The third meeting of the Advisory Group took place on Monday 26th March and was much more encouraging than the previous two meetings.
As before, around 20 people from Zone J/JJ, representing residents, places of worship and businesses attended.
The Council began by presenting three options they were prepared to offer in the coming consultation which, because of the coming local elections, can now not be held until the Autumn.
Encouragingly, the Council seemed much more willing to listen to members of the Advisory Group and in the light of their comments, quickly agreed to amend the proposals.
Option 1 was simplified and became, instead, a simple extension of the current control hours in Zone JJ (9.0 am to 9.0 pm seven days a week) to Zone J, as some on the Advisory Group had requested.
Option 2 was dropped altogether, after it was pointed out that nobody had requested such a scheme, and few would want it, given that it would reduce the number of parking bays available to residents.
Option 3 – which thus becomes Option 2 – was further improved.
It was agreed that the priority should be to ensure enough ‘permit-only’ bays were provided to allow all residents to park relatively easily. Cllr Wesley Harcourt, who was chairing the meeting, suggested the ‘permit-only’ should be protected, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. He also agreed that residents’ visitors, displaying smart cards (or using whatever system replaces it), would be able to park in the ‘permit-only’ bays.
There was no discussion of the hours the adjacent shared bays should have – which would be the only hours residents’ visitors and others would have to pay to park in the newly reunified Zone J – but those on he Advisory Group calling for this new Option 2, repeatedly referred to them as having the existing Zone J hours, that is, 9.0 am to 5.0 pm, five days a week. This would mean the ‘shared-bays’ throughout Zone J would return to providing free evening and weekend parking, helping residents, local businesses and places of worship.
At the same time, residents with cars would have much more effective protection than at present. No one else – other than their visitors – would be able to park in the bays reserved for them. This means they would enjoy easy parking, even on match days.
As Umar Khawaja, a local resident and leader of the Zone J Business Group, told the meeting: “this gives us the best of both worlds. It provides even more effective helps for those who have benefitted from the new extended hours in Zone JJ, while removing all the harm and distress this has caused others. It is the obvious solution.”
The second meeting of the Advisory – or Focus Group as the Council is calling it – took place on Tuesday 12th December.
Around 20 people from Zone J/JJ, representing residents, places of worship and businesses attended.
It was not an encouraging meeting.
The Council began by presenting three options it said it would be prepared to offer in the coming consultation.
None dealt with the fundamental issue that the Council imposed the current control hours – just about the longest in central London – even though in the last consultation, a clear majority (58.6%) voted against them.
Instead, two of the three options would actually have extended these hours to Zone J as well (in one option, with additional exclusive pay to park bays and in the other, without). The third of the Council’s option would have maintain the split between Zone J and Zone JJ - which has caused damaging displacement of parking and made parking in Zone J much more difficult.
All three options presented by the Council would result in more revenue being generated from parking in our area.
Local resident David Mills – who successfully challenged the legality of the Council’s current scheme – made it clear the proposals were unacceptable.
The option many residents support – permit only bays with Zone JJ hours and shared bays with Zone J hours - was included as ‘Option 4’ but Cllr Wesley Harcourt, who chaired the meeting, said it was not an option the Council intended offering.
David Mills made it clear that any refusal to offer ‘Option 4’ would also be unacceptable.
“While providing effective protection for residents with parking problems”, he said, “it would do so without harming everybody else. It must be included in the coming consultation.”
Robbin Pierce, chair of the Zone J Parking Campaign said it would be undemocratic if the option was not included.
A vote was taken which showed 11 of those at the meeting felt Option 4 should be included in the coming consultation, with only five opposing this.
Since the meeting, In a subsequent email, Wesley Harcourt, the councillor responsible for parking, has raised the possibility of the ‘fourth option’ being included after all.
So some progress was made, but there is still a long way to go.
Click here for a detailed description of ‘Option 4’. The Zone J Parking Campaign believes it would effectively remove the parking problems some residents have suffered, while minimising harm to everyone else. But let us know what you think.
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.
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.
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.