Your Councillors

Mote Park                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Appendix A

8  Respondents Objected

Respondents Supported

18  Respondents                                                                  Commented on related / associated issues

Total Respondents  22

 

Name

Address

Comments

Objection/Support/Comment

Response

Brown

 

Blythe Road

By telephone call to Head of Commercial and Economic Development.  Two principal points:

1.  Feels the charge is appropriate and at the correct level.

2.  Would like disabled parking to be moved closer to the lake.

 

Support

 

 

 

This is an important issue and proper consideration will be given to disabled parking during spatial framework planning for the park which is currently ongoing.

 

The disabled bays were moved to their current location for traffic safety reasons.

Russell

Elm Grove

By letter to the Parking Services Manager:

Concerning the above proposal, as a resident who lives about 200 yards from Mote Park, I have noticed a significant increase this year in the density of traffic around Mote Park Avenue and Willow Way, particularly on Saturday mornings.

I do not know whether or not this increase has been caused by the use of Mote Park for ‘park and walk’ purposes for Saturday morning shoppers, since Mote Park is only a ten minute walk to the town centre, and the designated parking areas in Maidstone for shoppers are unable to cope with what is becoming an unmanageable volume of traffic at peak times.  The marketing of Mote Park as a venue for music festivals etc. has no doubt also added to an increased awareness of this facility in the volume of traffic and car parking requirements in and around Mote Park.

If traffic parking management in the light of these recent developments is part of the rationale for introducing car parking charges at Mote Park, then a £1 nominal fee will have no impact.  If, however, as seems to be the case, the reason for introducing these charges is to raise income for the maintaining of the park facilities, then I am unclear from the proposal why these charges are being proposed now, what shortfall the expected generated revenue (i.e. £30,000) will be able to address, why this shortfall has arisen and why it hasn’t been previously anticipated, and hat enhancements to the maintenance of Mote Park will result from the anticipated £30,000 to be generated from the introduction of parking fees.

I would also query whether £30,000 isn’t close to the annual amount of money involved in clearing up the park and the neighbouring streets following the music festivals mentioned above.  Certainly following the music concert there was a trail of litter and detritus which covered a wide area from the park to King Street and beyond, which resembled a scene of devastation.  The Council did very well to clean the streets so quickly; but such an operation must have involved a significant cost.

In summary I do not see in the proposal any evidence of a thought-through and analytical process identifying key issues and their solution.  All I can see is a statement on the need to raise an additional £30,000 annually (for what exactly?) and the hope that this will do the job.

I therefore consider this proposal, on the basis of its lack of clarity and the vagueness of its aims (beyond the raising of a nominal financial figure), to be unfit for purpose, and would suggest further research is carried out into what the community needs from this exceptional facility (beyond the generation of revenue) and how those needs are best met and vouchsafed.

 

Objection

 

 

A number of points raised in this submission are not directly relevant to the proposed TRO consultation.  There are some important points contained within it however.  Responses to those points are as follows:

 

The charge is not being proposed to deter commuter parkers or deliver traffic management; it is designed, as one of a range of measures, to raise revenue.  This is in response to the reduced funding position the Council faces.  Full details can be found in the relevant report and record of decision here: http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2483&Ver=4

 

It is not known where the respondent got the £30,000 figure contained within his submission.  The financial projections can be found in the above report.

 

The clean-up of events is charged to the organiser.  This is either through cleaning companies hired by the owner direct, or re-billing Council assets used to clean-up after an event.  Such operations are cost neutral to the Council.

 

The Social Event referred to by the respondent attracted just over 10,500 people, 40% of whom came from the Borough.  Residents in roads local to the park took up over 400 free tickets to the event which is calculated to have had a direct positive economic impact to the Borough of over £1,060,000. There were 58 stage 1 complaints received relating to this event.  The Heritage Culture and Leisure Committee considered those complaints and issued instructions for future events to mitigate the issues raised by complainants.  The report was considered on 3rd November 2015 and was entitled ‘The Social Festival Review’.  The report and Record of Decision can be read at  http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2416&Ver=4

 

Maddison-Roberts

Not stated

By email to Parking Consultation:

 

1.  You propose to introduce a charge between 10am and midnight.   However the park currently closes at dusk.    So, are you proposing to leave the gates open in future so that joy riders can zoom round the park to their hearts content until the bewitching hour of midnight?

 

2.   With the anticipated loss of Maidstone’s second ‘Park and Ride’,   and the huge number of new homes being built in the area, it is reasonable to assume that there will be even more demand for car parking spaces.  It seems to us therefore that a £40 season ticket would be unlikely to deter Maidstone commuters from parking in Mote Park.

 

3.    What provision are you proposing for drivers “dropping-off” passengers?    Would a parent be expected to buy a ticket for the 15 minutes it took to off-load young football enthusiasts, for example?

 

4.    A new piece of street furniture has been installed outside our house, stating the parking restrictions in Zone 4.     Presumably this is in anticipation of the proposed parking charges.   The new post is 50cm taller than the old post by the next parking   bay.   Yes, 50cm!   It is so tall that you need to be able to tilt your head back to a considerable degree to read its message!   Other new posts along Blythe Road are a similar height.

