Local Vicar Speaks Out Over Grove Park CPZ

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As tension in the community mounts over the possibility of extending controlled parking in Grove Park, a local vicar has called on people to be "good neighbours" and to try to find the best solution for everyone.

The Rev Martine Oborne, who is vicar of St Michael's Church in Elmwood Road, believes that the best solution might be a two hour CPZ for the whole (or most) of Grove Park. She comments:

"It’s a sad and strange thing that there should be so much conflict in Grove Park about the possibility of extending the CPZ. After all, we like to think of ourselves as good neighbours. We are not the sort who only care about ourselves. So why so much conflict? Why is it so difficult to see things from the perspective of the street round the corner – whichever side of the debate we are on?

"It’s especially puzzling when we all really want the same things:to have streets that are safe, especially for our children,to be able to park our cars nearish to our homes, and not to have our streets jam packed with the cars of people who park here and then walk up to their workplaces north of the A4 or take public transport into town or fly off on holidays for a couple of weeks.

"People in the congested streets understandably feel blighted and frustrated. But we also need to see the very real concerns of those in the streets outside the proposed new CPZ - who will almost certainly suffer ‘displacement’ so that their streets then become overcrowded.

"People who live in streets that are not currently overcrowded understandably feel worried they will become so. But they need to see that those in the overcrowded streets are currently suffering this problem and feeling blighted by it.

"I’m no expert on this subject but I believe it would be a wonderful thing if we could all take a deep breath and seek a solution for the whole of Grove Park. Given the CPZs that currently exist – both north of the A4 and in a small part of Grove Park – it would seem to me that the most generous thing to do would be to agree a two hour CPZ for the whole (or most) of Grove Park.

"I admit I’m a newcomer to Grove Park, having not quite lived here for three years. But one of the things I’ve been struck by is the friendliness of this community. So let’s not get into a fight by considering only our own interests. Let’s be good neighbours. Let’s listen to each other – with respect and genuine concern – and let’s find the best solution for everyone."

The map of a potentially expanded scheme can be seen on the LBH website here and in the image above, and includes Elmwood Road, Chesterfield Road (linking up with Park Road to the east), Eastbourne and Milnthorpe Roads, with the A4 bordering to the north. You can read the consultation questions here

Andy Murray Vice-Chair of the Grove Park Group (GPG) has called for the LBH consultation to be cancelled pending a review of the Park / Staveley CPZ, as well as reports requested by the local councillors at the Chiswick Area Forum meeting last July, on the financial viability of the existing CPZ scheme, the Chiswick House and Gardens Car Park Scheme, and the Micro CPZ scheme at the shops at the bottom of Park Road. This should be done so that a "calm, considered overview" of the parking situation in Grove Park can be undertaken. 

"It is deplorable that the Council’s Traffic Dept., knowing how complicated and sensitive this issue is, shoud have rushed out another consultation with no notice", he said.

Dan Murphy of the Grove Park Group said that the effect of a 7-road extension would have an "instantly dramatic effect" on the rest of Grove Park, especially north of the railway, around Fauconberg Village.

"Those streets will immediately be inundated by an enormous number of displaced cars. But is LBH asking residents in those roads what they think of the plan? No they are not. In fact, residents in those roads are not even being told that the extension is being proposed. LBH are quietly pushing this CPZ out from Park and Staveley, and avoiding any real public debate or consultation.

"This issue of CPZ affects the WHOLE of Grove Park, not just the individual roads where it is implemented. Therefore the whole of Grove Park should be consulted, but LBH is refusing to do this. They knew that if they asked everyone, they would find again that the overwhelming majority of residents are firmly against CPZ and so they have decided that it is easier not to ask them. This is nothing short of a disgraceful abuse of the democratic process."

Chiswick Councillors had asked LBH before the summer to "re-think" their proposals to consult just the existing CPZ streets and those that had petitioned for a CPZ. Councillors were unanimously in favour of a wider review of all residents on CPZ, taking account of other issues such as the construction of the new Brentford Stadium.

A council spokesperson said: “A preliminary consultation to investigate the extent of support, or otherwise, for the expansion of the CPZ is currently underway.

“If the results show there is support for expansion, there will be a wider, formal consultation to inform a final decision.

“At local councillors’ request, there will be a special meeting of the Chiswick Area Forum in January to discuss the results of the preliminary consultation.”

October 8, 2014


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