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posted 4 Jul 2012, 07:51 by Westover Labour   [ updated 9 Jul 2012, 03:37 ]
As of Monday 11th June 2012 the new Civil Parking Enforcement came into being. This meant effectively going back to the old system of traffic wardens patrolling the streets making sure that waiting limits are kept and people don't over stay. Obviously the same now applies to single and double yellow lines and illegal parking. The new parking enforcers have been around 7 days a week 0800-1800.

Westover ward Councillor Brian Smedley said "This development has encouraged residents who live in areas of particular problem to look into the option of Residents Parking Schemes for their respective areas. In the Westover Ward of Bridgwater, which includes the town centre and adjoining residential areas, there has been such a large increase in demand that we immediatly got onto the County to address the issue.As a result myself and Cllr Kathy Pearce  took Somerset's new head of Parking Services, Jon Pallet, on a tour of the ward and raised the key issues from residents." 


Camden road –which leads to Blacklands, is a cul de sac of some 96 properties (plus 50 in Blacklands and 6 in Camden court).

In 2009 Sedgemoor District Council suggested a residents parking scheme may help but they would only go forward with the support of the majority of the residents. As a result they surveyed both Blacklands and Camden Road and the proposal failed to gain majority support. The survey was undertaken as to whether a Residents Parking scheme (Camden,Blacklands,Alexandra road) was wanted with the following result.

In favour         53
Against          23
No reply         89

In view of the results, Cllr Swayne, SDC Portfolio at the time, decided not to take the matter further. Somerset County Council as the highway authority  said they would "consider residents parking schemes after the introduction of Civil Parking Enforcement".

Cllr Smedley said "We made the case to Mr Pallet that Blacklands/Camden should be treated a a priority area and he agreed with us. these streets have long been used by people who simply leave their cars there and a residents parking scheme may be a solution-but it has to be wanted by the majority and obviosuly reasonably priced. It's also the case that if a Scheme is introduced the take up might be so great that still everyone who has a permit can't be guaranteed a place outside their house, but crucially we need to get the debate going now on exactly what sort of scheme is appropriate."

Jon Pallet explained that a similar scheme in the Taunton area would cost about £30 a year with various concessions and or extras." If Somerset CC issues just one permit per household then it is highly likely that residents will find a space somewhere in the zone but this can't be guaranteed.The County Council will levy a charge for this provision which is basically to manage the scheme..If permits are restricted to one per household, residents with two or more cars will need to find somewhere else to park their additional cars. Schemes generally only operate during patrol hours i.e. 08:00 to 18:00. Residents parking schemes are very effective in removing commuters during working hours. However, if the problem is caused by competition for space between residents in the evening, then such a scheme will not help."

Hayla Towler of 16 Camden road, who has been camapigning for several years for improved parking and residential access at the North st end of Camden road which is also used extensively by visitors to the shops on the main road, said "I own my house and I cant park anywhere near to it. I have been campaigning for 4 years to have residents parking in Camden Road.My daughter was nearly knocked over because I couldn’t park near to my home. There's elderly residents who cannot park their cars near to their properties.  Even if just the little row of houses where I live were to get permits, it would help so much."

Ms Towler believes that residents who voted against the scheme did so because they already have off road parking provision thus making the issue irrelevant for them whilst those like herself who do not have such provision are therefore disadvantaged and feels that residents who don’t have parking facility should be issued with permits

Matthew Scott of 26 Camden rd said "The ideal solution for Camden Road would be to have resident parking only. However  as a stop gap i would suggest Introducing parking on both sides of the road at the entrance to Camden Rd (Would add up to 10 extra spaces) and the road is the same width as at the other end where parking on both sides is allowed. They should also remove the double yellow lines from outside no's 23 & 21 to create a further 2-3 additional spaces."

Nick Gibson of 5 Camden rd said "The yellow lines have been  here  from the days of Prefix building supplies  (now Camden Court), when delivery lorries needed room to turn. The removal of yellow lines at the beginning of Camden road does raise the question of where traffic will pass as there is a kink (bend) at the end of our terrace which is blind visibility when driving in each direction.  You would need passing places!!!!  People park on the pavement now, because of lack of space and Thurs, FRI, sat night fish and chip run (North Street).    The narrowness of the road already causes problems for lorries when the road is fully parked.  (Argos, Comet, Bradfords Home delivery; and the refuse wagons.)   I have known  some to be stuck for over half an hour in the Christmas/new year week. (the turning and bend at the bottom – Camden /Blacklands). I spoke to one long term resident  who remembers unrestricted parking both sides of the road in Camden rd.   He said it was ok originally but too narrow for ambulances and fire lorries to get through. This would also need room for passing spaces.    The width may be the same as the bottom of the road but are the pavements slightly wider??  "

Phillip Dunster, of 11 Blacklands;- said "Some of the double yellow lines at the end of Blacklands should not be there and are causing a problem to the residents." Mr Pallet said he believed the distances involved to be of regulationary measurements in order for access to the turning circle but residents and councillors dispute this and will take it up with the Highways chief Chris Betty for clarification.