 

Not only is it ridiculously tall but it has been placed in the middle of the grass verge, which will be a problem for the mowing gang.   Earlier posts were situated on the edge of the asphalt pavement.

 

We would ask that the new posts can be knocked into the ground further so that the lower height is consistent throughout the road.

 

 

Comment

A number of points raised in this submission are not directly relevant to the proposed TRO consultation. There are some important points contained within it however.  Responses to those points are as follows:

 

No there are no plans to routinely leave the park gates open at night.  The midnight timing was designed with future late night events that we may wish to hold in mind.  This will assist with parking and traffic management.

 

All users of the car park will be expected to pay the appropriate charge.  The Parking Services Manager has delegated authority to issue free concessions to community groups (including school sports days) as specified in the report found here:

http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2483&Ver=4

 

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

With regard to the posts recently installed in Blythe Road, these have been reduced in size and are now consistent with others placed at this location. This was carried out following concerns raised by the resident.

 

 

Hinckley

Blythe Road

By email to Parking Consultation:

 

As a resident of Blythe Road, I am very concerned that a parking charge will result in increased traffic and parking on our road; plenty of cars already use our drive to turn around instead of using the turning circle at the end, and having young children this is not ideal, and increased traffic would no doubt result in more of this. 

 

Also, I would object to any weekend charges especially (surely not needed at weekends if the parking 'problem' is commuters?) as I'm convinced a lot of people would park in roads close to the park to avoid the charges, however small these charges were. What about our visitors or tradesmen? If our road is full, there is not a lot of alternative parking for them nearby, just a little on Square Hill, which is already usually full.

 

In my opinion, commuters using the park may only be a real problem in the busy summer holidays, and if this is such a large problem, why are you forcing people into town centre car parks, when on the other hand you want to cut town centre traffic congestion? We are continually being told by the Government and Department of Health to walk more, get off the bus a stop early etc, so perhaps these commuters are just taking this advice to heart!

 

 

Objection

 

 

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

The charge is not being proposed to deter commuter parkers; it is designed, as one of a range of measures, to raise revenue.  This is in response to the reduced funding position the Council faces.  Full details can be found in the relevant report and record of decision here: http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2483&Ver=4

 

The Council is promoting active travel as a theme of Maidstone’s Integrated Transport Strategy, which is currently being developed with Kent County Council and will be available for consultation in the New Year.  This includes measures which will encourage people away from car use.

Bates

Mote Avenue

By email to Parking Consultation:

Having considered this proposal, we have the following comments to make:

1. We agree, in principle, with the idea to make a car parking charge at Mote Park but with the provision that any income generated from this should be ring-fenced for the benefit of Mote Park and not put back into the Council’s General Fund or to subsidise other Council Services.

2. We do have concerns that the introduction of a £1.00 charge from 10.00 a.m. to Midnight will result in some users of the park using the surrounding areas (i.e. the streets) to park their cars, which will be to the detriment of local residents. Living immediately outside Mote Park, we already experience problems with some inconsiderate users who park their vehicles outside our property and even in front of our driveway. The latter has happened on two occasions this year and both times the people have been in the park when it was closed. We can see that the introduction of a charge may increase this further as people find alternative places to park their vehicles to escape paying this charge.

3. To help prevent the above, one suggestion could be to make the first 2 hours free of charge after which the £1.00 fee could be charged (this could even be increased to £2.00). This would allow those who wish to use the park for a short period of time, e.g. dog walkers, access without having to pay the fee, whilst still providing an income from those who wish to park longer, e.g. commuters. This would hopefully help to prevent parking in the surrounding area.

 

Support / Comment

 

Full details of the allocation of revenue can be found in the relevant report and record of decision here: http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2483&Ver=4

 

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

The issue of the free parking period was considered carefully by HCL.  Analysis of the pattern of use of the car parks showed that extending the free period of parking beyond 08:00 to 10:00 would likely make the scheme unviable due to difficulties with enforcement.

Yorke

Blyth Road

By email to Parking Consultation:

We are concerned at this proposal as we live in a road very close to the main entrance to Mote Park. Although this road is a cul-de-sac there is a pedestrian alley leading from the end of the road to the entrance to Mote Park.

Charging for car parking in Mote Park is likely to lead to increased pressure for parking in local roads, including our road. Currently our road has single yellow lines on the northern side and around the head of the cul-de-sac which prevent parking between 8 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. on Mondays to Saturdays. The southern side of the road mostly has parking bays (zone S4). The residents’ parking scheme restricts parking in these bays between 8 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. on Mondays to Saturdays to holders of S4 residents’ parking permits or visitors’ parking permits, with non-permit holders allowed to park for 2 hours with no return within 2 hours.  We as local residents have to pay an annual fee for a resident’s parking permit and/or a visitor’s permit.

