Proposed Parking - South Parade West Kirby

Ben Prangell made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

I write with regard to the proposed parking plans, south parade, West Kirby.

Please provide to me:

Please disclose all meeting notes and consultations that have led to the council proposing the parking as 'fair and sustainable'. Please provide meeting notes the plans were proposed in. Please provide meeting notes that led to the statement of reasons being drafted for release.

Please provide your research and findings that allow the council to make the statement that this is a fair proposal, and what ‘fair’ is defined as in this context. Please provide with reference to external consultants used, research undertaken, and objective studies.

Reference is made to other ‘council provided care parks in other communities’. Please provide details of those which you use for comparison. Please provide any impact assessments (or confirmation none have been undertaken). Please provide evidence where other communities and follow ups with those have been considered, along with the council's evidence of considering differences between the proposed location (south parade) and the comparison community. Please demonstrate how the Council has taken its findings and modelled the affect of paid parking on West Kirby. Please disclose the reports that support the statements made by the council regarding other communities.

Please provide studies undertaken of the seasonal impact of residential parking displacement and, having considered these studies, how these findings support the proposed parking scheme (at all, or at least without implementing a residential parking scheme in tandem). Alternatively, please confirm none have been undertaken.

Please provide evidence that the council has considered a similar scheme that has been introduced in coastal towns (using data available on a country wide basis, and not just Wirral) and the impact on local business and residents. Alternatively, please confirm no research such as this has been undertaken.

Please disclose who has been consulted on the environmental impact of the parking proposals and their findings.

Please disclose the Council’s research into the impact on local commerce (and who undertook this research and the process for undertaking the same).

Please disclose to me the written internal proposals first made regarding the paid parking. Please disclose who first made these proposals. Please disclose minutes of meeting at which these proposals have been discussed. Please disclose the intented recipient and allocation of increased funds that would be raised by the proposed parking.

Please disclose Council expenditure incurred regarding the parking proposals (including third party external consultants).

Please disclose what efforts the council has made (i.e. specific plans and consultations) with local residents and businesses.

Please regard this not only as a response to the consultation, but as a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (2000). It also falls within the remit of the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) with regard to the impact of the proposals on the environment. I ask for all information available and not just a summary.

Yours faithfully,

Ben Prangell

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Prangell

 

We write further to your request for information of 4 June 2018 in
relation to the proposed parking plans on South Parade, West Kirby.  Your
request has been dealt with under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (EIR) in that as the information requested is considered
to be ‘environmental information’ under Regulation 2(1) (c) of the EIR
Regulations 2004 (EIR 2004) which provides that information on planes,
activities, measures etc. affecting or likely to affect the elements of
the environment will be environmental information.

 

Please see below the Council’s response to your enquiry.

 

The proposals for car parking charges at coastal locations came about
through the Councils budget process. In terms of the recent introduction
of parking charges at Country Park locations a consistent approach to car
parking has been taken in proposing the locations and scale of charges for
these coastal locations.

 

At the Business Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Budget Workshop - 15th
January 2018 and Council meeting on 5th March 2018, see the following
links for info,
([1]http://s03vs-intrcm.core.wcent.wirral.go...)
([2]http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDoc...)
a number of projects were approved that will help to generate income and
contribute to addressing the significant challenge of a £61M gap in our
funding for the coming year 2018/19.  One of these projects is to
introduce charges at a number of coastal locations around the borough and
any funding raised will be used to offset the cost of providing these
related services.  In this regard we can reassure you that the Council is
fully aware of the legislative context of these proposals and the
importance of these charges not becoming a form of general local taxation.

 

The Council undertook extensive consultation as part of the process. In
terms of this process, the statutory advertisement/ consultation for the
Traffic Regulation Order was undertaken in May/June 2018 and included
notices on site, in the press, in One Stop Shops and Community Centres,
there was an on-line survey, public meetings and meetings with potentially
affected groups such as the RNLI, sailing clubs. All Councillors / MP’s
and constituency managers were informed directly on the proposals.

 

No studies on seasonal impact of residential parking displacement have
been undertaken. However, the consultation stage allows the Council to
capture any detailed traffic management issues/implications and develop
any options for mitigation such as permit schemes or accompanying traffic
restrictions.

 

Income raised from charges for the use of car parks (Derby Pool and The
Gunn Site) will be used to defray the cost of ensuring the safe use of
infrastructure in or serving the car park e.g. maintenance of access
roads, footpaths, railings, speed bumps, signs etc. as well as
resurfacing and maintaining the car park itself and the Council’s
administrative costs in introducing and collecting the charges and
maintaining the infrastructure.

 

Any surplus income raised from charges on street (West Kirby, Hoylake, New
Brighton) will be used on expenditure on highway maintenance.

 

Existing staffing resources have been used on the proposals; there has
been no additional expenditure at present.

 

With regards to internal communications, we must advise that by virtue of
Regulation 12 (4) (e) of the EIRs the Council is not obliged to disclose
any internal communications regarding this matter.  The Information
Commissioner’s Office has stated that the concept of a communication is
broad and will encompass any information someone intends to communicate to
others. It will therefore include not only letters and emails but also
notes of meetings. 

Regulation 12 (4) (e) is subject to the public interest test which means
that any decision to withhold the information must be considered against
the public interest factors that would support disclosure of the
information.

