South Milford Parish Council wrote to North Yorkshire County Council to express its concerns about the lack of consultation and limited assessment of costs and benefits of introducing the Experimental Waiting Restrictions on Milford Road, South Milford.
The email below describes the South Milford Parish Council view that, before the introduction of new parking restrictions, the village should be consulted and the consequences of such introduction thoroughly considered.
******** Email to North Yorkshire County Council ************
South Milford Parish Council would like to formally express its concerns about the Experimental Waiting Restrictions introduced on Milford Road, South Milford from 23 July, for the following reasons:
(1) poor consultation with the village
(2) lack of assessment of the costs and benefits
(3) the issues of introducing the Experimental Waiting Restrictions on Milford Road, South Milford.
To clarify, South Milford Parish Council does not have a formal position for or against the order continuing for an indefinite period. This would depend on the views of residents and the consequences of the order to traffic flows, safety, and parking elsewhere in the village.
South Milford Parish Council will monitor Milford Road, as well as the adjacent roads, and take note of the residents' views, in order to comment on the continuation of the order in due course.
South Milford Parish Council does object to the introduction of the Experimental Order without prior consultation, and our reasons are explained in detail below.
South Milford Parish Council kindly requests that, in the future, the introduction of any traffic orders is given sufficient consultation time and a thorough assessment of the costs and benefits.
(1) Poor consultation
South Milford Parish Council was not notified nor consulted about the plans to make the Experimental Order until it was notified on the 14th July that the decision had been made.
Therefore, it did not have chance to consult with the village, nor to notify the neighbouring Parish Councils where the commuters who park their cars on the road may reside.
The reasons for the Order, which were stated in the “Statement of the Council’s reasons for making the order”, are: for road safety reasons, to remove indiscriminate parking on a bend and improving traffic flows.
South Milford Parish Council is not aware that indiscriminate parking on a bend is a frequent occurrence. Since Northern Rail introduced car parking charges, some commuters have parked their cars on the west side of Milford Road. Our understanding is that commuters are generally careful not to impede driveways or to park on bend into the car park.
However, we acknowledge that our perception may be incorrect, hence our wish to consult with residents and commuters to get a full understanding of the facts.
(2) Lack of assessment of the costs and benefits
South Milford Parish Council agrees that prohibiting parking would improve traffic flow and arguably safety.
However, it may also have negative consequences. For example, speeding over 30 mph limit may increase in frequency. Before the cars were parked on the road, speeding on Milford Road was a major concern.
Furthermore, commuters may start parking somewhere else in the village where the road is not as wide and accommodating, such as Low Street and High Street.
South Milford Parish Council agrees that indiscriminate parking can cause safety issues for traffic and pedestrians. Nonetheless, it suggests that the measures should be proportional to the magnitude of the issue.
With this in mind, a less dramatic initial step could have been to place restrictions on the bend into the car park and other key areas where safety concerns exist, and evaluate the impact this has on the traffic flow, safety, and parking around the village.
If parking is still a problem after the introduction such limited restrictions, then a wider area can be considered, as well as other measures.
(3) Issues with waiting restrictions
The Experimental Order introduces a no waiting restriction for 7am-12 noon in some areas and all day in others.
South Milford Parish Council is concerned that it is impractical for commuters to be dropped off by car in the car park, as the entrance to the car park is narrow and easily congested (and it is further away from the Leeds bound platform used by most commuters on a morning).
Forcing cars dropping off commuters to enter the car park will create safety issues as pedestrians approach the station at the same time and there is little space for turning around. South Milford Parish Council urges North Yorkshire County Council to reconsider the no waiting restriction.
Lastly, the South Milford Parish Council would like to point out that public transport between the surrounding villages is limited and commuters may not have another option but to drive to the train station.
Restricting off-road parking, without providing alternative free parking and/or better public transport options to South Milford station may increase the number of commuters driving into Leeds.
This seems to go against the government's drive to reduce car journeys and air pollution outlined in the Road to Zero strategy, which was recently published here - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-road-to-zero-strategy-to-lead-the-world-in-zero-emission-vehicle-technology