If the charging proposals are introduced in Mote Park it is quite likely that some non-residents will be prepared to park in local roads on weekdays to avoid the charge whilst visiting Mote Park, but they would at least be restricted to two hours. However, non-residents visiting the park will be a particular problem on Sundays and Bank Holidays which are always popular days for visiting the Park. There is no limit on the time that vehicles without permits can park in our road on these days. On Sundays and Bank Holidays non-resident park users will therefore be able to park at any time on both sides of our road, on the single yellow lines and in the residents’ parking bays.  This could not only lead to the residents’ bays being filled up by visitors to the park but with no restriction on parking on the yellow lines on the other side of the road on these days there could be obstruction of traffic in our road.

We therefore raise concerns at the impact on our road of charging motorists to park in Mote Park and we particularly ask that parking charges should not apply in Mote Park on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

 

Comment

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

Cleg

Meadow Walk

By email to Parking Consultation:

 

I am writing to express my concern about the proposed plan to introduce car parking charges in Mote Park and the implications for local residents. We live in Meadow Walk, a residential street close to the main entrance of Mote Park.

 

I have read the report about the proposed car parking charges that was prepared by Marcus Lawler and presented to the Economic and Commercial Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 24th March 2015 and the details of the Lake Market Research report dated 22nd December 2014 and would like to make several points.

 

The market research was completed by sending questionnaires to residents of the wider Maidstone community. There was no attempt to canvas the opinions of the residents in the local streets surrounding the Park who would be most affected by the changes. While being regular users of the park (several times a week) we were not approached when using the park or made aware of the plans for the parking when the research was taking place. The views of the local residents should have been addressed particularly given the findings of the report.

 

Marcus Lawler's report makes a clear statement in paragraph 1. 7. 1 that " the issue of the impact to local residents through a possible displacement of parking into surrounding areas is a potential major issue" He goes on to state that there could be up to 901 cars displaced onto surrounding streets if there was a free hour followed by a £1 charge for parking. Even accepting this could be a maximum number, half that figure would still have a major impact on surrounding streets. I am unhappy that the council has gone ahead with their decision to introduce parking charges despite their knowledge that this would be a major issue to local residents.

 

I have not been able to view the details of the street parking changes due to work commitments but I understand that the council hopes to address this by changing the local parking restrictions. Currently we have 2 hours unrestricted parking Monday to Saturday with unlimited parking for residents with permits. This works effectively although we do struggle with parking when there are large events held in the park.  To prevent park users parking in our street it would have to be restricted to one hour’s free parking and include Sunday as well. This will have a serious impact on residents being able to have visitors if they are restricted to one hours parking. We would find this particularly difficult on Sunday's when we often have friends and family visit for lunch. These changes will force me to buy a visitors permit (£50 in our case as we already have 2 residents permits) and I can then only have one visitor permit.  We will be penalised if new street parking restrictions are introduced or struggle with park users parking in our street if restrictions are not put in place.

 

The inevitable response to this would be for residents to concrete over their front gardens. We have already lost front gardens in the street to provide additional parking. These proposed changes would accelerate the loss of front gardens. It is recognised that there is a detrimental environmental impact by homeowners paving over their gardens.

 

What really worries me about this plan is that it is the thin edge of the wedge. Of course people are not going to be that concerned when they are being asked about a £1 charge for up to six hours parking and I am not surprised that many people were comfortable with the plan. However once the infrastructure for parking charges are in place it will be easy for these to be increased. What is £1 now will then be £2, £3 or even £5 in a few years time. I am sure there will be assurances that this will kept at £1 for a time limited period but I have little confidence in this being maintained in the longer term. An election, a new council, more costs and the parking charges will be increased, it is "low hanging fruit" an easy option to bring in more revenue. Higher charges will further push people into local streets to find cheaper options to park.

 

I am also concerned about the costs of enforcing any changes on local parking restrictions.  This could impact on a large number of local streets with significant additional enforcement costs.

 

Finally I wish to express my view that the basic principle of charging for the use of the park is wrong. The park belongs to the people of Maidstone and it should be free to use. We should be avoiding anything that deters people and especially families with young children or those on low incomes who need the opportunity more than anyone to access open space and fresh air.

 

In conclusion it is my view that the plans to charge for parking in Mote Park are wrong, that they should be scrapped and that the Council should be exploring other options to gain revenue for the park.

 

 

Objection / Comment

 

 

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

The issue of funding our parks and open spaces is a Borough wide issue as it is paid for, partly through local taxation.  The market research therefore included a representative sample which reflects the demographic of the Borough and over 1,300 responses were received from residents.  In addition over 1,000 park users were questioned on this and various other issues.  Residents local to the park have had the opportunity to comment through the recent consultation which has been advertised on the Council’s websites; through social media; and by means of a letter delivered to ever home in the area around the park. 22 responses to the consultation have been received.

 

Potentially there may be an increase in charges in the future.  The Council’s Fees and Charges Policy enables proposed changes to be considered by elected members as they become necessary. 

Wigston

Birch Tree Way

By email to Parking Consultation:

 

I note with interest your letter concerning the charging for car parking in Mote Park. Apart from a news story in the local free paper this is the first official notification I have had which seems strange considering the Council have supposedly carried out wide ranging market research in 2014. With whom has this been done, certainly not the local residents who will undoubtedly be affected by this!

