The Backgarden Interview – Parking

Backgarden Interviews provide a chance for officials and stakeholders to explain something of their work and their objectives for Swindon. This time it is the turn of Sam Howell, Swindon Borough Council, to provide background about one of the key issues for us living on the north side of the HIll.

1. Hi Sam, first can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a Principal Transport Planner in the Strategic Growth and Regeneration Team at Swindon Borough Council.

2. Why did Swindon Borough Council review car parking in the town?
SBC are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the car parking strategy for Swindon.  This is a wide ranging review and will include: town centre parking strategy (inclusive of parking charges),car parking standards for new development, residents parking zones and freight parking.

3. Was it just Old Town that you considered?
I think there may be some confusion here.  The parking strategy review that I am currently leading on will include Old Town.  A separate review of the Central Area Resident and On Street Parking was carried out in response to various concerns expressed by residents in 2007. The subsequent Cabinet Report dated 25/07/07 can be viewed on our website http://www.swindon.gov.uk

4. What issues do you have to take into account when considering residents parking?
The initial consideration was that resident’s parking would be restricted to those residential streets within a 10 min walk of the Town centre (New Town). As each street (or collection of streets that together form a Zone) is given detailed consideration, the following are taken into account:

  • the views of residents and local businesses,
  • the width of the street (sufficient road width has to be retained to allow access for emergency services, refuse collection, delivery vehicles etc.)
  • the location of, and need for,  some parking to be available for local business e.g. local shop, PH or Club.

Double yellow lines (no waiting at any time) are used to ensure road junctions, backways, private accesses and fire hydrants are kept sufficiently clear of parked vehicles.

5. Where any open meetings held with residents?
The initial set-up of residents parking involved extensive local consultation (late 1980’s/early 1990’s). The 2007 Review was also based on a series of local public meetings.

6. Were the Old Town car parks included in the review?
Only car parks within a Residents Parking Area were considered in the 2007 review.  All Old Town car parks will be included in the current review.

7. Why does charging at car parks start so early, would not 07.00 hrs provide a safety net for residents and not lose Swindon income?
One of the recommendations arising from the CAROSPR 2007 was that ‘Residents’ Parking Permit Holders be allowed to park overnight in appropriate car parks between the hours of 2200 and 0800 at no additional charge’. Again, this is something that will be re-considered as part of the current review.

8. Has anywhere that you know, managed to provide a space for each building or resident under a residents’ parking scheme?
Not as far as I am aware.  Often the issue is that the frontage of each house is less than the length required for a parking space.

9. There are many areas in Back Garden that are double yellow lined but appear to able to be used for parking. Are there regulations that stop parking in some parts of streets?
Wherever there are double yellow lines on the Public highway in Swindon there is a Traffic Regulation Order in place to  enable enforcement. One of the recommendations arising from the CAROSPR 2007 was that ‘Subject to the costs being contained within existing budgets, increase capacity for Residents’ Parking by (i) converting, where safe to do so, existing double yellow and single yellow line parking restrictions into Residents’ Parking Bays’.

So far, this has only been addressed in Zones A, D and E but a recent undertaking arising from the Central Area Cluster is the Zone E will be re-assessed (within the constraints detailed in 4 above).

10. What did residents tell you about parking issues in the Back Garden?
Various concerns were raised at the time of the initial review and further consultation will be undertaken as part of the current review.  It would be useful if we could arrange a meeting in due course to discuss the best way of engaging with residents.

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