What do Hackney cyclists think about the CPZ?

The following is an edited transcript of pertinent Hackney-lcc email on the proposed Stoke Newington Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). It is vital we show council members support for the principle of paying to park a motor vehicle on the street.

Original contributions by: Crispin Truman, Jessica Crowe, Douglas Carnall

On Wed April 22 1999 Crispin Truman <cmltruman@freeuk.com> wrote:  

I thought I'd mention that there is a body of opinion in Stoke Newington in favour of Controlled Parking Zones, particularly in the roads off Stoke Newington High St, and SN Road.   I was concerned to see from the Rectory Ward newsletter that the vociferous anti-CPZ campaign had convinced you that they represented majority opinion in the area. Heavy parking along both sides of the road endangers cyclists and pedestrians more than that group are prepared to admit.   In case you didn't see them on the Hackney LCC mailing, here are some arguments for a CPZ:   Government projections are for rapid increases in the number of households owning and using cars in the next decade Only one third of Hackney households currently own a car: every year that's going up, and they're all going to want to park them outside your house All traffic planners and researchers know that the most effective tool for reducing traffic is controlled parking. This is a real opportunity for us to improve conditions on local streets, and it's probably the most painless way of going about it. If we don't support the Council now, measures including road closures will be introduced in future years as the situation worsens.   If you don't support these moderate measures what are you prepared to do to help reduce traffic and improve the environment in the Borough?  

• Uncontrolled parking is dangerous - remember your Green Cross Code? Try crossing the road where there aren't any parked cars in Stoke Newington nowadays.

• Uncontrolled parking blocks the streets causing confrontations between drivers, it obstructs deliveries (my milkman can't even stop outside my house some mornings because of the solid rows of cars)

• it endangers lives by blocking emergency vehicles

• It's a mess - all the streets leading off the High St are like junk yards, and many of the cars parked there don't belong to residents.

• Lack of controls on parking attract traffic into the area with it's attendant problems of congestion and pollution

• And it's bad for business.

Experience in areas where traffic is reduced is that more people want to spend time there, shopping and spending money. Look at Upper Street - or Covent Garden.   Hackney Agenda 21 & LCC surveyed shoppers in Church Street in 1996 and found that of 192 people over half had arrived on foot, a quarter on the bus and only 13% used their cars. 75% of the people spending money in Church St shops had travelled less than a mile to get there. 87% said they'd be happy to see more restrictions on cars if it made the area more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists.

On Thu 22 Apr 1999 Jessica Crowe <jcrowe@hackney.gov.uk> replied

thanks for this useful information. I do understand why CPZs can be a good thing and personally I would support more controls on parking in a lot of Stoke Newington streets. But then I am a cyclist and pedestrain, and not a car owner or driver!

What I understand from a preliminary analysis of the responses so far to the consultation is that the majority of them are in fact opposed to the CPZ as it stands. This was the situation my Rectory ward report was based on. So if there are more that you know of who are in favour, they haven't yet responded to the consultation and ought to do so PDQ (I'm not sure if it's too late or not - will check).

It remains my view that a CPZ opposed by a majority of residents as evidenced from a consultation (a) would not work in practice and would be difficult to enforce and (b) could leave us open to legal challenge as I understand happened in Camden when they ignored consultation responses and went ahead anyway. I think much will depend on the final results of the consultation, eg how close the results are, and the legal advice we get at Committee.

My own view at present, and I haven't seen the final officer report yet (probably coming to the June SNNC) is that if a majority of residents are opposed we will have to look again at the areas where it is popular (and perhaps include other areas eg around Rectory Rd BR which wasn't included in this zone) and redraw the zone(s) accordingly.

On Fri 23 April 1999 Douglas Carnall <douglas@carnall.demon.co.uk> wrote:

You left one important argument off your excellent exposition on CPZs: car owning residents can use their cars more easily after a CPZ is installed. My mate Davie lived just off Upper Street and owned two [motor] vehicles, which he found impossible to use between 7am and 7pm because if he did he knew he'd come back and find no parking space.