 

Parking in Mote Park has always been an issue and is now more so since its popularity has risen since the revamping with lottery money. My concern is that by charging for the parking, even if it is only a £1, will make those people unwilling to pay for parking, park in roads nearby. I live in one of those roads, Birch Tree Way and can say that I fear the consequence of this policy.

 

It is clear when mass events like charity runs etc. and concerts are held that people decide to park outside the park and walk in. This causes massive issues with residents and guests unable to park outside their own homes and other issues with litter and noise. The ‘Social Event’ held recently is a classic example of noise and litter and disturbance to residents late at night! The Council are happy to accept the event and the money it brings, but not deal with any consequences these events bring.

 

I cannot see what reassurance the council can give residents that the local roads will not be occupied by people going to the park? How can the Council, if they are inclined to, going to stop this from happening? The residents parking scheme doesn’t operate on Sundays, when the park is normally at its busiest and most residents are at home and have guests. I can see that this will be a nightmare for locals and lead to conflict with people legally parking their cars in the local streets!

 

I welcome that the monies raised from this policy, which will I’m sure go ahead anyway, will be spent on the park.

 

How will the Council demonstrate that this is the case? I hope clear accounts of monies raised and monies spent and on what are made public for the people of Maidstone to interrogate. I fear that any money will just be swallowed up in the general budget. ALL monies raised MUST go to the park and it’s up keep! I hope any plans for the park will be consulted on. I also hope the café planned is of a better standard then the greasy spoon we have at present!

 

 

Support /

Comment

The issue of funding our parks and open spaces is a Borough wide issue as it is paid for through local taxation.  The market research therefore included a representative sample which reflects the demographic of the Borough and over 1,300 responses were received from residents.  In addition over 1,000 park users were questioned on this and various other issues.  Residents local to the park have had the opportunity to comment through the recent consultation which has been advertised on the Council’s websites; in the press; through social media; and by means of a letter delivered to every home in the area around the park. 22 responses to the consultation have been received.

 

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

Full details of the allocation of revenue can be found in the relevant report and record of decision here: http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2483&Ver=4

The Council’s accounts are a public record and residents can inspect them in the usual way.

 

The above report shows that the introduction of parking charges is one of a range of measures designed to protect and improve the park.  The Council will be refurbishing the existing café from 23rd November to 9th December 2015.  In addition planning is underway to replace the café building with an iconic new visitor centre and café in 2017. 

Alexander

Not stated

By email to Parking Consultation:

 

Having received the notice regarding parking charges, what will clearly happen is that once people have been in and had to pay once, it will be down to the local residents to bear the brunt of people abandoning cars around the local streets to avoid paying for parking if they go into mote park. This will cause more noise pollution, antisocial parking, increased traffic flow, stress and hazardous situations for local families and children to already overcrowded local streets with cars.

 

This is an absolute fact to what will happen and the council are kidding themselves that it will not be this way.

 

With regard to possible raised revenues for multi million pound projects in the park, If they think the minimal income from the park will boost projects is a complete fantasy. It will more than likely barely cover the cost of running the machine paying and money collection contracts.

 

Comment

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

Full details of the financial projections can be found in the relevant report and record of decision here:

http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2483&Ver=4

 

 

 

Keen

Birch Tree Way

By email to Cllr. Perry:

I just wanted to therefore write to you as your name was mentioned as a supporter of the Mote Park charging initiative to say that I am in favour of more money being put into the park and think that the £1 charge for 6 hours is adequate.  However, me and my husband live in Birch Tree Way - very near the main entrance to Mote Park and we fear that more people will be looking to park on our road (and Greenside) if the car parking charges are put in place.  Our road currently operates permit parking Monday to Saturday but anyone can park in the allocated bays for up to 2 hours free.  On Sundays there are no restrictions.

I do feel strongly that, if car parking charges are introduced at Mote Park, then it is only respectful to also review the current parking restrictions in the adjacent roads.  We already have people parking on Greenside who visit the Maidstone Mosque and who do not want to pay for parking either in the short term car park nearby nor in the Chequers Centre car park so I do believe that some people who want to visit Mote Park and find that they have to pay will be looking to local roads as an alternative.

I think that the parking bays on Birch Tree Way and Greenside should be mainly for residents that already pay for parking permits as well as their visitors and should be able to easily find parking near their homes!!  What I would suggest is that, if car parking charges were introduced at Mote Park, that the parking down Birch Tree Way and Greenside should be permit parking Monday - Sunday all day!  It does not make sense to introduce a new parking scheme in the Park without reviewing the parking schemes nearby.

I therefore ask that this is conducted and changes put in place to protect nearby residents.  We also find that there have been occasions on a Sunday where people have parked at the end of our drive and blocked our way.  We already have people parking down our roads who attend the rugby and cricket grounds - please do not make this worse by forgetting about the residents when making decisions about parking at Mote Park!

 

Support /

Comment

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

 

Marriott

Blythe Road

By email to Parking Consultation:

As a long-time resident of Blythe Road, I would like to raise the following points:

The car-parking situation in this area is already at breaking point with the huge number of cars filling our streets, especially at weekends.  Overflow from Square Hill residents and Sunningdale Court in Ashford Road makes it worse. There is rarely any space in Blythe Road for non-residents.  So introducing a charge for Mote Park would probably have no impact on the situation already in place.

