Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Exclusive: Mounting opposition to CPZ’s R Zone

R Zone campaigners took to the streets of Stoke Newington on Saturday 12 January in a bid to raise awareness of Hackney Council’s allegedly flawed consultation process – which aims to introduce Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) in the area in February 2013.

The initial consultation in early 2012 showed the majority of residents (some 63%) voting against the R Zone.

Speaking from the corner of Maury and Brook Road, retired architect Mr Doug Harper stated: “This consultation has ignored the views of the majority of the residents in this area who are opposed to this CPZ”.

The residents are further enraged by what they see as the council’s ‘underhanded’ behaviour: The consultation did not receive support - so the council simply cut the zone into smaller sections creating a mini zone.  As these consultations have all been referred to as the ‘R Zone’, this too has left residents confused as to what consultation was attached to what zone. 

The revised R Zone has created the ‘unnatural boundary’ within Brook Road - as one half of the street will have to pay while the other section continues with free parking.  The council are aware of this and have identified that area as a ‘dispersal’ zone; however, they suggest those residents in that area have little option but to accept more CPZ.

The group point out that in December’s Notice in the Hackney Today newspaper, it suggested parking time for zone but this differed to those the residents received through the post.  The council accepted the point stating it was a ‘printing error’, but this has caused even greater confusion with some residents not receiving any information about the revised times. 

Mr Paul Sinclair expressed his annoyance with the whole processes pointing out, “The consultation is flawed as the time given for residents to feedback their views and objections was insufficient and when they did feed back, the majority were not in favour”.

Members of the R Zone have requested a meeting with Counsellors as this specific consultation is proving decisive and residents are concerned that the democratic process, that should accompany this public consultation, has in some way been driven by other factors rather than parking capacity needs alone. 

Residents have now formulated themselves into an official campaign group: R Zone against the CPZ, and are calling for other residents within the R Zone and the wider Borough of Hackney to join via facebook and email, so that a borough wide approach to managing CPZ and parking capacity in Hackney can be achieved.

Given the unusual flurry of consultations documents that have accompanied the R Zone, it seems reasonable that a public meeting with residents be undertaken - to ensure complete transparency.  However, as sign posting begins and counsellors are unable to commit to a public meeting, it appears the R Zone campaigners have little option but to continue with their letters of objection while exploring whether they have grounds for legal action, such as an injunction or judicial review.

by Teena Lashmore
Freelance Journalist and Photographer

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