I hope all of you who are concerned about the spread of CPZ in St Margarets read this so you know what is happening currently. I was informed the night two nights ago that the council would be holding an unpublicised meeting on 4 December, 7PM, Winchester Hall, St Margarets at which the street and signage design of a “trial consultation” in a newly proposed CPZ in St Margarets would be decided by “invited” residents.

As you may know, last summer the council sent a questionnaire to all of the households in the originally proposed CPZ in St. Margarets. 65% of household voted against the CPZ and 36.8% said they wanted it.

Nonetheless, Councillor Trigg unilaterally (without any consultation with residents) decided that the original zone would be subdivided forming a new zone which would include a large proportion of streets that had voted for CPZ, but also embedded in that new zone would be streets that had voted resoundingly against it. And, that this newly proposed zone would be the subject of a trial CPZ consultation. There was no formal communication regarding this decision to anyone residing either in the new zone or to the remaining households who formed the rest of the originally proposed zone.

The meeting last night was by invitation, and was not publicised to the general public in any way. Before the meeting, I rang Chris Smith (Section Manager at the Environment Directorate) and he could not confirm how the invited guests had been selected. I also spoke to Councillor Khosa who confirmed that in spite of the overwhelmingly negative response to the original consultation it had been decided to go forward with a trial consultation in this newly formed zone, and that affected residents had not yet been formally informed of this decision. He further confirmed that the invited guests include “street representatives” from the new zone - the council has invited 3 people from each of the affected streets - 2 (two) in favour of CPZ and 1 (one) against. No effort had been made to contact any residents in streets adjacent to the new zone regarding this meeting, though apparently some people who live in the adjacent streets and who have contacted the council to express their concerns had been invited to the meeting.

The meeting last night was indeed confrontational. The majority of people in attendance were against the newly proposed CPZ and were livid at the Council’s lack of transparency in their handling of this process. The meeting lasted for an hour and a half, and all but ten minutes of it was filled with residents’ complaints about the Council’s gross mishandling, ineptitude and lack of communication with affected residents.

By subdividing the original zone the Council intends to ramrod zoned parking down the throats of the residents of St. Margarets. And, before going forward with this next phase of the consultation, they refuse to look at the real root problems of parking in the area.

Interestingly, last night when asked how many of the 50 (approximate) attendees had been invited by the Council, about 17 people raised their hands. Then, immediately thereafter, when asked how many people present were in favour of the CPZ, all but two of the previous group raised their hands. The Council is clearly only engaging with residents who are in favour of CPZ in this stage of the consultation.

The Council has now decided to convene another unpublicised meeting with invited residents at 7pm on Thursday, 13 December, in the Council Chamber at York House. Only the “design” of the “trial” zone (where the lines and signs will go) is on the agenda. Be there if you can to stop this abuse, whether or not you live in the new trial zone. Or write to David Trigg, Cabinet Member for Transport Traffice and Parking, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham. It could be your road next!

– from Kim Thomas