This leads to an observation on the present situation.  As it so cheap to purchase a second and third parking permit for residents, there is nothing to stop people buying extra permits and ‘selling them on’ to anybody who asks.  We have been approached by students at nearby schools looking for car parking facilities. Permits should only be issued after stringent checks, and patrols should be undertaken much more regularly to locate cars parking illegally.  Perhaps there should be a more geographical restriction on parking zones – residents and their visitors should surely be able to park in their own road! Large vans should not be allowed to park up for the whole weekend, taking up space for 2 cars.

It must surely have been noticed that most of the roads have single yellow lines protecting one side.  Once park visitors realise that these restrictions are not valid on Sundays, our roads run the risk of being filled to a dangerous level by parking on both sides of the road.  The impact on residents would definitely be enormous, and emergency vehicles would have restricted access.

I often use the Burning Ground car-park near Willington Street Park and Ride when I visit Mote House; would there be special arrangements for my situation?  There is not enough parking at Mote House for visitors.

On the whole, I am in favour of introducing the car-park charge, BUT only if double yellow lines are added to local streets in the interests of residents’ safety and if more effort is made by the council to regulate the potentially disastrous impact of too many cars in central Maidstone.  I think £1 is a reasonable sum and park-users would be happy to contribute towards the upkeep and improvement of this valuable resource.

Support /

Comment

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

The Burning Ground car park is for the users of the park and not visitors to Mote House.  We hope that the introduction of the proposed charge will encourage Audley Homes to make proper provision for parking for their residents and visitors.

Marriott

Blythe Road

By email to Parking Consultation:

Further to your letter of 16th October 2015, there can be no objection to a modest charge of this kind to raise funds ‘to protect current standards of the park’.

The secondary motive of deterring commuters from parking will, however, simply shift the problem to local streets. Policing of controlled parking areas by wardens is woefully inadequate anyway, but just as important is the fact that, for £25 a year, town centre residents can purchase (and sell on) visitor parking permits. Given the many hundreds (if not thousands) of new residents in the town centre without parking spaces but with the right to purchase 3 parking permits each for use in surrounding roads, our area is already very congested. It will reach saturation point if this scheme goes ahead.

I believe that the council’s Resident Parking Permit system as a whole needs to be re-examined. I suggest:

1)    The Residents Parking system should ensure that people who actually live in a street (and their visitors) are given priority by changing the area allocation system to a street-by-street basis, or else:

2)    The cost of parking permits should be increased significantly (I would suggest £200.00 a year per vehicle). This could raise more revenue for the council and/or encourage drivers to use official car parks. It would also allow a much more robust penalty to be introduced to deter commuter parking in Mote Park without causing problems for local residents. Perhaps some of the revenue could be used for better control of illegal parking?

3)    You should also consider changing the rules for large commercial vans which are often parked overnight and at weekends in residents’ bays taking up at least two parking spaces despite meeting your GVW regulations.

 

 

Support /

Comment

The charge is not being proposed to deter commuter parkers; it is designed, as one of a range of measures, to raise revenue.  This is in response to the reduced funding position the Council faces.  Full details can be found in the relevant report and record of decision here: http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2483&Ver=4

Provision for extra enforcement for this proposed TRO can be found within the report.

 

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls which will include resident parking permit concession arrangements will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

McElligott

Not stated

By email to Parking Consultation:

I use Mote Park daily in order to walk my dog I feel it unfair that I would now be charged a £1 every time I wished to park there, whilst I understand you wanting to deter commuters I feel this would deter frequent users much more.

If you could perhaps implement a ticket that gave free parking for stays less than 3 hours this would resolve both problems.

If you are not willing to do this I see no other option but to park in the residential permit areas adjacent which will no doubt cause uproar with the local residents.

I also feel that £40 per year is far too much to park at a public rec especially when residential permits are £25 per annum.

 

Objection / Comment

The charge is not being proposed to deter commuter parkers; it is designed, as one of a range of measures, to raise revenue.  This is in response to the reduced funding position the Council faces.  Full details can be found in the relevant report and record of decision here: http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2483&Ver=4

 

 The issue of the free parking period was considered carefully by HCL.  Analysis of the pattern of use of the car parks showed that extending the free period of parking beyond 08:00 to 10:00 would likely make the scheme unviable due to difficulties with enforcement.

 

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

A £40 per annum season ticket is in line with other major parks in the Borough; enables the generation of a sufficient contribution to support the open spaces budget; and equates to 10.96p a day for residents.

 

Bance

Birch Tree Way

By email to Parking Consultation:

I can't believe the total disregard to local Mote Park residents once again.

When there is an event in Mote Park there are always non-residents using the restricted parking bays and get away with parking longer than the restriction because there are no or not enough parking wardens on duty or so it seems. Revellers also leaving the area with rubbish etc.: in the streets.

So now with the new proposed parking charges, anyone not wanting to pay for a short stay in the park will think about parking outside the park and walking to the park thus using residential parking areas making it more difficult for residents to park.

