Those of us at December’s Theydon Bois parish council meeting heard a presentation from the North Essex Parking Partnership’s enforcement manager. He explained his civil enforcement officers can issue penalties where vehicles are parking on yellow lines (or on highways land such as a pavement adjacent to a yellow line), in residents’ parking zones or obstructing dropped kerbs.
Only the police have the power to deal with vehicles causing obstructions in other locations, including parking on pavements where there are no parking restrictions. Problems with obstructions caused by parked cars can be reported to the police on 101 or 01245 491491. However the sad truth is that the police have many priorities and may not always respond.
In some narrow or busy roads drivers face a difficult choice between parking wholly on the road, which may make it difficult for traffic to get past, and parking partly on the pavement which makes it more difficult for pedestrians to pass. However there should never be an excuse for putting all four wheels on the pavement and blocking it completely.
Pavement parking is a real issue in roads such as Ivy Chimneys in Epping, Woodside in Thornwood Common and Forest Drive near the shops in Theydon Bois. Of these roads, only Forest Drive has parking restrictions and enforcement there is made more complicated given uncertainty about where the boundary between highways and private land is drawn. However NEPP last night agreed to look at this again.
The problem of pavement parking comes up so often the county council’s Place Services and Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee held a session on it yesterday. Councillors discussed this briefing paper [pdf]. Frustratingly the conclusions were that little is likely to change ibn terms of enforcement, unless there are changes to the law such as those advocated by the Guide Dogs Association.
This places the onus on the council or landowners to look at alternative ways of solving the problem, such as providing parking bays (expensive and often at the expense of grass verges), tolerating parking on grass verges or greens (often unsightly) or introducing new parking restrictions (which may not be practical if residents don’t have access to off-street parking).
Despite the frustrations it is an issue I will continue to work on.
Epping Hall was packed for Monday’s public meeting about the draft Local Plan, organised by the Epping Society. It was encouraging to see so many people interested in the future of our area. There were many good points made from the platform and from the audience.
The Epping Society has prepared an initial reponse to the draft local plan which doesn’t seem to be online yet but when available may help people put together their own responses. I’m doing a response with Janet Whitehouse which I’ll post here when ready.
I also went to the public meeting organised by Theydon Bois parish council on Thursday 10 November where many similar issues were raised and which will inform my response.
The Epping Society has organised a public meeting about the Epping Forest draft local plan which will take place on Monday 14 November at 7.30pm in Epping Hall, St John’s Road. Going on past experience the meeting could be quite busy so if you plan to attend it’s worth turning up in good time.
There is free parking in Bakers Lane car park opposite Epping Hall.
Tonight (Thursday 10 November) Theydon Bois residents get to express their views on the local plan at an extraordinary meeting of the parish council.
The meeting starts at 8pm in the Oak Room at Theydon Bois Village Hall.
This is exhibition week for the Epping Forest Local Plan. I gather the events that have happened already have been well attended. Epping’s turn is tomorrow at Epping Hall in St John’s Road from 3.30pm until 8pm. Parking is free in Bakers Lane car park opposite after 6pm.
Please come along to discuss the plan with council staff and ask questions. A number of councillors will also be there.
As usual, the agenda for the Epping Forest district council meeting last night had a slot for councillors to ask questions to members of the Cabinet. Given the meeting was just 24 hours after the start of the local plan consultation I was surprised how few councillors raised issues.
My fellow Lib Dem councillor Janet Whitehouse asked about comments she’d received from residents who had found it difficult to interpret the maps (below – click to enlarge) published in the local plan and at the public information points. She asked (see video) if road names could be added to the maps to make it easier to identify the site locations.
Unfortunately she received the response that the maps had been printed and it would be too difficult for the council to make changes. Residents who want to clarify site locations can:
- Download detailed information showing site boundaries from the council website. These documents also show sites that were considered and then not included in the draft Local Plan. The direct links for the Epping, Theydon Bois, Coopersale and Thornwood sites are below:
- Attend an exhibition and talk to a member of staff. The Epping exhibition is in Epping Hall on Friday 11 November from 3.30pm until 8pm. There is an exhibition at North Weald Village Hall this Saturday (5 November) from 10am until 2pm and at Lopping Hall in Loughton on Monday 7 November from 3.30pm until 8pm. Details of the Chigwell and Ongar exhibitions are on the council website.
- Call the council’s Local Plan information line for advice on 01992 564517 or email LDFConsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.
The Epping Forest draft Local Plan consultation is now open. The deadline for responses is 5pm on Monday 12 December.
You can complete the questionnaire online or pick up a paper copy to complete at one of the local displays or staffed exhibitions. You can also phone the council for a form on 01992 564517.
If you want to see the questions that are being asked you can download a scanned copy of the questions.
On 18 October the council voted to approve the draft Local Plan and run a public consultation from Monday 31 October to Monday 12 December.
I argued the plan was too flawed to be a good basis for consultation. It allocates a disproportionate share of development around Epping and Theydon Bois and along the M11 corridor; does not set out clearly how the resulting pressure on local infrastructure such as roads, transport and health services will be addressed and allocates important community and leisure sites for housing (Epping Sports Centre, Coopersale Cricket pitch) without identifying alternative sites where these facilites will be reprovided.
We need a Local Plan but it has to be fit for purpose. I couldn;t quite fit everything I wanted to say into the time available but you can watch what I said on the council website.
When I spoke about the Epping Forest draft Local Plan at Cabinet I said it was not the balanced plan I had expected and it concentrated development too much along the narrow M11 corridor especially from the south of Harlow through North Weald, Epping and Theydon Bois to Loughton.
The meeting was webcast and you can watch what I said.
You can read the Epping Forest draft local plan and literally thousands of pages of background information on the local plan website at http://eppingforest.consultationonline.co.uk/technical-information/.