Political knockabout aside, I've spent quite a bit of time today putting the finishing touches to the Council's imminent review of the town's Residents' Parking areas.
Residents' Parking has been a great success since Labour began the programme back in 1992. Commuter and shoppers' parking used to blight local people's lives, making parking impossible sometimes even in their own streets. The scheme now covers most of the roads around the town centre, with another zone planned in the Southend Avenue/Polam Road area, together with a zone around the new College in Haughton Road and Borough Road.
Residents and councillors responsible for the existing schemes have pointed out, however, that some fine tuning is urgently needed. Zones designed ten years ago need updating. Is the balance right between residents' and commuter/shopper parking, for example? What about provision for visitors?
We're also exploring whether the Council should abolish the annual fee for passes (currently £25). No-one likes paying for passes, although if made free, it could lead to many more passes being issued. which could have an impact on the number of spaces available during the day.
To seek people's views, questionaires are being distributed to people living in existing areas. It's another example of the Labour Council listening to what people have to say about the issues affecting their own lives, and then making the necessary changes. Questionaires have to be back by 27 October 2006. I'll post updates regarding progress with the review.