Does residents-only parking solve my parking problems? It can but it is imperfect. Even if the most restricted solution was put in place – 08:00-18:00, Monday to Saturday residents only, there can be situations where parking does not improve and, surprisingly, sometimes can get worse! If a street has many other streets joining it and/or it has many driveways then the number of parking places will be reduced. If houses on a street are narrow and long (as Victorian houses tend to be) demand for space can outstrip supply.
Who is responsible? Three levels of government are responsible for on-street parking. The national government sets out the law relating to on-street parking – how it may be implemented and how it may be enforced. Surrey is the level of government that is responsible for decided on when and where to place parking controls. Elmbridge acts on Surrey’s behalf as agent to enforce on-street parking.
What is the implementation process? It takes around one year to install parking restrictions given the need to identify areas of concern, produce proposals, set priorities, undertake consultations, advertise the final scheme and paint the lines. Currently Surrey reviews on-street parking on a two year cycle.
What does it cost? The first car costs £50 a year and the second £75. Guests and service providers may park with a permit. A permit lasts for a day and a book of ten permits cost s £20. Residents may ask for an annual carer permit which costs £10 each, that will allow regular visitors, including: doctors, nurses and other health care visitors.
Will the permit cost stay the same? I cannot say. But I think that it is a reasonable assumption that permit costs will increase over time. One cost is that of maintaining the scheme – that is likely to increase at the rate of wage inflation. The other cost comes into play if the are more residents with cars than there are spaces on the road to put them. This charge is apparent in more densely populated towns than Weybridge. Having said that it is likely that already Elmgrove Road has more cars than places to park them – especially with plans for more backfilling housing like Elmgrove Mews.
Where does the income from permits and parking fines go? Income from parking fines and parking permits is used to cover the cost of the enforcement, maintenance, administration and legal work involved in operating resident-only parking.
How many permits may I have? Surrey’s rule is to offer a household the number of vehicles registered for a household minus the number of off-street spaces at that property. For example, if you have one off-street space and two vehicles you can have one permit, if you have two off-street spaces and two vehicles you are not allowed any permits.
Would a resident permit system guarantee a parking place? No. You would have to compete with other local permit holders for a parking bay but the permit would exempt you from the normal time limit imposed upon the parking place. Sometimes a one or two hour time limit can be provided for visitors and shoppers as well . Present national law precludes reserving a parking place for an individual on the highway.
Will I be able to park anywhere? No. Not all of a street is available for residents’ parking. Corners will have double yellow lines. These used to be ten metres long in each direction from a corner but streets in Portmore Park have a limit of 20mph so they do not need sight-lines of such length. A four-way junction with ten metre yellow lines loses eight car parking spaces.
Can I park in front of my drive? Driveways will usually have yellow lines too. So you will not be able to park in front of your drive. You may choose not to have yellow lines outside your drive and have an H-bar instead but neighbours might park over you drive. Although this is obstruction, parking attendants do not take action – it is a matter for the police. The police tend to only take action if you cannot get out or your driveway rather than if cannot get in. I have a H-bar outside my house and to date no-one has parked on it.
What times and days are covered? In theory all days and all time may be covered. But in elmbirdge Non-exclusive use. In parking terms, the working day is 8:00 to 18:00 Monday to Saturday – this is the standard period of cover. During this period only permit holders may park. However, if all the non-residents are full-time employees the restriction need not be so onerous because a simple permit holders restriction in the middle of the day for one hour would suffice. But if most of the non-residents are part-time worker then the full restrictions would be necessary to exclude them. A compromise would be to have restrictions all day but to allow shoppers to park on a two-hour stay with a two-hour gap.
Where will the workers go if I have residents’ only parking in my street? They will have to park in an unrestricted street. It is likely that most of Portmore Park will have residents’ only parking at some point. This will make it difficult to recruit staff for our shops and offices and could effect the viability of our town.
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History. Traditionally, under English common law, it was unlawful to park on the highway. Indeed for most of our history not many people had anything to park in the highway in any case. Once on the highway we were are expected to make headway and not cause obstruction. When cars were invented drivers were expected to keep their car off the road at night. If they parked during the day they were expected to park in the direction of the traffic.
However, most of Portmore Park was laid out before cars were part of everyday lives and although Palace Park was laid out later, the residents there were not expected to own cars. So people bought cars with nowhere to put them at night except on the highway. In the fifties the police gave up trying to enforce no parking on the highway at night. But at least there was enough space for people to park if they parked on the street. The problem began to get worse once car ownership spread beyond one car per household.
As Weybridge increased in size, more people lived more than a short walk from the shops. New shopping parades developed in Oatlands and Queens Road to cater for this trade but shoppers began to park around the town centre. This was compounded as the cost of motoring declined to such an extent that shop workers and postees could begin to afford to run a car. They too began parking in town centre streets.
This has meant that residents have felt squeezed out and in reaction there has been an increased expectation for residents to have exclusive on-street parking to the detriment of the town’s shoppers and workers – without whom we would not have a town centre.
Over the years cars have become longer so fewer cars can park in a given stretch of street.
The problem is made harder to resolve as on-street parking is the responsibility of Surrey and off-street parking is the responsibility of Elmbridge.