Sunday, June 01, 2008

Parking, Planning and Protests

I spend a week last Wednesday at a residents meeting in New Costessey and last Thursday at a similar one in Chapel Break, Bowthorpe, both about the same issue - parking. Now I've done a lot of public meetings in my time and very few issues, outside of election time, get anywhere near a crowd but both of these meetings were very well attended. I had done the week before a public meeting about the bus service in the West of the City with considerably fewer people. (Off the point, but it is a shame that people don't make more of an effort because all the meetings I have done have seen good debate and an excellent array of public speakers.)

Both Costessey and Chapel Break have blocked roads, inconsiderate parkers and issues wth blocking roads and driveways. Each time all the authorities can say is that neighbours should work together (this was nearlly word-for-word the answer that came back from the Labour executive when I raised the issue in Full Council some time ago). Sadly though, relations are not what they could be, and these residents need help to work through their differences including influencing the planning process and designing out some of the problems. One of the great tings about the SNAP is the fusion between the elected councillors and the police. Being able to help shape police priorities has been a great way of affecting change in our areas.

In both cases, the police are now working high profile shifts to help the situation. A senior council officer is persuing the adoption of some of the roads in Chapel Break to make enforcement easier and we as Councillors have been able to bring together different groups of people and different councils to get a result.

Parking is clearly a big issue and we have to sit up and listen to the concerns of local people.

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