution and poor road safety danger caused by cars from outside the area. Vassall Ward has one of the lowest rates of car ownership in the whole country (the Brixton Society estimate that less than 20% of households own cars -that is four out of five familes do not own cars- much less than for Lambeth as a whole where 50% of households have cars)
Many also point to how it would bring the roads into line with the estates in the ward - car users on estates such as Cowley already have to pay for parking permits.
Other benefits that would be brought by the proposed zone would be the increased speed and reliability of bus services such as the P5 and a reduction of local congestion; this would bring benefits for the car owners too many of whom are unable to park near their homes especially if they return during the day. The revenue from the parking permits, once the cost of administering the scheme had been taken off, could also be used to bring in environmental and transport improvements to the area.
What are the costs?
If a controlled parking zone was introduced local residents would need to buy parking permits to park. These would range in price from £30 a year for the least polluting car to £200 for the most polluting - permits for most family cars would costs around £130, equal to th cost of two-three tanks of fuel a year or £2-3 a week; much less than the cost of road tax, insurance and car servicing each year. Residents would also be entitled to buy residents' parking permits if they were expecting visitors or people coming to do work on the house.
People who are opposed to the scheme protest at having to pay another charge for owning a car - saying that it is a tax . They also suggest that parking and congestion is not a problem in Vassall Ward and parking does not need to be controlled.
Vassall Councillor Kingsley Abrams commented "Parking is a very emotive issue on which there are a range of strongly held views - it is only right that Lambeth listens to the views of local people on this matter so that we can make the best policy."
He added "We want to do whats right for Vassall Ward residents. This is not primarily a party political matter as CPZs have been introduced in Lambeth, Southwark, Wandsworth and other council areas across London by Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative controlled councils."
Further information on parking is available on the Parking page of the Lambeth website