In recent years, residents in the Butt Lane area have continued to raise their concerns about parking. Terraced Streets like Church Street, Wright Street, Skellern Street, Chapel Street, Glebe Street, Banbury Street and half of Woodshutts Street continue to become overburdened with vehicles. The issue is becoming exacerbated for a number of reasons.
These days, many families have more than one car per household and the majority of these homes do not have a driveway. There are also a number of businesses that continue to thrive in the local area. Growth in business equals more jobs for people in our community and we welcome this. The big problem is that businesses around here have little or no parking space for their employees or customers. People do not see any other option but to park in one of the streets mentioned above. This is causing community tension and continued upset for the people residing in the places previously mentioned.
Residents have asked local Councillors to look at what options are available to solve the parking crisis. We have recently asked Staffordshire County Councils Highways Community Liaison Officer, David Greatbatch for advice on what can be done to solve the current problem at hand. David has advised that Resident Parking Zones (RPZ) could be a potential solution, but there are all sorts of pros and cons with this. These are as follows:
- Some residents may not wish to pay the initial fee which funds the signing and lining costs of the scheme nor would they support annual payments for the parking permit(s).
- To avoid displacement to nearby streets the RPZ would extend beyond Church Street and Wright Street and in some instances, because residents of these added streets do not have a problem with parking they would not support the RPZ. However it may not be considered appropriate to continue without these streets included since the displacement would no doubt result in a future request for the RPZ to be extended.
- Displacement beyond the RPZ may still occur if those who work at the local businesses do not use alternative means of transport and therefore whatever the limits of the RPZ they will park beyond it.
- The number of permits given to each property may not be sufficient where multiple car ownership is present – permits available are based on the available spaces which in many cases along terraced streets means that parking can only be permitted on one side since we are unable to condone parking partly on the footway, which may take place currently to enable parking on both sides. This possible reduced parking availability is another reason why residents may not support the RPZ. The reason why a zone is chosen, in addition to deal with displacement, is to try to increase the available space – if calculations indicate that there is simply not enough on street space to allow one space per property the RPZ may have to be shelved.
- Another issue some residents have is that a permit for parking within an RPZ does not guarantee they can park outside their property – it merely allows parking within the zone.
- Local businesses may be entitled to a number of permits, but these would be limited and should reduce the number of vehicles parked in the RPZ area.
- The RPZ process requires appropriate levels of resident support throughout and if this is not present the scheme will be shelved. It is also one which will be added to many that have been requested throughout the borough area and there are at least two zones which have previously been prioritised which will need to be completed before any others can be considered for progressing.
For more information about RPZ schemes the following link will be of assistance:
So as you can see from the above information, there is no quick fix to the parking problems in the local area, but we must find a solution and together we will. We also need a strategy for Congleton Road. Staffordshire County Council has still failed to recognise the need for a full traffic survey in Butt Lane and refuses to recognise the severity of congestion on the A34. People living on Congleton Road also need to be able to park their cars safely, but without land, investment and commitment from the County Council – nothing will happen anytime soon.
If you’re a Butt Lane resident and you would like to discuss Resident Parking Zones with your Councillors, contact:
County Councillor John Taylor 01782 786227 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle Robinson 07837905443 – email@example.com
Sylvia Dymond 07904569665 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Silvia Burgess 07906337215 – email@example.com
Councillors have voted to urge Staffordshire Fire Authority to change possible plans to close Kidsgrove Fire Station. Kidsgrove Fire Station was opened in September 2011, costing the taxpayer £2.2 Million. The people of Kidsgrove were led to believe that the station would serve the locality for at least 60 years.
The Fire Stations across the region were built with a £50 Million Private Finance Initiative. This could mean that even if the stations close, the taxpayer will still be paying for them for over 20 years. Selling the buildings on will not recoup the build cost.
Back in July 2012, Chief Fire Officer, Peter Dartford told the evening Sentinel: “The extent to which the fire station has been used already is a clear demonstration of how important it is to the community. The facility provides a range of new opportunities for us and the partners we work with to engage more with the local community, better understand their needs and work with them to resolve their issues.”
One of the options contained within the consultation include reducing the normal fire engine size to a smaller vehicle. The smaller vehicles are the size of a transit van. Fire officers have expressed their own personal concerns to me and other colleagues, that these smaller vehicles contain a quarter of the water needed to fight a fire similarly seen recently on Congleton Road at The Fisherman’s catch takeaway. This saw a terraced commercial property gutted by fire and it took almost 25 minutes for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to respond from Burslem Fire Station. It was suggested the Kidsgrove Station was unmanned on this day. It is felt by many that a minute added to response times will cost lives. Large loss of government income, is leading to a reduced level of prevention, protection and response and the impact will be major which includes loss of life or long term hospitalisation of innocent members of the public.
We only have to look over our borders to see what fire station closures can lead to. In South Wales, Fire and Rescue Service cuts have led to a situation of Fire crews not being able to assist with rope rescues or floods. Whilst in Dorset, a funding crisis and cutbacks of services has led to fire fighters working in their own time and response times dangerously increasing. These examples mirror what is to come to Staffordshire if people don’t stand against this and protect Kidsgrove’s emergency response capabilities.
The Town Council will inform Peter Dartford of the Council’s intention to fight the proposals. The closure of this facility should never have been an option in the consultation. Carving up Kidsgrove and sharing our Fire and Rescue Service with Cheshire and Alsager is ill thought out and the Town Council sees the detrimental impact this will have on response times. We firmly believe that the Kidsgrove Fire Station and the emergency response capabilities of the facility should remain at the same level. Although the council would be willing to look at the option of helping to set up a management committee to help run the community side of the station, reducing the burden on fire service staff.
Kidsgrove Town Councillor, Sarah Pickup said: “I don’t agree with the sentiment that because the fire service staff do such an excellent job that they should have their numbers cut. The County Council/Fire Authority is elected by us, it is our fire service and we should be able to decide the future and say no to closure. Kidsgrove is expanding and we are soon to have a new transport interchange that brings with it potential tragic incidents. We need a fire station that is manned in Kidsgrove and we will not accept decisions from Stafford and London.”
Kidsgrove Deputy Mayor, Sylvia Dymond said: “The Butt Lane area is being developed so much more and the infrastructure is not there to support it. Now they suggest taking away the Fire Station. This is really not acceptable.”
Councillors have launched a new Locality Action Partnership campaign to tackle dog fouling in the Butt Lane and Clough Hall area. Dog mess is an eyesore and a health hazard and your Councillors are taking tough action.
Town Councillor Sylvia Dymond said: “I am a dog owner and I always pick up after my pets. The problem of dog fouling has increased dramatically in recent years, but it is now time for some action. I am throwing all my support behind this local campaign, ‘Don’t be mucky, clean it up ducky’. We have posters and stickers available to deter people from allowing their pets to foul outside your home or on the pavements in the area. Please contact us for more information.”
Kyle said: “Since becoming Chair of Public Protection I have pushed for more enforcement on those that refuse to pick up after their dogs. It is a crime and I urge the public to report the culprits to Newcastle Borough Council on 01782 717717. We have a hard line approach on this matter at the Council and we regularly prosecute offenders. Some fines have reached up to £1000. It is important to recognise that the majority of dog owners are sensible and do the right thing.”