Opposition councillors call for city-wide parking zone in Brighton and Hove

Piecemeal parking zones could be scrapped in favour of a city-wide requirement for permits to put an end to the repeated pattern of displacement when a new zone is created.
Parking Zone SParking Zone S
Parking Zone S

Conservative councillor Samer Bagaeen suggested the creation of a city-wide parking zone when Brighton and Hove City Council’s Transport and Sustainability Committee met on Tuesday 26 March.

And the opposition leader, Green councillor Steve Davis, said that drivers were parking ever closer to the edges of Brighton and Hove with the creation of each new parking zone.

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They were taking part in a debate about “light-touch” parking zones and a city-wide review of parking policy which Labour announced last year and which is still under way.

Trevor Muten Labour GoldsmidTrevor Muten Labour Goldsmid
Trevor Muten Labour Goldsmid

Councillor Bagaeen said that the current incremental approach to parking zones had not worked because it just “pushes the problem along”.

He said: “We’ve seen that at Surrenden and at the top of Dyke Road, in Wayland Avenue, which we said, when it came to committee, would move the parking problem to Westdene.

“May I suggest parking permits across the whole city up to the boundary – and if that’s something that the strategic review will recommend, I really think that’s the way forward.”

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Councillor Davis said that the outskirts of the city were not a “parking utopia” because the roads were becoming swamped with displaced vehicles.

He said: “Car ownership has doubled in the last 20 years and we’ve run out of parking space. I’ve been coming here for five years and it’s just like slamming your head against the wall.

“We recently had a parking zone in Surrenden, and this was voted through in a minority administration, and now the residents of Patcham, in particular, Withdean Court Avenue and the Cedars, are struggling a lot.

“Residents can’t wait. It’s an onslaught. What would the administration’s view be on having a city-wide parking zone?”

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He also asked when the parking review would be published since it had been “almost a year”.

Labour councillor Trevor Muten, who chairs the committee, said that his party’s new administration initiated the parking review last summer shortly after winning a majority at the local elections.

Councillor Muten said that Labour halted plans to treble parking charges in the area around the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton.

He said: “I would agree that it’s beyond time. This should have been resolved several years ago.

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“We’ve picked this up as a new administration and we’ve worked out that the strategy, if there was one for parking, hasn’t worked very well for the city.

“We have problems in so many different places. We’ve got people paying very high parking fees which are probably unsustainable.”

Councillor Muten agreed that when a new zone was created, many drivers parked in nearby non-permit areas for weeks at a time.

Brighton and Hove’s parking problems could not be solved by adding more parking zones “patched on to the end” of existing ones, he said.

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Councillors did, though, agree to keep the existing “light-touch” parking zones, where a resident or visitor permit is required for an hour twice a day.

The council had considered scrapping light-touch schemes, which discourage people from leaving vehicles for more than a few hours at a time. Instead, they would have become full parking zones, with restrictions from 9am to 8pm.

Councillor Muten said that the decision was likely to mean £300,000 less income than forecast in the budget.

But, he said, the decision reflected public opinion after 2,755 responses to the council’s consultation, with 2,268 of those wanting their area to remain a “light touch” parking zone.

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