Neil Richardson, the Highways Manager, provided the Committee with a verbal update on the Saracens Event Day Controlled Parking Zone.
Mr Richardson informed the Committee that the primary features of the Event Day Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) were:
- To ensure effectiveness for the area;
- To ensure that the use of the developed Barnet Copthall Stadium did not adversely impact on residents and traders and other community based activities; and
- That Saracens would meet all reasonable costs to introduce and maintain the measures, including enforcement of any restrictions introduced.
The Highways Manager advised the committee that kick-off times would be varied throughout the season and that there would be no kick-offs before 12.00 noon.
The Committee were informed that there were 7,500 people in the CPZ that were eligible to apply for a permit or visitor’s vouchers. Households could apply for up to 88 parking vouchers per annum, with additional vouchers being made available to support congregations and other community activities.
The Highways Manager noted the importance of making sure that the highways were safe for all road users. The Committee were advised that only one test match had taken place so far at the Copthall Stadium on 27 January 2013. Officers reported that “light” enforcement had been undertaken on that day where vehicles in contravention of parking restrictions were given a leaflet advising of the Event Day parking controls and advising drivers of the dates of the remaining matches for the current season. The Highways Manager also advised the Committee that a similar approach would be taken at the next match on 16 February 2013, but that yellow line restrictions would be enforced.
Lisa Wright, the Traffic and Development Manager, informed the committee that Officers will be monitoring each match of the current season to assess the parking impact.
The Highways Manager informed the Committee that they would be carrying out another consultation with every property in the area at the end of the current season, asking for views on the scheme. Comments made would be taken on board to help determine whether any changes to the scheme might be required moving forward.
Referring to the light enforcement, where leaflets were given to cars that would otherwise have received tickets, a Member questioned how many of these leaflets had been issued. He was advised by Officers that the figure was approximately 140 leaflets. Responding to a question, Officers informed the Committee that the vehicles that were leafleted as part of the light enforcement were situated throughout the CPZ. Officers advised the Committee that the attendance for the match was approximately 3,700. The Committee noted that as this was a test game, the maximum attendance would be in the region of 4,000. Attendance was expected to be higher at future matches.
A Member questioned if it was unusual for residents to not have to pay for permits. Officers responded that it was, but that they were being provided at zero cost to residents by Saracens in recognition that there would be some impact on residents on match days. Responding to a question from the Committee, the Highways Manager advised that the resident’s permits and parking vouchers arrangement was legally binding.
The Chairman invited Mill Hill Ward Councillors, John Hart and Sury Khatri, to address the Committee.
Councillor John Hart noted that the scheme was still in its early days. He informed the Committee that many people were unhappy with the five hour period of the parking restrictions, and questioned whether this period was necessary. Councillor Hart informed the Committee that he had attended the Mill Hill Resident’s Association with Councillor Sury Khatri where approximately 300 people had been in attendance in relation to this matter. Councillor Hart also highlighted that people could misuse the parking vouchers.
Councillor Hart highlighted to the Committee that the attendees of the last match were largely from the home team and suggested that these attendees could be managed more easily that the supporters of the visiting team. He informed the Committee that the Copthall Open Space should be considered as an open space for everyone. Councillor Hart also noted that improvements had been made in the area as a result of the development.
A Member referred to Councillor Hart’s contribution to a previous Planning and Environment Committee and asked Councillor Hart to confirm that Saracens had agreed to that the maximum capacity of the stadium would 10,000 people and no more. Councillor Hart confirmed that this was correct.
Councillor Sury Khatri addressed the Committee and highlighted his concern that Ward Members had not had enough involvement in the early discussions with Officers and Saracens. Councillor Khatri questioned whether resident’s interests were being adequately considered. Councillor Khatri suggested that all matches should start at 3:00 pm and raised concern over residents being able to have quiet enjoyment of their everyday lives. Referring to the Human Rights Act, Councillor Khatri questioned the impact of the CPZ and stadium on resident’s rights to family life.
A Member questioned Councillor Khatri on the 88 parking vouchers that are available to each household within the area. Councillor Khatri informed the Committee that he did not consider this number to be sufficient.
The Chairman then invited the Leader of the Council, Councillor Richard Cornelius, and the Director for Place, Pam Wharfe, to address the Committee. The Director for Place invited Councillor Khatri to meet with her to discuss his concerns further. It was agreed that the meeting would involve all affected Ward Councillors.
Ms Wharfe also noted that the planning application that had been made was for 10,000 attendees only. The Leader of the Council reaffirmed the fact that should Saracens wish to increase capacity to 15,000 in the future, then another planning application would be necessary.
The Highways Manager stated that he believed that Saracens were working to ensure that the scheme had minimal impact on residents. Responding to a question, he informed the committee that 3,192 resident’s permits and approximately 118,000 parking vouchers had been issued, and that Saracens would pay the Council the amount for the given number of permits or vouchers issued.
A Member raised concerns that people who were travelling to watch a match might consider that a parking ticket on account of a parking contravention could be factored in as part of the cost of a day out. The Highways Manager informed the Committee that this was a possible risk, but where safety was being compromised, the police could be involved.
Officers advised the committee that they were keen to conduct an audit of resident’s views of the success of the scheme, and would allow people plenty of free text to provide their opinions. There will also be the option of both online and hard copies. Ward Councillors requested that they were involved with the drafting of the consultation.
A Member questioned what consultation had taken place at the beginning of the scheme. The Director for Place informed the Committee that the consultation had formed part of a planning application determined by a the Planning and Environment Committee who considered that a CPZ was necessary in order to manage the impact on residents and that Officers have subsequently conducted statutory consultation.
Councillor Khatri suggested that electronic signs should be considered as a way of reducing the five hour time period for parking restrictions. Officers agreed to investigate the cost of variable signage.
1. The Committee note the update on the Saracens Event Day Controlled Parking Zone as set out in the report and as detailed above.
2. Members note the request that adjacent Ward Councillors be involved in the CPZ review at the end of the season.
3. The Committee note the invitation from the Director for Place to meet with Mill Hill Ward Members
4. Officers are requested to give consideration to the costing installing variable signs for the CPZ zone.
5. That the Committee requested to receive update on the review of the Saracens Event Day CPZ scheme which would be conducted at the end of the current season.
Date of decision: 07/02/2013