Wanstead parking: Could this be peace?

permit2This may be folly to predict, but it seems as if peace might be about to break out in the Wanstead Parking Wars.

The long-awaited consultation of the “residents only” restrictions which were introduced last year to many streets in central Wanstead is to be discussed at next week’s Area One committee of Redbridge Borough Council.

Papers just published, in advance of that meeting, show that council officials are proposing a compromise which will create up to 120 short term parking spots around the High Street. Residents’ restrictions will be largely cut to just one hour from 11am to noon, and parts of two roads which currently have all day bans – Grove Park and Nightingale Lane – will now also have just a one-hour restriction.

The parking wars (which, as far as Wansteadium is aware, have not yet got beyond slightly heated sulking on either side) were created when residents restrictions were introduced to stop commuters parking all day in Wanstead streets from where they would go in to central London on the Tube. But retailers, office-workers and shoppers complained that it had become impossible to park in Wanstead to visit shops or cafes because there was just no parking available.

The council paper says: “The report draws the conclusion from the analysis of the varying views that some relaxation of the parking restrictions will be beneficial to the broader Wanstead populace while at the same time it will be important to continue to provide residents with some degree of protection. In effect, a compromise solution is offered in the recommendations.”

It adds: “All in all, the amendments to the current scheme proposed above should provide in the region of 75 to 80 additional short term parking places in the roads in the current [controlled parking zone] and a further 30 in Grove Park and Grosvenor Road. It should be stressed that this is considerably more short term parking provision than existed prior to the CPZ schemes being introduced given that most of the free bays in the one-hour ban on Spratt Hall Road were occupied by long stay parkers and Dangan and Addison Roads were heavily parked by commuters.”

The full proposals in the report – which will have to be approved by councillors – are:

To introduce one-hour residents permit schemes, operating from 11am to noon on weekdays, on:

  • Addison Road and Dangan Road and Spratt Hall Road at the Cambridge Park end only
  • the ChristChurch Green side of Spratt Hall Road between Woodbine Place and Wanstead Place
  • Chaucer Road at the Spratt Hall Road end only (noting that the remainders of Spratt Hall Road, Chaucer Road, Dangan Road and Addison Road will remain as they are now)
  • the gravelled area outside Christ Church in Wanstead Place

The current all day restriction in the first section of Grove Park and The Avenue, and the first section of Nightingale Lane, will be converted to a one-hour ban yellow line (9.30 to 10.30).

In terms of achieving a compromise, the officers may have reached some sort of conclusion, but it is unlikely that everyone will be happy. People living in Grove Park and the Avenue may well object, though the larger houses there have off-street parking.

But while shops and cafes will welcome the general relaxation, probably with garlands and kisses, there may well be debate about the timing of the restriction. Whereas the one-hour limit in some parts of Wanstead is 9.30-10.30, the new proposed 11am-noon limit may leave those relying on a lunchtime trade frustrated.

wansteadtalkwideThe debate which has raged for so long will now continue, especially at next week’s meeting. In the meantime, Wanstead Talk (our messageboard for civilised Wanstead conversation) is open for business on the subject of parking at this page.

Wanstead news roundup: A minor parking breakthrough, and other news

photo• Police are investigating how a 44-year-old man was stabbed on Wanstead High St at 5am on Tuesday. The area was taped off for much of the day. More details at the Wanstead Guardian, which says police believe it was a domestic incident

• A For Sale sign now adorns the premises previously occupied by Santa Fe. And Cambridge Park accountants Tish, Press and Co say they are leaving Wanstead simply because of the difficulty of parking.

• BUT here’s a bit of good news for embattled Wanstead shopkeepers: Westfield NOW NO LONGER OFFERS FREE PARKING (see pic). Up to two hours will now set you back £2.50.

• Nudists took over Wanstead’s cricket ground last weekend for (authorised) naturist camping, in spite of the chilly conditions. Meanwhile the club is gearing up for the start of a new season, with the first games next weekend. Last year, you may remember, Wanstead and Snaresbrook were national club finalists, and they will be hoping to repeat their successes. From next week, Wansteadium will be bringing you regular reports of what’s going on, hopefully at all levels of the club.

• No news yet on whether Costa will, as rumoured, open in the former Enigma premises, though it appears George Lane is to get one.

photo (1)• Is it Wansteadium’s imagination, or are the ‘conservation’ zone signs at the Snaresbrook end of the High Street new?

• Reviews are welcome for the newest (and some would say bravest) culinary venture: a seafood stall next door to Queen’s British Steak House and Grill, called Wanstead Shell Shack. The best of luck to them (though is a PTSD-based pun really good taste?)

• For the avoidance of confusion, and partly because we’ve never thought to say this before, but Wansteadium has no link whatever with the Wanstead Village Directory. That is all.

Letter to Wansteadium: A ‘Residents Parking’ loser writes

photo (25)Wansteadium reader John Wagstaff writes:
The joys of working in Wanstead. These are all tickets given within a week. Wanstead Place is now residents’ parking. The barely visible disabled space in the Co-op car park, and a parking ticket issued one minute before my arrival back at my car.

wansteadtalk2You can also join the parking discussion forum at Wanstead Talk, here.

