Sunday, February 13, 2011

Parking in Yarm

The parking of cars in Yarm seems to have been a problem ever since I've lived in Eaglescliffe and it doesn't get any better as the years go on.  Many people work in the centre of the town and travel to work by car, perhaps because public transport isn't adequate for them, perhaps for other reasons.  I don't know whether anyone has ever done any serious research into why.  Many more people pop into Yarm for a period of time during the day to do something.  They might need half an hour to go to the bank or pick up some dry cleaning.  They might need a couple of hours to shop or more if they want to visit the hair dresser or the dentist or one of the many businesses there as well as the shops. 
Some years ago a disc parking system was introduced on most of Yarm High St so that people could park for 2 hours free then move on.  The rest of the High St and surrounding streets were left for long stay.  This worked quite well for a time but increased car use has meant that for some time it's been inadequate.  More parking tickets are issued in Yarm than anywhere else in the Tees Valley, because more and more people ignore the 2 hour limit. Traders and residents alike have said something must be done. 
In November 2009 Stockton Council's cabinet accepted that there was a huge problem and that land for long stay parking could only be bought or leased if there was some money - not rocket science you might say.  The only 2 ways of getting money were seen to be from developers when they get permission to build more housing and by charging for parking.  Council officers were sent away to find solutions in consultation with the Cabinet member responsible.  No-one, not the Town Council nor the Tory councillors at SBC, argued with the logic.
Last year the officers and the cabinet member agreed that one way to provide some medium stay parking was to use 2 small car parks in the town which currently have no charges and make them pay & display with the option of staying longer than 2 hours.  At the same time they said they'd put yellow lines on some parts of side roads, including where there are currently Keep Clear signs which are regularly ignored.  Consultation notices were duly put up around the town. The result was an outcry and Yarm Conservatives joined in.  So something which was the result of a decision taken by the Tory led council was suddenly unacceptable when the detail was revealed.
In November last year I chaired a review of parking across the borough looking for efficiencies, improvements and different ways of doing things in order to cut costs.  The cuts which the Tory secretary of state for communities and local government imposed on Stockton Council were so big that cuts to services or extra charges are inevitable.  We agreed that the principle of charging in Yarm was acceptable but that it should be done as part of looking at charges across the borough and that the money raised should be put towards the cost of leasing some land for long stay parking which officers had identified as available if money could be found.  We also said that the parking should be reconfigured so that there were fewer hold-ups caused by vehicles trying to reverse out into the stream of traffic on the High St. and so that disabled parking bays were clearly marked and easy to reach. 
Unfortunately, some people have chosen to muddle the two pieces of work.  Nothing recommended by the Environment committee review has yet come to pass.  The action plan has only just been approved.  But the consultation which has caused such upset is from the previous work, nothing to do with me or the Environment committee.
It's worth pointing out that Yarm Tories managed to deselect the one Yarm Councillor who voted against the Environment committee recommendations, though not against the original decision in 2009 that funding for long stay parking would come in part from parking charges.  Perhaps, as they didn't disagree with that recommendation, what they really want is lots more housing built somewhere in Yarm town centre so that developers can fund the long stay parking needed? 


Airway Heights Parking said...

With more and more apartment buildings being built in inner-city areas, parking is definitely at a premium. What’s a parking spot worth?

Parker said...

Finding car parking solutions is tough. In our town we have disc parking which seems to work fine. However the Council want to introduce charges which isn't going down too well with local traders.

Anonymous said...

Yarm PARKING It is quite interesting what has been wri8tten on this blog. Officers have admitted that it was a cross party decision. If any of the Yarm councillors objected to this crippling proposal why was it that they did not speak to the minute at the full council meeting on 19th January, Total silence spells guilt, Mrs BeaUMONT at that neeting declared the minutes of cabinet to be incorrect she had voted for 11 but against 12, 13, and 14 because they contained reference to Yarm,. If they had changed the wording deleting Yarn she would gave voted for. This is a straight jacket for Yarm residents and all councillors should be ashamed of supporting and not defending residents when the opportunity arose.

Anonymous said...

Parking in Yarm continues to a problem, although the council must be raking in the money from fines at £50 a go. Depsite being a most careful parker I received one last week for parking outside of Thomas the Baker, next to the crossing in what has been a parking space for years. New discrete markings end the spaces at the space next to the crossing (which conveniently is the same diameter of all the other space). The cynics amongst us would say this non-space is a council revenue earner, as I've since seen 3 cars with tickets on parked inthis space, presumably fr the same offence!