The first meeting of the new Advisory Group – which the Council is calling a 'focus group' – took place on Thursday, 19th October.
Around 30 people from Zone J/JJ had been invited, representing residents, places of worship and businesses.
It was very much an exploratory meeting, from which little emerged, as might be expected from a first meeting.
While two or three residents expressed support for the scheme introduced last December, most of those invited stressed the harm it had caused.
There seemed some agreement, however, that going back to the pre-December 2016 situation, was not a true option. David Mills, who initiated the legal action which forced the Council to hold a new consultation, said parking stress figures for June 2016, which the Council had just released, made it clear that there could be no going back.
"There is a problem", he said, "which has to be dealt with. It is just that there are far better ways of doing so, than the scheme we have at the moment."
The Council has announced it is setting up a working group – made up of representatives from residents, businesses and places of worship – to help draw up the options it will offer in the new Zone J consultation.
The Council says: ‘we’ll use all the feedback we get from this working group, to guide a wider public consultation we’ll hold later this year’.
“It’s a very good opportunity”, says the Campaign’s Chair, Robbin Pierce, “to show that local people can work together and come up with effective and sensible proposals for helping those who have parking problems, without causing all the enormous harm that the present scheme, introduced has caused.
The working group is expected to consist of around 15-20 representatives from Zone J and Zone JJ. The first meeting will be at the Town Hall in early October.
The business community in Zone J has come together, in a remarkable way, to try to improve parking provision for both residents and local businesses.
The new Zone J Business Group has now completed a canvas of local businesses. Around 50 have signed up as members of the Group. In doing so all have expressed, in writing, their formal support for the provision of ‘resident only’ bays to protect residents with cars, alongside ‘shared bays’ with much shorter hours, to help everyone else.
The Group’s coordinator, Umar Khawaja (a Zone JJ resident himself) says this is the obvious way forward.
“Such a scheme”, he says, “would protect those residents who have benefitted from the present scheme, while at the same time removing the harm it has caused. Everybody would benefit.”
The Business Group is also discussing whether it should also ask for some short stay, inexpensive ‘pay-to- park-bays’ on or near to the Uxbridge Road.
“This could take away some of the parking in resident streets”, says Umar, “while helping businesses too. It is certainly something worth discussing.
“I am convinced”, he adds, “that if residents and local business work together, we can come up with something that will be better for everybody, than what we have at the moment”.
On 5.4.17 the Zone J Parking Campaign won an important first step in its efforts to get better parking.
A Judge in the High Court approved our application for a Judicial Review of Hammersmith and Fulham Council's decision to impose its controversial new parking scheme.
"This is marvellous news", said David Mills, who initiated the legal challenge. "We believe the Council's decision – which is causing so much distress in our community – was clearly unlawful."
In approving the application for a Judicial Review, Judge Andrew Grubb said all the arguments used by the Campaign's legal team, in seeking the review, were valid.
His decision supported the view of our own legal advisors, that we had a strong legal case.
The full text of the Judge's decision can be found under the 'our Legal Challenge' section of the website.
In a major climb down, Hammersmith and Fulham has now settled our legal challenge to its new parking scheme. It has agreed to pay our costs and to re-consult with residents.
This is only the first battle though. The new consultation may still not offer what we want and the confusion this would cause might be used by the Council to justify keeping the present scheme or one like it.
We are hopeful that this will not be the case. The Council has agreed to a residents group to advise it on the consultation and although we do not yet know what this means, if it is to help the Council decide on the options to be offered, it will be a big step forward.
We will keep you updated.
Now they have won a new consultation, the Zone J Parking Campaign is increasing pressure on the Council to offer an option in the consultation, which elsewhere, appears to work well in areas like ours.