What about the residents who pay for parking permits and for those who also pay extra for guest permits in what is already a restricted parking area close to the park?

We are already short of parking close to the park and when the restricted times are due (16:30 with 2 hours) and finished there is no restrictions, therefore on Sundays and after 18:30 in the evening anybody can park for as long as they want.  

The attraction of free parking and a short walk for “a Sunday afternoon in the park” for families will inevitably lead to more cars parking in the area.

Birch Tree Way already gets used as a "race track" cut through when there is a tail back from town and drivers think they can beat any queue and join at the bottom of Mote Park Road and when there is an event we gets cars cruising round looking for a spot.

There are more children now living in the area and the thought of more vehicles on the small side roads on this side of Mote Park is intolerable.

I think this could also turn off some regulars like, say, dog walkers that take the car into the park and then walk the dog thus, maybe parking locally or not using the park at all.

 

Objection / Comment

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls which will include resident parking permit concession arrangements will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

The Heritage Culture and Leisure Committee has recently considered complaints received in respect of events within Mote Park d and issued instructions for future events to mitigate the issues raised by complainants.  A report was considered on 3rd November 2015 and was entitled ‘The Social Festival Review’.  The report and Record of Decision can be read at  http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2416&Ver=4

 

 

Holehouse

Blythe Road

By email to Parking Consultation:

 

We live in Blythe Road, so 5 minutes’ walk from Mote Park. We have no problem with the proposed parking charges as such, but fear that this change is likely to aggravate a problem we suffer of parking in our road by park visitors. At present it occurs significantly only occasionally when there is a special event in the park. It could well be that people may seek to escape the charges by parking in roads nearby and weekends and holidays in particular could become difficult. Our house, no. 28, is situated on the slip road and problem parkers use the reversing bays and the grassed areas and cause difficulties in access for residents and potentially emergency vehicles. Wardens are rare in our road and do not apparently patrol the slip road at all, so it falls to residents to take their own actions. We recommend that parking in nearby roads is given extra consideration in your planning and steps be taken to ensure as far as possible that residents are not inconvenienced.

 

 

Support /

Comment

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls which will include resident parking permit concession arrangements will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

Blythe Road receives regular visit from the parking enforcement team as this forms part of the town centre beat. However as a result of concerns raised the Civil Enforcement Officers will be asked to pay particular attention to this area in an effort to reduce instances of inconsiderate parking.

Cllr. Springett

MBC

By email to the Parking Services Manager:

I have had a quick look at the proposed notice re parking charges in Mote Park and wondered if there should be clarification regarding the Annual pass as there is no reference to the 6 hour time limit. £40 for an annual pass for in excess of six hours is a pretty good deal!

 

Comment

The decision of HCL was to allow a £40 concession pass for UP TO 6 hours a day.  The Committee felt this would allow regular users cheap access to the park but would not be long enough for commuter parkers to utilise Mote Park’s car parks for their purposes.  This decision was taken after considering the analysis of car park use.

 

Hinds

Birch Tree Way

By letter to the Head of Commercial and Economic Development:

I think a small charge to park in the car park is a good decision.  My worry is the parking outside the park.  The last concert in the park all the streets around us had no parking signs.  I live in Birch Tree Way and we didn’t have those signs.  We have yellow lines but they don’t count on weekends and cars were parked on the corners near the main road which made it quite dangerous to get off our drives this end of the road.  It would help if the corners could have double yellow lines.  It would make it much safer.

 

Support / Comment

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

If dangerous parking on junctions is observed following a variation to the parking places order, Kent County Council will be approached as the Highway Authority to revise corner projection restrictions to ensure that driver sightlines are maintained at junctions.

 

Hunt

Grasslands, Langley

By letter to the parking Services Manager:

Maidstone Council’s placing a tax on exercise.  This is in direct opposition to the policy of National Government to reduce obesity, ill health and depression and the associated huge costs to the NHS.  I refer to the public space of Mote ark in Maidstone and your plan to charge for access.

About 2 years ago the park benefited from improvements funded by the National Lottery and the car parking facilities were enlarged.  For the vast majority of people car transport represents the only practical way of accessing the park.  The success of the improvements has been self-evident with a large increase in the number of people walking in the park every day, most of whom arrive by car as witnessed by the nearly full car parks every daily.  For this achievement MBC is to be congratulated.  Now this achievement is to be undone by a very ill-conceived tax on access imposed by MBC in the form of parking charges.

I object to the levy of a parking tax as a disincentive to taking exercise in a public park.

I object to the use of lottery funding to create a business for profit, as is clearly the case here.

I object to the premature construction of a gating structure at the entrance to Mote Park in early October.  This was a clear commitment to implement parking charges before the consultation process had even started on 16 October 2015 and finishing 11 November 2015.

I object to the restriction of access to a public park, especially at a time when a huge amount of housing construction in the area will further erode access to countryside for exercise.

Please reverse your decision to charge for parking in Mote Park or otherwise please reply with your answers to each of my objections.  There are other means of raising money without acting to damage public health and happiness and without acting in opposition to the policies of parliament.