 

Disclosure could contribute to public understanding of the issues and
allow public debate; it would also provide openness and transparency in
the decision making processes and allow scrutiny of actions/advice of
public officials in the matter. These factors, however, have to be
balanced against the strong public interest in ensuring there is an
appropriate degree of safe space in which officials are able to gather and
assess information, free from distraction that such information will be
made public. Such safe space, it is widely accepted, is needed where it is
appropriate in order to safeguard the effectiveness of the decision making
process.  

 

You have the right under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
to ask for an internal review of the Council’s handling of your enquiry. 
Please direct any request for an internal review to
[3][Wirral Borough Council request email]  and your request will be allocated to
an independent officer for review. 

 

You also have the right to complain to the information Commissioner if you
are dissatisfied with the outcome of any internal review, who can be
contacted at [4]https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Business Management - Digital

 

Treasury Building

Argyle Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH

 

[5]Tel: 0151 691 8201

[6][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

[7]LGC Awards15_Winner_MIP

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://s03vs-intrcm.core.wcent.wirral.go...
2. http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDoc...
3. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]
4. https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/
5. file:///tmp/tel:0151
6. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]

Gadawodd NJT Lauro anodiad ()

The two links provided don't seem to be working properly as it would be useful to see the minutes of the meetings.

The response suggests that Wirral Council are pusrsuing a policy of issuing Traffic Orders to increase the surplus in their parking account, which currently has been making in excess of £1000,000 surplus for the past 4 financial years.

Whilst there is an acknowledgement about the limited uses of surplus monies in a Local Authority parking account, the use of Road Traffic legislation to roll out further parking enforcement knowing tariffs will be set to not only cover the costs of maintaining the parking enforcement, but also to increase surplus in an already healthy parking account, is skating on thin ice. This surely must be questioned by the WBC Auditors?

Gadawodd Ben Prangell anodiad ()

Agreed.

Also it would seem to suggest that there has not been adequate regard for residents and a failure to fulfil or demonstrate the council’s requirements under s122 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

When exercising any function under the RTRA the local authority (the Council in this instance) must consider the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of traffic and other traffic (including pedestrians) and the provision of suitable and adequate parking facilities on and off the highway.
This requires the Council to weigh up several factors when making a decision to proceed with a proposal. These include, if applicable:
The desirability of securing and maintaining reasonable access to premises;
The effect on the amenities of any locality affected and (without prejudice to the generality of this paragraph) the importance of regulating and restricting roads by HGVs so as to preserve or improve the amenities of the area through which the road runs;
The national air strategy (section 80 of the Environment Act 1995);
The importance of facilitating the passage of public service vehicles and of securing the safety and convenience of persons using or desiring to use such vehicles;
Any other matters appearing to the Council to be relevant.
The Statement of Reasons provided (and indeed any documentation made available for the consultation), falls far short of demonstrating the Council fulfilling its duties, above.

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Many thanks for your detailed and considered response.

Could you please check the links you sent to me with regards to the Budget Workshop - 15th
January 2018 and Council meeting on 5th March 2018? The links don't seem to resolve anywhere once clicked.

With regards to the request for information about studies of comparative towns, modelling, other communities etc - Can I assume from there being no reference in your response that none have been undertaken?

I am happy to see the Council is fully aware of the legislative context of the proposals, and I look forward to seeing information that supports this is due course. Thank you for confirming that the surplus will just be used for highway maintenance.

One thing I am confused about, and I hope you can provide information to clarify, is that the income account (from parking) is already in surplus (by quite a way). Can you please disclose what the forecast shortfall is (for maintaining highways) that requires a significant influx of income into this account, above and beyond the surplus that is already unused/generated year on year? Perhaps the links you sent that don't work will clarify this and the reasons for the proposals being made in the first instance. Please can you provide forecast figures of (a) the council's administrative costs and (b) maintenance costs for these new schemes, along with anticipated extra 'surplus'.

Regarding disclosure of specific internal correspondence and minutes (I asked for this in relation to the proposals) you refer to the public interest test - reg 12(4) (e); I appreciate safe space, but in this regard - and in the absence of a clear 'Statement of Grounds' for the proposals - is it not in the public's interests to properly understand the basis and motivations for the proposals made (which is somewhat impossible with the lacking information made available)? Perhaps my concerns will be put at ease when I understand the points above regarding highway maintenance costs, surplus accounts and the need for additional surplus, along with links that work.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Prangell

Gadawodd NJT Lauro anodiad ()

I think we are reading from the same book here! Unfortunately, I feel the people of Wirral Will only be able to challenge via Judicial Review, which would be very costly.

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Prangell

We write further to your email of 28 June 2018 below.

As you may be aware, the Leader of the Council has considered the weight of public opinion on this matter and a decision has been reached to withdraw the proposed charging plan. Please see the following link for more information: http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/163283...

In light of this decision, we are unsure as to whether you still require a response to your correspondence. Kindly advise by return whether that is the case or whether we can now close our file in this matter.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Lynette Paterson
Principal Information Management Officer
Business Management

Treasury Building
Argyle Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH

Tel: 0151 691 8201
[Wirral Borough Council request email]

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may involve licensing and the application of a charge

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Many thanks for your reply. I was aware of the withdrawal of plans.

For now, I confirm my requests for information do not require to be fulfilled further.

Thank you for your assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Prangell