Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)
To consider the above petition, bearing 53 signatures, which has been submitted by Councillor Lapsa, a Westwood Ward Councillor, who has been invited to the meeting for the consideration of this item along with the petition organiser.
The Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which responded to a petition requesting a review and modifications to the 10 minute observation period for unauthorised parking within residents parking schemes.
A petition bearing 53 signatures had been submitted by residents within the Knights Templar Residents Parking Scheme, and supported by Councillor Lapsa, a Westwood Ward Councillor. Mr Didcott, the petition organiser, and Councillor Lapsa attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of petitioners. The petition read:
“This petition is to seek the Council’s review and modification of its ‘10 minute grace period’ policy and approach to enforcement in all resident permit areas. Currently, Civil Enforcement Officers (CEO’s) can only issue tickets for vehicles infringing the parking restrictions, after the vehicle has been observed (and details recorded) parked in the restricted area for a period not less than 10 minutes, during the restricted period. So, if a vehicle arrives 10 minutes after a Residential Parking Permit Scheme has come into effect, a further 10 minutes is required before a CEO can currently issue a ticket. This allows owners of vehicles infringing the parking restrictions to drop children off and collect them, with impunity. Many parents are aware of the 10 minute rule, and were notified of it by CEO’s when the scheme first came into effect. As it stands, the 10 minute grace period cannot be overridden by the officers, even though they are aware which vehicle owners continually infringe the parking restrictions.
The 10 minute observation period is not a statutory observation period through the TMA, but the Council’s policy and approach to enforcement in all residents permit areas. The 10 minute grace period was intended to ensure residents and visitors have sufficient time to display permits. However, permit holders are fully aware of the restriction times and do not require additional time to apply permits to vehicles. This statutory 10 minute grace period applied to Residents Parking Schemes is inconsistent with the CEO policy governing parking bays in the City Centre, whereby a ticket can be issued 10 minutes after the parking restriction comes into effect, or 10 minutes after a parking meter ticket has expired – immediately upon the CEO finding such a vehicle. In such cases, the CEO does not have to wait a further 10 minutes from the time they first observe the vehicle infringement.
It is noted that under London Borough Council rules, no 10 minute grace period is applied. CEO’s can issue tickets immediately upon finding vehicles parked in Residential Parking Permit Schemes (via ANPR vehicles, etc) without application of a 10 minute grace period. This petition is being submitted due to ongoing issues with traffic congestion and parking enforcement problems on the Templars Grange Estate. The issues are well known, and the Resident Permit Scheme has been in place for approximately 15 months. The magnitude of traffic parking and congestion problems on the estate, due to parents seeking to park as close as possible to the Templars School pedestrian gate entrance, is still causing: - significant safety concerns for pupils and other pedestrians using the side gate – numerous traffic offences, that are currently unenforceable mainly due to the 10 minute grace period.”
The report indicated that there are currently 23 residents’ parking schemes in Coventry. Knights Templar Residents Parking Scheme is one such scheme located in Westwood Ward, which was implemented in August 2017 and comprises Templar Way, Lomsey Close and Monksfield Close. The Scheme consists of permit holders only parking and operates during Monday to Friday for one hour in the morning between 8am and 9am and for one hour in the afternoon between 3pm and 4pm. The rear access to Templar’s Primary School is located within the area covered by the Scheme and many parents park within the area when dropping off and collecting school children.
In August 2015, Parking Services adopted a practice where the CEO’s are required to apply a 10 minute observation period when monitoring vehicles that are unauthorised to park within residents’ parking schemes before issuing penalty charge notices (PCN). The Adoption of the 10 minute observation period is considered a pragmatic approach as it allows residents enough time to register their visitors for a parking permit before any enforcement action is taken by officers. Furthermore, it enables parents the time to drop off or collect their children from schools without fear of being penalised. It also helps to avoid any criticism that the CEO’s are overzealous.
However, the petitioners living in the Knights Templar Scheme consider that the 10 minute observation period has resulted in traffic congestion, parking problems, and road safety issues for school children and pedestrians during the drop off and pick up times. The Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities noted that the application of the 10 minute observation period in residents parking schemes has not resulted in any similar issues elsewhere across the city where a school is located within a resident parking zone.
The report also indicated that the Council is aware of other initiatives that have been developed to address similar issues with ‘school gate’ parking, such as the Solihull School Streets project. Through the scheme, most traffic has been prohibited from entering selected roads leading to certain schools during drop of and pick up periods. The intention being to create a safer more pleasant environment which reduces congestion and improves air quality. The restrictions include a prohibition of motor vehicles, applicable Monday to Friday during school pick up and drop off times, with exemptions for permit holders. Permits are issued to residents living on roads affected by the restriction.
RESOLVED that, the Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities:
1. Considered the content of the petition and notes the concerns of the petitioners.
2. Approves that Parking Services continue to apply a 10 minute observation period when undertaking parking enforcement activities within the Knights Templar Residents’ parking scheme and other residents’ parking schemes throughout Coventry.
3. Approve that Traffic Management colleagues consult with the Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities on the scheme operating in Solihull Borough to control parking around schools during peak times.