 

Objection / Comment

A number of points raised in this submission are not directly relevant to the proposed TRO consultation.  There are some important points contained within it however.  Responses to those points are as follows:

 

There is no plan to charge for access to Mote Park, only to use the car parks.

 

The Council is promoting active travel as a theme of Maidstone’s Integrated Transport Strategy, which is currently being developed with Kent County Council and will be available for consultation in the New Year.  This includes measures which will encourage people to use alternatives to the car.

 

Maidstone Borough Council promotes physical and mental well-being through a wide range of initiatives in the Borough.  These include:

 

•             Health Walk with over 30 walkers a week in attendance in Mote Park. There is also another walk which from time to time uses the park.

•             A Dementia Friendly walk in the park.

•             We commission a weight management programme which is delivered at Maidstone Leisure Centre

•             Exercise Referral programme.

•             Match Fit – Men’s fitness programme run at Maidstone Utd by Wellbeing People

•             Go For It – Family and Children’s Weight Management programme.

•             Falls Prevention Services – Gentle exercise classes

•             Let’s Get Fizzical – Engages overweight and inactive children and young people aged 8-14 in sport, building their confidence and enjoyment.

•             Walking for Health – 3 walks in Maidstone (including the Mote Park walk) and 3 in Lenham. We are also looking to start at least 3 more in the Maidstone Borough over the next 6 months. 

 

Maintaining Mote Park (and our other open spaces) against budgetary pressures is critical to delivering this programme.

 

The 2012 refurbishment project was paid for by Maidstone Borough Council with Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) match funding.  The HLF indicate that the proposed parking charge is, in their view appropriate to help maintain it.  No ‘profit’ is being generated.  The proposal is about balancing HCL’s budget in light of reduced funding; thereby maintaining and improving the park for residents and visitors.

 

The decision to put the access control measures on the main gate to Mote Park is nothing to do with the proposal to implement a TRO.  As the park has become busier incidents of parkers inadvertently staying after the gates have closed has increased.  Sending an out of hours’ responder to each incident to let them out of the park costs the Council about £50.  This measure has allowed the out gate to be kept open and still maintained control over access.

 

East

Hereford Road

By letter to the Parking Services Manager:

I would like to register my objection to the proposal to implement parking charges at the School Lane car park.

I have lived in Maidstone for over 20 years and use Mote Park on a daily basis to exercise my dog.  As I work a 24/7 shift pattern I use the car park at all times throughout the day.  I am amongst a large number of residents who enjoy the use of the car park in School Lane, I regularly meet or see the same people making use of the park not only to exercise dogs but to use the children’s play area or as a starting point for their own exercise.

My objection to this proposal is as follows:

1.  The car park at School Lane is a long way from the town; people do not park there and walk into town.  It’s just too far for most people to even consider.  As a police officer I class myself as a fairly observant person; I don’t ever recall seeing people parking up and walking into town.  Those people will use the car parks at the Leisure Centre.

2.  The proposed tariffs are restricted to two time bands, up to 6 hours and over 6 hours.  Every person I see using this car park stays for a relatively short period, usually an hour or two.  The pricing band does not take this factor into account and is clearly fixed to attract more money from residents on top of our council taxes.

3.  The park is free to use, so I believe there is a fair chance that people will either not pay the fee or will simply park on School Lane.  Unless the Council is proposing to introduce parking restrictions on School Lane this will just add to the congestion along School Lane.  This road is used by a lot of vehicles throughout the day as a cut through from Willington Street as I’m sure you are aware. 

4.  The proposal from a crime prevention prospective the scheme is ill thought out.  School Lane car park is remote, I assume the parking machines will be put in and these will be cash operated.  Unless these are emptied on a nightly basis they will be an easy target for thieves.  Not only will the council lose any revenue accrued but the damage caused would be an unnecessary drain of our money.  In the past the park has suffered from vandalism to the facilities, it’s been used to dump and burn out stolen vehicles, unattended cash machines will be an easy target for thieves and vandals.

I believe that the proposed charges for the School Lane car park are ill conceived, a waste of council money and most definitely not in the interests of those who use the park.

 

Objection /

Comments

The charge is not being proposed to deter commuter parkers; it is designed, as one of a range of measures, to raise revenue.  This is in response to the reduced funding position the Council faces.  Full details can be found in the relevant report and record of decision here: http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2483&Ver=4

 

The proposal includes provision for a free hour of parking and in addition no charge will be levied before 10:00 daily.   The issue of the free parking period was considered carefully by HCL.  Analysis of the pattern of use of the car parks showed that extending the free period of parking beyond 1 hour would make the scheme financially unviable. 

 

The park will be open from 08:00 daily should the charge be approved.  This will give regular users of the park a regular, free 2 hour period of parking to enjoy the park.

 

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

We consider that the likelihood of vehicle abandonment and/or burning is unaffected by the decision to implement this proposal, or not.  This is an uncommon occurrence and we only have record of two such incidents in the last five years.

 

Vandalism and theft from pay-and-display machines is rare, however this must be considered as part of the proposals. Provision for maintenance and replacement has been made within the financial projections for the report considered by HCL.  There is an extension to the Council’s daily cash collection service available and the cost of this has been considered in the financial projections.

