The purpose of the report by the Director of Regeneration is to consider creating designated bays for electric vehicle charging points, and options for personalisation of disabled bays.
RECOMMENDED that the Cabinet Member for Traffic & Transportation:
(1) approves the continued installation of disabled parking bays in residential areas for use by all blue badge holders but that the Council's policy of refusing to designate use by any one particular blue badge holder or class of blue badge holder be reaffirmed;
(2) approves the introduction of traffic regulation orders to create enforceable designated bays for charging electric vehicles;
(3) delegates authority to the Director of Regeneration to develop and implement a viable solution for the implementation of EV charging.
Pam Turton, Assistant Director, presented the report on behalf of the Director of Regeneration.
Mr D Brown had submitted a written representation to Councillor Bosher as the Cabinet Member for Traffic & Transportation and was given the opportunity to make a deputation as he was present, but he chose not to speak as his points were covered in his written submission (email) which had set out Mr Brown's concerns as the space he used was not respected by Gunwharf shoppers.
Councillor Bosher was aware that it was legally possible to designate a blue badge parking bay for the specific use of an individual blue-badge holder, but was concerned what the implications would be city-wide if this precedent was set. He had received Mr Brown's communication and extract from the letter from the Department of Transport to Flick Drummond (from December 2016 when she was a MP). Pam Turton confirmed that there were 1800 disabled parking bays, and if these became specific and limited to individual users this would limit the opportunities for other disabled drivers to use them. While applicants for disabled bays are asked to make a one-off contribution (£51) to the total costs of implementation, the applications process is clear that the provision of a bay does not provide for exclusive personal use.
Questions were asked by members to Pam Turton, Assistant Director, and Denise Bastow, Parking Office Manager, which included:
· The number of disabled bays implemented per year?
- Usually between 200-300 are implemented, with equivalent numbers usually removed
· Whether particular areas could be designated, such as near to Gunwharf where drivers may be avoiding parking fees?
- Blue badge holders are entitled to use pay and display facilities without cost
* How contraventions of parking in disabled parking bays were dealt with - it was explained that any blue badge holder can park in a disabled bay and applicants are clearly advised of this at the application stage and only a vehicle that was not displaying a valid blue badge would be enforced against by means of the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice. The contribution made by the applicant goes towards the cost of installation and maintenance of the disabled bay.
Eligibility is determined by the applicant having a blue badge, a vehicle registered to someone at the address and not having usable off road parking, and bays are allocated as close as possible to the applicant's property
· Could extra disabled bays be put in roads? There is no limit to the number of disabled bays that can be implemented within a residential street, however, it was considered that adding in an additional bay over above those requested could negatively impact on the parking pressures in residential streets.
Discussion then took place with regard the electric vehicle (EV) charging points element of the report, and questions were raised including:
· How these bays would work?
- The Bays would be protected by Traffic Regulation Order, meaning that only Electric Vehicles being charged would be entitled to park.
- Those vehicles parked in contravention of the above would be subject to a higher level fine (£70).
· Would the EV chargers be prone to vandalism?
- The tender process would allow for different options and designs to be considered for the provision of a robust product and these would comply with relevant safety standards
· Would there be clear signage to encourage use?
- It was reported that visitors to the city were likely to use Apps to find the EV charge points (which included those in off street car parks). There would be an awareness raising campaign, and the bays would be clearly marked.
When coming to his decisions, Councillor Bosher wished to approve the officer's recommendations, which included keeping the existing policy regarding disabled parking bays. This was due to the high number of bays in the city and associated cost implication if the policy changed. Councillor Bosher was mindful that Mr Brown's situation was different to most due to location, and he therefore suggested that a meeting be held with him to see if a solution could be found.
The Cabinet Member for Traffic & Transportation:
(1) approved the continued installation of disabled parking bays in residential areas for use by all blue badge holders but that the Council's policy of refusing to designate use by any one particular blue badge holder or class of blue badge holder be reaffirmed;
(2) approved the introduction of Traffic Regulation Orders to create enforceable designated bays for charging electric vehicles;
(3) delegated authority to the Director of Regeneration to develop and implement a viable solution for the implementation of EV charging.