Sara Holmes Blacklands 21 Blacklands said "We can never park outside or near our home as people who work in town continuously park in our street leaving us with no alternative but to either park in splash car park and buy a ticket or to park at the end of the road on the turning circle which is double yellows and risk getting a ticket. In the last year alone me and my partner have paid out for 5 tickets and it is now getting beyond a joke. We both work in Taunton and Bristol so are never home from work early enough to secure a space. We also have a young son who is 2 so trying to carry him from the car if he's fallen asleep is always a struggle not to mention carrying the food shopping up the street. My question to you is what can we do about it? I would like to propose car parking permits in our street as I am confident a lot of people would agree to this as I am not the only resident on the street with these issues."

  Mr Pallet accepted the case was well made and agreed to take the matter back to County to look at funding options. "I have only been in post 3 weeks and this is the first visit i;ve made. There are cases like this coming in now from all over Somerset so I have to prioritise."


One area badly affected by the new enforcement regime is the town centre where residential and/or mixed use streets are suddenly finding themselves  the victim of the wardens in areas they have until recently parked in unhindered. However, a special case was made for the area around castle street which has also been badly affected by the collapse of the West Quay wall. Plans to move forward with pedestrianisation also provide an ideal opportunity to look into resident schemes in this area.

Martin Grixoni, 1 Castle st said "I am keen to instigate a parking permit scheme for Castle Street, and visited and had support from all that I spoke to in the street.   I have also been gathering evidence in respect of parking charges in other areas, namely all boroughs in London, Bath city centre and Witney Oxon

My suggestions in somewhat priority order would be to have:

1.        As in Witney, free parking to encourage people into the town centre.  Money raised in medium term through better shop rates, or higher uptake.

2.       Areas of free parking to replace those lost in West Quay (consequent to pedestrianisation) possibly within car park at end.

3.        Whether free parking or not, areas of ‘residents only’ parking with commensurate rates – see examples in London of:  Harrow, Hounslow, Redbridge Sutton, and Havering where it is £20-60 pa, or places such as Hillingdon and Newham which are free! Bath is £90.

 I think the free parking to encourage people in would be a very good but speculative move and require some bravery on the part of the Council.  That said, with a stricter enforcement policy and residents parking (plus residents only bays) I think would be popular and in the long term potentially good news for Bridgwater. "

Lyndon Brett of 9 castle street said "Resident parking in Castle Street would be a solution, particularly as we see more properties convert to residential. There is a suggestion of a mix of resident parking and limited parking i.e. one side dedicated to residents parking and the second side designated to one hour parking.With the idea of pedestrianising from the corner of Castle Street to the Town Bridge, my views on the benefits to the town and the route from Castle Street, out through to the traffic lights at the Hanover House junction. This would work in well with the controlled traffic regime for the new proposed Tesco store etc., as well as controlling the conflicting traffic movement at Castle Moat with Northgate."

 Sara Brewer, 3 Castle street said "An area within the Northgate car park nearest the entrance to the West Quay entrance could have several car parking spaces allocated as "Free" for 2 hours. This is to encourage people to use the West Quay and give them time to shop and use the facilities.  Northgate car park already has a long term parking facility. However, it is used by businesses in the area who generally vacate the car park by 6pm. I would not want to leave my car in the Northgate car park overnight because the car would not have its wheels on in the morning! The reality is that Northgate car park is empty by the end of the business day and is not policed, so it is vulnerable to theft. There's no reasonably priced parking facility for "residents" locally.  There is only 1 hour parking, which I'm sure most residents would agree isn't really satisfactory. There is private parking on the North side of Castle st behind those properties, whereas there isn't any on the South side. With the ever increasing change from business to residential use in the street - Numbers 1-5 in lower Castle Street all are either residential or have residential PP -  it is not unreasonable to expect some "residents" parking facility. The current one hour parking ideally needs to be extended to 2 hours so that people can visit both West Quay and Fore Street.  For the West Quay pedestrianisation to work effectively, more free parking has to be allocated and extended and perhaps better use could be made of Queens Street from the top of the Castle Club downwards on the left. During the closure of West Quay many people have been parking there and it hasn't appeared to harm deliveries."

John Conder,  of the Bridgwater Arts Centre 11-13 castle st, said that volunteers there had recently lost their special parking permits due to the change of enforcement rules and he felt this was unfair to people who gave up their time to work free in a community building and also had to pay to do it. He also believed that Castle street needed a rapid turn over of traffic as an access route to the town centre and felt the problem was largely a day time one.

Mr Pallet said it would be hard to make the case for a limited area of resident parking such as castle street as it was " an isolated stand alone location and could only work as part of a larger zone." He believed there may be mileage in lengthening the waiting restrictions.


On the South side of the town centre  some of the medieval Bridgwater residential streets are now being seen as feeder roads to the shopping zone-under pressure as it is-and so residents are increasingly fighting for space outside their own homes. residents are being told they should now buy permits to park within the SDC car parks or move their vehicles to unrestricted areas outside the centre.

Kate Sutton of 19 Silver street said "I would support a residents permit valid for a particular zone, which is  free but where you have to register. Then people can buy a book of say '24 hr visitors permits' for any family or friends that were visiting so they could park. The  council could then have some revenue and it can still be vigilantly policed by the  traffic wardens...I am completely opposed to having to park in SDC car parks, free or not. It is just not practical."