Now that permits are matched to spaces he can use his car. Not a very right on argument, but one that might be persuasive in the most crowded streets, and importantly, among the car owning people who are perhaps not our natural ideological allies (!)

I agree with Jessica, that you cannot run roughshod over public opinion, sorely misguided though it is. Her suggestion that we should repeat the survey is a constructive one. Maybe we could have in element within it that is door-to-door and asks car owners "Have you ever had difficulty parking your car locally?" If the data suggest that they have, then this would then be a positive argument for CPZs for car drivers too.

Toot toot!

On Sun 25 April 1999 Crispin Truman <cmltruman@freeuk.com> wrote:

Whoever said anything about riding roughshod over public opinion Douglas? No-one's suggesting that public opinion be ignored (though what do you do about the majority in favour of capital punishment? fortunately we live in a representative democracy, not government by referendum), - but it certainly needs to be informed.

The problem is that this anti-CPZ response is based on misinformation. As you point out, if people understood all the implications even car owners would see how it benefited them. Those opposed argue:

• that it's just a money-making exercise for the Council - I believe the £40 a year will in fact only just pay for the implementation of the scheme

• that there isn't a problem with car parking around Stoke Newington - true only for those who think the roads are there just to park and drive cars along

• that CPZ's don't give priority to residents because there are more permits than spaces - this is clearly illogical, CPZ's mean precisely that residents have priority over others by virtue of their having a permit.

One protester at the "public meeting" questioned why people who don't own cars had been included in the consultation - to much applause. Many people there really believed that you don't have a right to use the public roads unless you pay "road tax". The consultation has been badly handled, with very little information being given to residents and the anti-CPZ lobby just ignoring the answers to their points. Is it not dangerous to base Council policy on populist views in this way?

On Thu 29 April 1999 Douglas Carnall <douglas@carnall.demon.co.uk> wrote:

As you say we live in a representative democracy, and our representative has signalled her anxiety. All your arguments are correct, and I support you as ever, but we have a selling job to do on the antis, sorely misguided as they presently are.

On Wed 12 May 1999 Crispin Truman <cmltruman@freeuk.com> wrote:


Keep your pecker up gang, seems the anti-controlled parking brigade weren't all right. A street-by-street breakdown of the response to the Stoke Newington CPZ consultation revealed by Paul Douglas (of Council Transport & planning Dept. fame) at a second public meeting last night, shows that over 50% of the residents of most streets in the Stoke Newington ladder and in the southern half of the zone voted in favour of controlling parking.

The well-attended public meeting (held in St Mathias Church Hall, Wordsworth Rd) overwhelmingly supported the CPZ in our half of Stokey and reinforced their message with a unanimous show of hands in favour of local road closures as well.[Shouldn't that be opening of roads to cyclists, pedestrians, the elderly, kids who want to play, cats, musicians and other priority groups?--Ed.] Residents wanted to know when the Council was going to stop consulting and start acting. 

Paul Douglas told us that the Officers' report on the consultation would go to Stoke Newington Neighbourhood Cttee on 1st June (PUT THAT IN YOUR DIARIES!) with the recommendation that Councillors go to second stage consultation at least in the southern half of the zone.

With thanks to the burgeoning Belgrade Road Action Group and friends


There you have it: sound argument, but we have to get out message over at the meeting: the more people that can attend and speak, the more likely it is to go our way. We believe that it is the principle that is important, and a possible compromise would be to install a CPZ south of Stokie Church Street. This would have the support of the majority of residents in that area, and in two years time the Northerners will be begging for their own. :-)

Those meeting details again:

Tuesday 1st June 1999

7.00pm: planning business

8.00pm: CPZ

Contact the secretary, Brian Bell on 0181 356 3302 for further details

Place: Stoke Newington Library Hall, Edward's Lane, off Stoke Newington Church Street, N16

Edited by

Douglas Carnall

30 May 1999