Monday, 17 October 2016

Arrogant MRA kills resident and retailer petition for parking controls

Earlier this year we prepared petitions for roads near Hampton Court station asking the Surrey County Council Parking Review to address a long-standing problem over weekday rail commuter parking blocking all spaces on roads near Hampton Court station rather than parking in the under-used station car park. The petitions were overwhelmingly supported by 356 (82%) of residents and 52 (88%) of retailers and traders.

The Parking Review has now been completed and was presented at the Elmbridge Local Committee meeting on Monday 3 October. Our proposals were rejected out of hand with the review team not even bothering to consult us or any of the road leads who were involved in preparing the proposals!

Searching questions were asked at the Local Committee meeting by Conservative councillors from other parts of Elmbridge who understand the problems we are facing but it became clear that Molesey’s councillors, all of whom are from the Molesey Residents Association (MRA) are wholly against our proposals. Comments made by the MRA Councillors cast doubt on the veracity of our petitions, the motivations of our residents and the needs of our valued retailers and traders - some of the MRA’s comments are printed below. (Ernest Mallet MRA: EM, Stuart Selleck MRA: SS):

"This is a petty proposition, being advocated by residents who don’t want people to park outside their houses" (EM)

"This is going over old ground and I don’t support it" (SS)
"We don’t know how the petitions were done or what was said to people at the time" (EM)

"The roads are fully parked up and this proposal would cause displacement" (EM)
"If we employ professionals (the review team) we need to listen to them" (SS)

"I believe that if the petitions were done properly, the majority would not support the proposals" (EM)

The Parking Study’s objectives were to improve road safety, increase access for emergency vehicles, improve access to shops, facilities and businesses, increase access for refuse vehicles, buses and service vehicles, reduce traffic congestion and better regulate parking. We strongly believe our proposals were aligned with these objectives and that the reasons given for rejecting them were incorrect.

We have not given up on this so we now feel residents should register their disappointment that our well-researched and strongly supported proposals were rejected out of hand based on an inaccurate rationale and understanding of what we are trying to achieve.
We may yet be successful in persuading SCC and our reluctant MRA Councillors to listen so we ask you to make your views known by emailing the SCC Officer who led the review, Adrian Harris ( with cc’s to the Chairman of the Local Committee, Margaret Hicks ( and to Peter Szanto ( It’s important that every resident who signed the original petition now backs that up by sending a protest email as there is nothing the MRA would like better than to kick this into the ‘long grass’ and for it never to be seen or heard of again.

It only took 52% to take the UK out of the EU so why is it possible for the MRA to ignore 82% of local residents – MRA’s ‘democracy’ in action!

The reasons given by the SCC Parking Review Team for rejecting residents and traders proposal to introduce a one-hour weekday morning parking restriction in roads near Hampton Court station are flawed. The reasons for rejecting in the report are shown below in black. The responses in support of the proposals are in red. These were not listened to by the Molesey Residents Association Councillors.
2.6 We have decided not to progress this idea further for the following reasons:

The residents in these roads, broadly speaking, have significant levels of off street parking, and therefore have little need to use the on street parking space. Our policy is only to introduce a permit scheme where residents have real need to park on street, and where there is little or
no off street parking available.
  • The proposed permit scheme is not designed to create more spaces for residents in the specified roads. Indeed it will not, since it is only for one hour in the morning on weekdays. This is an opportunity for SCC to demonstrate integrated thinking on rail and road transport, since the proposal is purely designed to encourage rail commuters to park in the station car park which has plenty of free spaces and was designed for them.
The parking strategy agreed by the local committee looks to stop introducing schemes that can cause displacement. This scheme would certainly displace vast numbers of vehicles, probably to streets that are already under heavy parking stress, and where residents have less off street parking (e.g. Kent Road, Park Road, Pemberton Road).
  • Far from causing displacement, the proposal is designed to address existing displacement of rail commuters who are currently parking on these roads, blocking the spaces for the whole day. 
    • The large station car park is typically less than one third full, since rail commuters park on these streets to save themselves the car park fee.
    • This blocks all the spaces in the streets for shoppers and visitors to Hampton Court, and the cafes and restaurants in the area.
    • The cost for a shopper parking in the station car park is £6.50 if parking before 4pm, irrespective of the time they are parked; hence the station car park is not an option for most shoppers and visitors.
    • Commuters can purchase weekly/monthly/annual season tickets for the station car park at significant reductions. An annual season ticket costs £720 (under £2 per day).
    • Since the proposal is purely for a one hour morning restriction it is simply designed to drive commuters to park in the place which was designated for them.
    • The streets suggested for the change were specifically selected to minimise displacement to streets further away, since the walking time to and from the station would be 14 minutes or more. It is unlikely that a significant number of commuters would do this.
The existing uncontrolled space provides opportunity for local workers, who may be on relatively low pay, to park and work in the local area.
  • Regarding parking spaces for local workers, the Retailer survey submitted to the review team included data from all the traders. It had asked all of them this specific question. Most had no issue with staff parking. Several did and this could be easily resolved by staggering the one hour morning restriction in the different roads, as was suggested to the review team in the submission. Indeed by moving the commuters to the station car park, more spaces would be available for staff for most of the day, since commuters tend to block the spaces before most of the shops and cafes/restaurants are open..
There are already limited waiting parking bays for shoppers in the Hampton Court area, such as Bridge Road, and Creek Road. It is difficult to conceive that there is a need to create what would be two or three hundred more parking spaces for shoppers to the area.
  • The limited waiting parking bays for shoppers in Hampton Court area are very few, nowhere near sufficient for shoppers and visitors to cafes, restaurants and Hampton Court. I have been there numerous times when they are all occupied. It is a complete misrepresentation to say that the proposal is seeking to create two or three hundred spaces for shoppers. The whole of the roads were included to address the concern of displacement. If the review team felt that only limited parts of the roads should be included, they should have assessed this as part of the review.
Particularly in the case of Palace Road and Wolesey (sic) Road, if parking were restricted to residents only for an hour, it is likely that both traffic flows and traffic speeds would increase dramatically in these roads over that time period. The current parking practices here helps to slow
  • The comments on reduced parking by commuters on Palace and Wolsey Road  causing a dramatic increase in speeds are not credible.
    • Many of the spaces would be taken by shoppers/visitors if they were able to park there, hence little/no change
    • Currently commuters speed down these roads in the morning in a desperate attempt to find spaces and catch their train at just the time children are going to school. If they were forced to use the station car park, which has plenty of spaces, we believe that road safety would be improved
We have in the past introduced controls to prevent obstructive or dangerous parking, and we are looking to introduce a couple of additional sections of yellow line within the area to eliminate further
such problems (see Annex 1). However, we do not think that congestion or safety issues are prevalent in these roads.
  • Additional yellow lines at junctions are welcome, but do not agree that there are no safety concerns on these roads
As a county council, one of our key objectives is to help support the economy. Removing all day parking from all of these roads could damage business and have a knock on impact on the local economy of the area
  • This is ridiculous. The overwhelming majority of retailers and traders were in favour of the proposals which only involved a one hour restriction in the morning. Are the MRA and Officers saying they know their business better than the people who own/run them?
In the past it has also been suggested that parking should be controlled here to enable street cleansing. This is not a valid reason to introduce permanent parking controls. Parking can be temporarily suspended to enable street cleansing operations, as is the practice that happens
across the county already.
  • Suspending parking doesn't help if commuters ignore it as they have done in the past.

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