Lots of residents have been commenting recently about the long line of cars parked up Centre Road. These cars and other vehicles have been creeping up the road, and appear to have been displaced when the Residents’ Parking Zone (affectionately known as an RPZ) was created in Forest Gate North.
I’ve responded to a few threads on Facebook and some messages on twitter, but I thought it would be handy to write a blog post and put all the relevant information we have right now here in one blog post for easy reading.
Centre Road is not in Newham, it’s part of the London Borough of Redbridge (although Wanstead Flats, which it runs through, is managed by the Corporation of London). The long line of cars appear to be a combination of business vehicles, some abandoned vehicles, and other cars where the provenance is entirely unclear. Wherever they are from, it’s clearly a problem, making it unsafe for pedestrians to cross the road, making it unsafe for cyclists to use the road, and providing a line of cover that seems to be masking some crime and ASB, meaning that there is now more fly tipping on Centre Road and a trail of broken glass where the unobserved cars are being broken into.
So what are we doing about it? Well, when the RPZ was being designed for Forest Gate North, officers at Newham informed both Redbridge and Waltham Forest, so that they could consider any action they needed to take as a result. I’ve been in regular touch with a councillor from the Redbridge side, and also with an officer there. Sadly I have to confess this hasn’t had much result yet – I asked for double yellow lines on both sides of the road, was told this idea would be fed into their ongoing plans, then I asked to be kept informed if any parking restrictions were planned. But I only found out that lines were going in on just one side when I drove past the work being undertaken!
My councillor contact from Redbridge, Cllr Paul Merry, has met with the cabinet member from Redbridge with responsibility for parking to ask what can be done here, and I’m currently expecting an update from him. I’ve also been in touch with the Corporation of London, because the line of parked vehicles is so detrimental to everyone’s enjoyment of the green spaces of Wanstead Flats, and have asked if they want to join us in asking Redbridge for some action. It’s pretty clear to me, and to many residents, that what we really need is double yellow lines on both sides of the road, as this is a road that was never designed for cars to be parked along it.
Seyi has also suggested we facilitate a joint meeting between concerned Forest Gate North residents, and representatives from Redbridge, which is a great idea. I worry a little that whilst some of the inaction we’ve experienced is due to the fact that planning parking restrictions takes time and needs careful planning (if you’re one of the residents who sent me petitions and emails asking for an RPZ then you’ll know it took a couple of years to get to a place where we could move forwards) that might not be the whole story. I know of course myself that all kinds of things councillors wanted to get done have been delayed by us all putting time and effort into the election… but I’m also perhaps cynically a bit concerned that Centre Road is not flanked by Redbridge residents, and might therefore not be very high on anyone’s priority list. So if we need noise to be made to Redbridge about the impact of the cars there, it’ll have to be us who make it.
So our next steps are:
– to chase up the Corporation of London to check if they are on board
– to find out the results of the meeting Cllr Merry had with his colleague responsible for parking
– Seyi and I arrange to meet with him or her to share our concerns, including a walk down Centre Road to look at the cars, lack of space for cycling, broken glass and fly tipping
– depending on how that goes, we organise a joint meeting for residents to put their views.
I’m sorry not to have anything more concrete for you, but as ever, we’ll keep you posted.