How did we vote in the Council's 2020 consultation?
Yes, that's right...
All votes had to be submitted no later than 11.59pm on 17 February 2020. The countdown clock on this page and on the website homepage told us how much time we had left to vote, until it all ran out.
The results of the vote are...
1662 households in the extended area were consulted by the Council. 901 valid responses were received from within the proposed scheme boundary, giving a response rate of 54%.
Support for a resident parking scheme:
618 (69.8%) of respondents support a residents parking scheme in the area.
268 (30.2%) of respondents do not support a residents parking scheme in the area.
Full or Light-touch scheme:
306 (36.8%) prefer a full scheme.
525 (63.2%) prefer a light-touch scheme.
Days of Operation:
512 (62.1%) support a Monday to Friday scheme.
312 (37.9%) support a Monday to Sunday scheme.
The good news is that the result provides a clear and conclusive area-wide mandate for a residents' parking scheme, operated as a light touch scheme, Monday to Friday.
It is a considerable matter of regret to SAPC that a further 110 responses were removed from the analysis because they were submitted in duplicate (with more than one response per household). The SAPC drew to the Council's attention at the outset of the consultation our strong concern that the online consultation portal did not explain that only one vote per household was sought, as distinct from one vote per elector. We included information on this website advising residents how to make a valid response. We asked for correcting information to be included on the Council's online portal, but by the conclusion of the consultation no such change had been made. In principle, this was an appalling act of maladministration on the part of the Council which has led to the disenfranchisement of a substantial number of people: a wholly unsatisfactory outcome.
In these circumstances, SAPC has given careful consideration to the question of whether the consultation can claim to be valid or whether it was so procedurally flawed that it should be rejected and re-run. We have concluded that on balance, the consultation result was not fundamentally flawed and should stand.
We have reached this view on the basis that even if it is assumed that all 110 duplicate responses were votes against the relevant propositions that were supported in the consultation, because the underlying votes are so conclusive, none of the results would change. If all 110 discounted duplicate responses were counted as votes against a parking scheme (the 'losing' proposition), there would still have been a substantial vote in favour of a scheme. If all 110 discounted duplicate responses were counted as votes for a full scheme (the 'losing' proposition), there would still have been a majority for a light touch scheme. If all 110 discounted duplicate responses were counted as votes for a Monday to Sunday scheme (the 'losing' proposition), there would still have been a majority for a weekday only scheme.
On the basis of this analysis, the decision by the Council to discount 110 responses did not materially change any of the outcomes in relation to any of the main propositions in the consultation. It is on that basis that the SAPC is prepared to refrain from a formal judicial challenge. However, the Council is placed on notice that it's conduct of the consultation and specifically its enduring failure to provide proper advice on how to respond to those participating online represents distinctly poor practice. Had the number of discounted responses been sufficient to cast any of the main results into doubt, the SAPC would have taken a different position. It is important therefore that, before a further consultation on a preferred design is brought forward, the Council ensures that it's consultative processes are well designed and adequately / equally communicated to households voting in hard copy and on-line. The risk of a flaw that affects the outcome should not be taken.
A report was originally due to have been considered by the Council's Environment, Transport and Sustainability (ETS) Committee on 17 March 2020. It was deferred to the ETS Committee meeting on 5 May 2020, but that meeting was cancelled due to the Coronavirus crisis. It was finally considered at the ETS Committee meeting on 23 June 2020, where the recommendation to support designation of an area-wide light touch parking scheme from Monday to Friday was passed unanimously. The Council will now prepare and consult us on a detailed design.
The report to the committee can be seen here.
If you need more information, browse these FAQs. We've tried to provide a fair summary of everything you need to know about parking issues in the local area.