Cleggett

Blythe Road

By letter to the Chief Executive:

I am in receipt of a letter from Ms Dawn Hudd, Head of Commercial and Economic Development, dated 16th October.  In her letter which is addressed to the occupier and commences Dear Resident, two terms which I abhor, I am advised to comment on the proposals outlined in her letter by writing to the Parking Services Manager.  His or her name is not given so it would be difficult to write to him or her would it not?  One cannot repose any confidence whatever in the competence of Ms Hudd is she omits the name of the person one should write to.  I therefore write to you.

In the first instance you know perfectly well who the householder is at this residence.  A glance at the voter register would inform you or any of your officers so do not address me as The Occupier or Dear Resident.  I, like all other householders, have a name.  Please use it.

I have read the proposal.  What Mrs <<>> and I wish to know is what arrangements the Borough intend putting in place to safeguard the parking in this and neighbouring roads.  If a charge is introduced it is in the course of human nature to avoid it if possible.  Whenever there is one of the unfortunate social events authorised by the Borough to take place within the boundary of Mote Park this and neighbouring roads become a car park.  I do not care for vehicles parked with two wheels on the pavement outside our home.  Possibly you do not mind it.  This is what will happen if the Borough introduces the charge without some safeguard top the restricted parking authorised in this road.  I hope this matter will be addressed.  Unless the Borough acts sensibly this and neighbouring roads will be blighted by unwanted parking.  Needless to say I am not sanguine that anything sensible will be done to ensure what I have outlined does not happen.

It is a matter of regret that one has to address you personally but you should ensure that your subordinate officers prepare their letters properly.

 

Comment

It is a matter of regret that the respondent felt aggrieved at being addressed as ‘Resident’. However the costs associated with individually addressed and named letters needed to be considered.

 

The issue of displaced parking is an important issue and therefore provision has been made in the operational projections to monitor the impact in surrounding roads.  Should there prove to be a negative impact on local residents, alterations to on-street controls will be investigated for the committee to consider.

 

The Social Event referred to by the respondent attracted just over 10,500 people, 40% of whom came from the Borough.  Residents in roads local to the park took up over 400 free tickets to the event which is calculated to have had a direct positive economic impact to the Borough of over £1,060,000. There were 58 stage 1 complaints received relating to this event.  The Heritage Culture and Leisure Committee considered those complaints and issued instructions for future events to mitigate the issues raised by complainants.  The report was considered on 3rd November 2015 and was entitled ‘The Social Festival Review’.  The report and Record of Decision can be read at  http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2416&Ver=4

 

Littlewood

Not stated

By email to the Chief Executive:

 

A document was placed in my mail box this week entitled "Consultation on a proposal to introduce car park charges in Mote Park" which after reading is clearly not a consultation document or a proposal. (Copy Attached)

 

The document is a missive stating what MBC, have already decided will happen regarding parking in Mote Park, what the parking fees will be, the times they will apply and when they will come into operation, without council tax payer consultation in any form what so ever.

 

I believe that MBC is again looking to use the motorist as a cash cow, using every excuse in the book to try to justify the charge.

 

Needless to say, I am against parking fees of any kind in Mote Park. The park is there for the enjoyment of all townspeople, paid for in their Council Tax.

 

Town Centre Parking & Park & Ride

 

Maidstone town centre shops and restaurants are always complaining about loss of business to out of town malls. May I suggest that MBC seriously investigate scrapping parking fees and park and ride fees, in the town. This will then offer shoppers what the out of town malls offer their customers. 

 

It could be tried for a trial period of say, one year, and if successful, extended. I am of the belief that the additional shoppers it would attract, would more than compensate for the loss of fees. MBC would attract more business rates and the town centre empty shops would disappear. A win / win situation.

 

 

Objection

A number of points raised in this submission are not directly relevant to the proposed TRO consultation.  There are some important points contained within it however.  Responses to those points are as follows:

 

The respondent is correct that this proposal is about generating revenue.  The current funding regime the Council is faced with means there are significant pressures on its Parks and Open Spaces budgets.  As these are non-statutory services they are most at risk from cuts should measures not be taken to ease financial pressures.  As the respondent submits, the parks are not free and are partly paid for by residents, so the alternative to cuts or revenue generation is a rise in Council Tax.  More details can be found in the report ‘Parking Charges in Mote Park’ considered by HCL on 13th July 2015 can be found here:  http://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=581&MId=2483&Ver=4

 

Free parking has been trailed by some local authorities and this has resulted in a significant increase in commuter parking. In turn this has the effect of reducing parking availability for visitors which will impact directly on the prosperity of town centre businesses.

 

 

Police Constable 9719

Kent Constabulary

By email to the Parking Services Manager:

 

Kent Police have no specific observations to make regarding these proposals, however in general terms we would expect the following:

 

• The application meets the necessary criteria.

• The introduction of new signage complies in all respect with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002.

• The introduction of such measures will not leave the Police with the task of carrying out constant enforcement issues such as obstruction by transferring the problem to other areas.

• The safety of other road users is not compromised by the introduction of these measures..

 

 

Comment

 

 

 

 

 

These points have been considered as part of the formal proposals.