Letter to Wansteadium: A ‘Residents Parking’ winner writes

Wansteadium reader ‘Mystery Crew’ writes:

I am a long term resident in the WB parking zone [which includes Cambridge Pk Rd, Chaucer Rd, Dangan Rd, Gordon Rd and Spratt Hall Rd] that voted against the parking restrictions in their current format but agreed with many of my neighbours that some type of restrictions was required to deter commuters – just less draconian measures than those implemented by the Council.

However in a lot of the various debates on this issue there has been little mention of how the parking issue has escalated over the years. There are a number of key events that happened, after each event the parking problems in the WB zone deteriorated. These events are primarily the introduction of the WA Controlled Parking Zone around Wanstead Tube station, the introduction of single yellow lines and free bays on the other side of the high street, the reduction of parking spaces on New Wanstead for safety and traffic calming measures, the inclusion of WB streets on a “where to park in London” website and – for those of us who remember that far back – Cambridge Park being rebuilt with no parking at all.

Consequently the only free unrestricted parking anywhere near the High Street fell on the WB zone. I do hope that something is done to ensure there is more parking for shoppers etc. available close to the high street but focusing exclusively on the WB zone feels a tad mean-spirited when WB zone was the last to fall to the temptation of parking restrictions. Any review of the parking pressures should look at Wanstead as a whole and not piecemeal in the way the council has done in the past.

For more on the parking review in Wanstead, see this story: Parking around Wanstead: The pressure builds

wansteadtalk2You can also join the discussion forum at Wanstead Talk specifically on parking, here.

Parking around Wanstead High St: The pressure builds

parkingThe opponents of the increased restrictions on parking on streets around Wanstead High Street have started mobilising their campaign ahead of a review of the schemes which is due next month.

At a council meeting in Wanstead earlier this week, business owners and opponents of the restrictions lobbied Redbridge councillors. The campaigners who last year collected more than 5,000 signatures against proposed pay and display machines have begun campaigning again.

Residents’ only parking was introduced for a 12-month period last year on several roads in central Wanstead, including Spratt Hall Road, Dangan Road, Addison Road and others. The introduction came after residents showed that websites were advising commuters that they could easily park on the streets during the day for easy access to the Central Line. As a result it became impossible for many residents to park near their homes. Councillors say they had to respond to the residents’ concerns.

The restrictions had their desired effect – one resident of Spratt Hall Road said approvingly that there were so few cars parked there during the day that it was like the aftermath of a nuclear war. But casual shoppers, shopkeepers, local business and parents dropping children at nurseries and schools were not so impressed, saying it made central Wanstead like a no-go zone. As Wansteadium noted earlier this year, the residents’ only parking was extended to an area outside Christ Church where there were not actually any residents.

Wansteadium reader Diana Watson said there was “vociferous opposition” at the Area 1 committee meeting held on Monday this week.  She said the overwhelming suggestion of people in attendance was the reintroduction of a one  or two-hour parking ban each morning to exclude commuters but allow “the good people of Wanstead to go about their business and avail themselves of the activities and services in the community”.

Campaigner Michael Powis has now contacted supporters to encourage them to contact the council ahead of next month’s review. He says: “These were popular places for people to stop off for an hour or two and park to visit the shops, cafes, doctors and voluntary community activities etc. etc. Surrounding roads, where the one hour ban has worked for many, many years, have now experienced displaced parking, further restricting usage of spaces.” He says the restrictions create an atmosphere “which says KEEP OUT to the visitors that help support our High Street, which residents alone cannot sustain”.

Residents of the streets in question, who according to surveys support the measures, are not likely to be happy with the “one hour ban” proposal since without some greater refinement it would it impossible for them to leave their cars outside their own homes during the day. At an area two committee earlier this year one resident suggested that the residents parking system be retained, but be restricted in its hours of operation to 0930-1030 each weekday. This would, he said, keep commuters out, allow residents to park, but also allow community use during the day.

The campaign is likely to heat up further during the next few weeks, but the council and its officials find themselves in a tricky position where they will have to find a balance between the interests of residents and the wider community.

Shed pounds with ease! (Park at Snaresbrook)

From Monday, 5 January, the price of parking at Snaresbrook and Wanstead station car parks is going up again, to £6 and £5 respectively, rising from £4.50 and £4.

It was in September 2010 that Wansteadium last reported on price hikes at these carparks, when they rose from £2.70. It means that in less than three years, Snaresbrook prices have risen by more than 100%.
Different prices will apply in both car parks at weekends and on Bank Holidays. But during the week – even in the evening – the flat rate approach used means the full whack even if parking for only an hour. This means technically one could park more cheaply for an hour near Harrods (£3.60) than in the carpark near the Ironing Board.

A spokesman for TfL which sets the rates told the Wanstead Guardian that it was bringing them in line with local competitors. “This is the first increase in charges in more than two years and our charges remain below the market rate,” he said.

However, the rate at Grove Park car park, run by Redbridge Council, is 80p for the first hour, rising to £5 for longer than three hours.

The future of on-street parking in Wanstead is still undecided, with a number of roads currently in the middle of a 12-month trial of residents’ only parking in a bid to deter commuters. The price rises may, however, simply make it more worthwhile for commuters to walk further to pick up the Central Line, potentially spreading the parking into other Wanstead roads.