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.
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.
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 Local Plan Cabinet report has been published and is available on the district council website.
The fraft local plan sets out the number of homes the council wants to be built in Epping Forest until 2031 and identifies potential sites for development (see maps.
It also includes the policies that will be used to assess future planning applications.
If agreed by Cabinet and full council the plan will be out for consultation between Monday 31 October and Monday 12 Deember.
Since Wednesday a few dozen residents from Coopersale, Epping and Theydon Bois have reported discoloured water coming out of their taps.
This seems to be related to mains cleaning work that Affinity Water is carrying out on their distribution network. The discoloured water problem is related to manganese deposits in the water distribution system which have been disturbed by on-going mains cleaning works.
The company now thinks it has mitigated much of the problem but in some areas there are still small pockets of discoloured water. Affinity Water will continue to carry out “passive flushing” of the mains in the affected areas.
Epping Forest District Council’s water quality officer advises that the water is not unsafe to use. However residents have been advised by Affinity Water to flush all affected taps/pipework, where discolouration is evident.
Concerned residents should contact Affinity Water if they need further advice or information. The phone number is 0845 782 3333.