COUNCIL CONCEDES PARKING PERMIT REFUND

12th June 2019

SNP MP AND CLLR SAY PERMIT SYSTEM ‘WELCOME’, BUT NEEDS ‘REFINED’

An intervention from Marion Fellows, SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has secured refunds for people who have bought a parking permit for their street where a 12 hours waiting period is in effect, but she and SNP Councillor for Wishaw, Fiona Fotheringham, say more reforms are needed.

Following complaints from local Wishaw residents, Marion wrote to North Lanarkshire Council leader, Cllr Jim Logue, to raise concerns over enforcement of parking permits generally, but specifically on streets with 12 hour waiting periods which include Stewarton, French and Roberts Street in Wishaw.

Mrs Fellows highlighted that there are only four traffic wardens serving North Lanarkshire making enforcement of 12 hour parking bays and also two and three hour bays difficult. NLC have confirmed that fees will be used to pay for administration of the scheme and not to expand the number of traffic wardens.

NLC admitted that “bays with 12 hour limited waiting are much more difficult to enforce” and have offered a refund to any resident who has purchased a permit for a 12 hour bay.

Residents on select town centre streets across North Lanarkshire are being asked to pay £60 for one car, £90 for a second, £120 for a third, and £180 for a fourth.

Mrs Fellows and Wishaw Councillor, Fiona Fotheringham, say that further refinement of the scheme is needed.

Commenting, Marion said:

“The introduction of a parking permit scheme is welcome, but it needs to be refined to ensure it’s actually enforceable otherwise people will be paying for nothing. Streets with 12 hour waiting times should be excluded from the permit scheme while there is active consultation with residents.

“NLC’s concession shows that they know in these streets the scheme is unworkable. By writing to residents in those streets, NLC are pressuring them to needlessly hand over their cash. When incomes are being squeezed, this is not a good look.

“I encourage people to take up the refund and to make their suggestions on how to improve the scheme on their street known to NLC and Councillors.”

Cllr Fiona Fotheringham has tabled a question with NLC to ask how many people have asked for a reimbursement and how much has been reimbursed.

Commenting, Fiona said:

“Residents have been calling for a permit scheme for ages and it is long overdue, but we have to be able to amend the scheme to iron out any issues that residents have with it.

“The scheme will ensure there is a quicker turnover of parking spaces in the town centre to stimulate the local economy while allowing longer parking for residents. Both residents and shoppers will benefit.

“I’ll continue to raise concerns and call for active consultation with the community to ensure it meets expectations and is fair on all residents.”

Letter from Marion to Cllr Jim Logue

Dear Cllr Logue,

I am writing to raise my and constituents’ concerns with North Lanarkshire Council’s recent decision to implement a parking permit scheme in towns across the area.

I am fully aware of the issues that people have with parking on their streets and I believe it is a positive step that something is being done to ensure people can park near their homes whilst ensuring our town centres can be supported. It is important however that whatever measures are taken, that they are suitable and workable.

In some streets – particularly Stewarton Street, French Street and Roberts Street in Wishaw – there is a 12 hour waiting time. Under the permit scheme, this would require a parking warden to witness a car parked in one spot for 12 hours before it can be ticketed. This is not feasible. On other streets in my constituency, there are two and three hour waiting times. Although a shorter waiting time, this would be difficult to enforce.

Enforcement across all of North Lanarkshire would be extremely difficult in any circumstance as it was recently confirmed to me that there are only four Parking Enforcement Officers for all of the council area and that the fees collected by the permit scheme will be spent on administrating the permit system, but not enforcing it.

If people on the aforementioned streets purchased a permit – as they are being asked to – they would be spending their money for no guarantees of a parking space and no guarantee that those who do not hold a permit would receive a fine for parking there. This is unworkable and unfair.

For older residents in particular who may feel pressured to buy an unenforceable permit, this would be exploitative and also unfair.

As I said, the permit scheme is a welcome step, but it requires refining and also further consultation with the residents who are being asked to pay for a permit.

I trust that you will consider these concerns.

Sincerely,