Jul 272012

Responding to the demands of local people who are finding it increasingly difficult to park near their homes, the St Albans Labour Party has called on the District Council to abandon their piecemeal proposals for reform of the residents’ parking permit scheme and demanded that they conduct a full review of local needs. Branding the response from the Conservative leadership inadequate and out of touch with local people, Labour’s councillors and local community activists have said that they fear that a rare opportunity to help residents in the crowded city centre will be squandered.

“What we need, first, is a full review of the situation,” said Councillor Martin Leach, leader of the Labour group on the council. “The District Council leadership needs to take a proper look at what local residents and the community needs. They need to assess the real demand for parking space, the realistic amount of available space, the unique needs of each of the town’s areas and work out where and how more space can be created. In short, we need a long term strategic response not a half-baked scheme cobbled together withough paying attention to residents. What’s more, with the council due to begin drawing up a core strategy to guide planning over the coming decades, now is the right time to look at this. It may be many years before there is a better opportunity.”

St Albans council recently decided to look at minor changes to the permit system, including restricting the number of permits per household to two. Labour leader on St Albans council, Cllr Martin Leach pointed out that this applied to less than 3% of permits issues, commenting: “There’s nothing wrong with this idea in itself, the problem is that they aren’t really addressing the problem. They are in danger of applying sticking plasters to a major injury.”

Andrew Dixon, Labour’s spokesman in St Peters welcomed the decision to call for a proper review: “This is what local people have wanted for a long time and I’m pleased the Labour group have supported our call for a proper study into the needs of the local community. The pressure for space in some areas of St Peters is unbearable. We need to look at the spaces available and the demand, area by area, make sure that new developments don’t add to the problem, and free up more space where permits exceed spaces. As Cllr Leach said, now’s the right time to be doing that.”

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