Image of road in Dulwich Wood with cars parked all along it.

Southwark Council backpedals on Controlled Parking Zone plans

After Wednesday’s council assembly, Southwark residents continue to raise concerns over the council’s controlled parking zone (CPZ) policy, due to poor public transport networks and a council they believe is unempathetic.

Following fierce opposition from residents, Southwark Council abandoned initiatives to introduce CPZs across the borough, with Dulwich Hill and Dulwich Wood wards remaining CPZ free.

However, after Wednesday’s assembly, it is clear that Nunhead and Queen’s Road, and Dulwich Village wards have not seen CPZs scrapped.

James McAsh, councillor for Goose Green and cabinet member for the Climate Emergency, Clean Air and Streets initiative, explained that Southwark believes the positives of CPZs may outweigh the negatives in these areas.

Image of Wednesday's council meeting.
COUNCIL MEETING: Wednesday’s council meeting. Source: Oppose the CPZ.

Corin Burr, 52, Nunhead resident and one of the main organisers of the Oppose the CPZ movement, said: “When I received news of the council’s proposal for a CPZ in May, I found that the consultation document they gave us was not a consultation document.

“It included questions along the lines of ‘what times would you like controlled parking’ and ‘would you like clean air’, questions based on assumptions.”

The document offered no opportunity to communicate that CPZs were unwanted.

Soon after, a community meeting was called by the council in Nunhead.

Mr Burr explained: “It was a complete and utter disaster, it wasn’t coordinated, the councillors were belligerent, they didn’t really care at all.”

He stressed that the council had failed on two counts; the consultation process and reasons for implementing CPZs.

Consultation Process

According to the Gunning Principles, a legal framework established in 1985, consultation is only legitimate if four points are met.

These four points include:

(1) proposals are in their early stages

(2) there is sufficient information

(3) there is adequate time for consideration and response

(4) ‘conscientious consideration’ is given to responses before a decision is made

According to Mr Burr, Southwark Council has failed to adhere to these regulations.

North east Peckham saw a CPZ implemented in September after consultation opened for a month in August 2021, the summer where travel was finally permitted after the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Oppose the CPZ’ claim that, with many on holiday during the month, there were only 234 responses and 95% of residents were unaware of it.

Reasons for Implementing CPZs

The Department for Transport states that parking charges such as those introduced with CPZ should never be implemented with the intention of raising revenue.

Oppose the CPZ argue that this is one of the primary intentions behind CPZ implementation.

During a cabinet meeting in July, Cllr McAsh argued that implementing CPZs across the borough was only fair.

Mr Burr disagreed with this statement, saying: “What isn’t fair is that the transport links in Elephant and Castle are much better than Nunhead.”

PTAL SCORE: Heat map of area of Southwark where CPZs are proposed. Rates locations by distance from frequent public transport services. Source: TFL.

This becomes clear through TFL’s ‘Public Transport Accessibility Levels’, which show how well-connected areas of London are.

According to Southwark Council’s ‘Movement Plan’, vehicle ownership in the borough ranges from 31% in the north to 72% in the south.

SUMMER FETE PETITION: Oppose the CPZ group running their stall at the summer fete on Peckham Rye. Source: Oppose the CPZ.

The consultation process for Nunhead and Queen’s Road, and Dulwich Village will begin soon but importantly, with the option of declining CPZs.

Cllr McAsh said during Wednesday’s meeting: “We must demonstrate flexibility, humility and a willingness to listen.”

He added that in future, they would publish information regarding their decision to continue in certain wards before the consultation process begins.

He also provided us with this comment: “The council is committed to the aspirations set out in our Streets for People strategy, including making it easier for residents to switch from using their cars to making journeys by foot, by cycling and on public transport.

“We have already made great strides towards this by constructing over 140 new pedestrian crossings over the last five years and installing over 700 cycling hangers across the borough.”

Oppose the CPZ has expanded to cover Lewisham and Lambeth who are also considering expanding CPZs.  

Their influence is evident in Lewisham’s decision on Saturday to remove CPZ proposals from Evelyn ward.

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