A scheme to make city centre parking easier could get the go-ahead at a meeting of Brighton & Hove City Council’s environment committee on 14 September.
If councillors give the plans approval then work will begin to merge central Brighton’s eight small parking zones into two large ones, get rid of the voucher system in favour of pay and display, reduce resident permit waiting lists, standardise the tariff structure and phase out time-limited free parking and replace it with residents’ parking bays.
The council gave the scheme overall permission in June and in the interim additional consultation with residents has been carried out. Now the environment committee is free to give the new parking zone plans final approval.
Chair of the environment committee, Cllr Gill Mitchell, said, “These proposals could make city centre parking fairer and easier and also reduce resident permit waiting lists, which at the moment are very long in the smaller city centre zones.
“A huge amount of detailed research has gone into this review and now we have received residents’ views on the scheme.”
Increasing the size of the schemes, along with introducing more pay and display parking bays that can be used by residents, will significantly reduce waiting lists for parking permits and give residents a better chance of finding a space to park.
However, Green Councillor Keith Taylor has spotted what he believes to be a major flaw in the proposal to make two zones where there were previously eight. "Far from this flawed project being the dream parking solution it will, in fact, be a nightmare for city centre residents,” said Taylor. “If the eight smaller parking zones are consolidated into two, residents on the edges of the zones will then be entitled to park in the centre to go shopping, That will increase the competition for spaces with people who live in centre.
"Along with increased car use, pollution and congestion there will be many losers if this goes ahead. It's tempting to conclude that this is a cynical council money making exercise. There's certainly no logic whatsoever in the plans," added Taylor.
While it is a little radical to say there is no logic to the scheme whatsoever the Greens do have a point. Will city centre residents end up having to park miles from their home at weekends when the others come in to shop?
On the other hand the new scheme could stimulate an upturn in city centre shopping by offering residents who live on the edges of the zones the option to drive to the shops for free.
The introduction of two larger, more coherent parking zones, will also make it easier for drivers to understand the parking rules. Helping them park legally will make it easier and safer for other road users too, such as buses, taxis, cyclists and pedestrians.
Currently there are 940 residents on the waiting list for permits in central Brighton, but under the proposed northern zone, which takes in the northern parts of the Vernon Terrace/Seven Dials and North Laine schemes, London Road and Buckingham Road areas, the 740 spaces available for residents would increase to 1,375.
In the proposed southern zone, comprising the southern end of the Vernon Terrace/Seven Dials and North Laine schemes, Montpelier Road, West Street, North Street, Dean Street and Crown Street areas, the 536 available spaces would rise to 865.
If approved, work will begin early next year.
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