Dr Peter Cattermole of  32 Friarn street said "The solution would be Residents' only parking in Friarn St, Silver St, Blake St, and Dampiet St, with two short-term bays during PO Delivery Office opening hours."

Mr Pallet said he felt sorry for people in these circumstances but believed it was hard to make the case for individual areas when everyone was in the same situation and so one solution could be that the wider zoned area be considered.


On the Western edge of the ward, the Wembdon road/Victoria road routes shelter isolated pockets of residential housing with their own problems. Wembdon road, the main A39, has access onto Coronation,Provident and Halesleigh where on street parking is considerable has issues whilst Lyndale Avenue and Alexandra roads, which come of the Victoria feeder road have related issues. 

John Bodiley, of 20 Provident place said "Parking is a perennial problem in Provident Place. Because the parking is unrestricted, the street has vehicles from houses all along Wembdon Road, many of which don't have parking space. Traffic is regularly parked on the double yellow lines at the Wembdon Road end every evening. The police ignore this. The disabled access points at the other end usually have vehicles parked in front of them as well. Quite often, there are 10 or more commercial vehicles parked along the street. The place for these, I would have thought, is on an industrial estate, where there is lots of overnight parking space. There are strict regulations about working from home: what you can and cannot do in your own home, in terms of interfering with your neighbours. I would have thought that those regulations could be extended to cover the space outside your own, and other people's homes. I have suggested in the past that there should be parking charges in residential areas, with permits for those who live there. The cost for a first car per household should be cheap: say, £50 per annum. Thereafter charges should rise steeply: say, £500 for a second car; £1,000 or more for any other cars. Actually, if a charge of £1,000 was levied on commercial vehicles, that would make their owners seek other places to park. Though these sort of costs seem draconian, the time is rapidly approaching when the country as a whole will have to take drastic measures to discourage multiple vehicle ownership, which is, or should be, an expensive privilege, and not an automatic right. I suggest that a local council willing to take what would be at first sight an unpopular measure to tackle vehicle problems would soon be rated as in the vanguard when it comes to dealing with a major issue. If there were to be charges for residential parking, I suggest that they should apply AFTER 5.00 p.m., and not during the day, as they currently are in Taunton. What happens there is that streets stand half empty during the day, forcing vehicles into the centre to find parking, creating further congestion. After 6.00 p.m., when residents return from work, many of them have trouble parking anywhere near their homes because by then, anyone can park there. As far as Provident Place is concerned, I suggest that traffic flow is altered, so that access is one-way, entering Coronation Road, turning into Halesleigh Road, and turning up into Provident Place. Obviously, the other bit of Halesleigh Road would remain two-way. Exiting from Coronation Road into Wembdon Road is difficult, as vision is so restricted from a driver's perspective. If this were done, parking along Coronation Road could be one-side only, with angled parking bays."

David Parish, of 26  Lyndale Avenue said "I would consider my road Lyndale Avenue a problem area. There are marked spaces one side, but not enough. Many park on the pavement side (or half on the pavement) making the road 1 car wide, causing traffic problems. I can't see any good way to add spaces really. However, encouraging people to use garages for their designed purpose could help in all areas. For Lyndale Avenue the back lane to our garages is stoney, muddy and eneven with many pot holes. If this was smooth tarmac I know I would be more likely to use it.  Also residents parking would be ideal here as some people might park to go into town. Certainly in September people park on Lyndale Avenue to go to the fair, leaving residents nowhere to park."

Mr Pallet said he had concerns about these areas and believed that they could be best served by adding them to the Camden/Blacklands scheme to widen the area of priority-however, he would look further into this.


Residents of the Docks development are especially concerned with the looming prospect of Tesco's adding to the pressure on the local road network and can see how things could get a lot worse for their quiet residential development.

Tricia Walsh, of 16 Admirals Court said "One  area of concern over the past few years has been the parking on the south bound lane of Chilton Street. This causes difficulties at the exit from  Anson Way.  The pub has 60ft  Kuehne Nagel articulated lorries in twice a week and huge Samways food delivery lorries. Since SDC car park became over subscribed and expensive the staff park  all the way down this road and on the corner leading into Valetta Place.  When cars pull out of Anson Way they have to straddle  the central white line as there isn't room for two cars in the one lane. If traffic is coming fast the other way they have to brake and concede the way. When you also come round the corner from the lights at the docks bridge cars are often parked right on the corner and the risk of collision with oncoming vehicles  when pulling out to overtake is quite obvious. Large vehicles do  ignore the 3 ton bridge weight limit. Quelle horreur if Tesco lorries ever start to pile in just 5  metres away from Anson Way"

 Mr Pallet  agreed to look at all the sites mentioned and make a priority order for what could be done and what was achievable.

Cllr Kathy Pearce said "What is important now is that we have brought the matter to the attention of the person whose responsibility it will be to act on this and the next step has to be to make sure that everybody takes an interest in the consultation process and crucially any subsequent vote that will affect their streets."