Thanks a lot for everyone's messages on here. I know that this is a hugely contentious issue for which lots of people have strong views. I'm going to try to provide answer all your questions below.
*Why is there a consultation*
The council has a policy of consulting on the introduction of a CPZ if residents call for one. There have been sections of the Goose Green area which have been very active in calling for this for some time. During the election campaign last year parking was the most commonly-raised local issue. Clearly, with no CPZ in place and no consultation ongoing the people raising it were almost universally those who supported the implentation of one. Although I am reltaively new to this post, I am told that this is the standard pattern: we councillors hear mostly from those who support a CPZ until a consultation happens, at which point we hear more from its opponents. This makes sense to me and it's why it's important to have a meaningful consultation.
*Issues with the consultation and what I have done to remedy them*
In terms of its organisation so far I accept that there have been issues. The most significant of all has been regarding late or non-delivery of the consultation packs. This is due to the ongoing issues with the Royal Mail sorting office, and not due to any problems at Southwark Council. Nonetheless, I totally accept that this is not good enough and undermines our ability to consult meaningfully. For that reason, I and your other Goose Green councillors Victoria and Charlie have pushed for the East Dulwich consultation consultation to be extended to the 28th February and there to be a further letter sent out to the SE22 area of the consultation advising residents of how they can get a consultation pack if they have not already. If you have not received a consultation pack then you can get one by
- Requesting one by email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Requesting one by phone 020 7525 0127
- Downloading the documents from the website: [consultations.southwark.gov.uk
Given that some people will have missed the consultation meetings due to the Royal Mail issues we have also committed to organising further drop-ins and meetings for local traders in February (dates TBC).
It is true that business permits are of higher cost than residents permits. This is because their purpose is for essential business use - like for instance the use of a van for deliveries - which would be unaffordable on a pay-per-hour basis.
Zak raises a good point about what will happen next. It sounds like there is some confusion and misunderstanding about it which I want to clear up. It is very similar to the process in 2012.
- Once the consultation is concluded the officers will analyse the results and produce a report and recommendation
- This report will be public and hosted on the Southwark council website where residents will be able to make comments.
- After this a decision will be taken by the Cabinet Member responsible for transport and the environment: Cllr Richard Livingstone.
If the report is ready in time then Cllr Andy Simmons - Chair of Dulwich Community Council - has committed to putting it on the agenda of the March/April meeting before Cllr Livingstone makes his decision.
In the past the Council has only ever implemented three potential outcomes of a CPZ consultation. These are
- Outright rejection of the proposal on the grounds of majority opposition. This was the case with the last East Dulwich consultation in 2012.
- Outright implementation of the proposal following majority support. This has happened in a number of places for instance Thorburn Square.
- Partial implementation of the proposal in a contiguous sub-area where the proposal was supported. This happened in Herne Hill.
On the final outcome it is worth noting - to answer MarkT's query - that partial implementation would only apply to a contiguous area, not to smatterings of individual roads across East Dulwich.
None of these three outcomes involved the Council railroading decisions against the wishes of local residents. They are the only options on the table for this consultation too. You have my word on this, and also that of the Leader of the Council Peter John (one of the reasons for the slight delay in responding on here was that I wanted to make 100% sure of this with him).
I note TheArtfulDogger's point about the Spineway consultation and can see how the approach there might appear contradictory with that here. The key differences are that the Spineway is a piece of borough-wide infrastructure which affects a wider body of people than just those living on the affected streets, and also that it was in the Southwark Labour manifesto and therefore has a democratic mandate. The consultation in this case was not to decide whether or not to implement a Spineway but rather to work out the best way to do so. By contrast, the proposed CPZ follows demands from East Dulwich residents and is designed to benefit primarily those in East Dulwich. So if it does not win majority support it will not be implemented.
I hope that this answers everyone's questions.
P.S. I am indeed a democratic socialist, which is one of the many traditions within the broader church of Marxism.
James McAsh - Labour Councillor for Goose Green ward
Surgeries: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month at 7pm, East Dulwich Community Centre on Darrell Road