The Joint Transportation Board of Dartford Borough Council is made up of DBC Councillors and Kent County Councillors (some KCC Councillors are also Councillors on DBC). Its full terms of reference can be read here but one specific brief is to ‘Be a forum for consultation between Kent County Council and the Borough Council on policies, plans and strategies related to highways, road traffic and public transport’.
The full agenda for this meeting can be read here. However, one specific item which generated a considerable amount of discussion related to parking on pavements. The subject was raised following a letter to Councillor Maddison, asking him to ‘take a lead on stamping out pavement parking by banning pavement parking across the local authority area’.
The current situation is that whilst parking on footways or footpaths (pavements, grass verges, alleyways, etc), or in front of dropped footways or raised carriageways is banned on almost all streets in London at all times – londoncouncils.gov.uk, this is not the case in Kent and it is down to individual Councils to adopt their own policy. The situation nationally is due to be considered in Parliament in January, when the Pavement Parking Bill 2014-15 is due to be debated. This is described as ‘A Bill to make provision for the safety, convenience and free movement on pavements of disabled people, older people, people accompanying young children, and other pavement users; to clarify, strengthen and simplify the law relating to parking on pavements in England and Wales; and for connected purposes’.
The Board resolved to ask for a full report from KCC in time for the next meeting, to explain what the legality of the situation is regarding parking on pavements and what DBC can actually do to enforce this (if it is decided that this is the course of action to take).
Some particular points which were discussed included:-
- Parking on pavements can cause damage – the responsibility for maintaining/repairing pavements falls on KCC, not DBC.
- Utility companies can sue KCC if damage to their supplies (pipes, etc.) is caused by parking on pavements.
- Whether a ‘blanket’ ban could be considered or alternatively a ‘case by case’ basis. Almost certainly a blanket ban would not be popular with all residents; yet a case by case option may cause confusion.
- If DBC generally took the view of encouraging residents to walk more, they should be able to walk safely on pavements.
- If any restrictions were placed on parking, would DBC have the manpower to enforce these.
In all probability, this will be a contentious issue and future developments will be interesting.
The meeting was also given an update of issues regarding Fastrack. The remedial work in Ingress Park is scheduled to start on 6 October; however, there was no estimated completion date given. Concerns were also raised regarding the replacement of stock and Members were concerned that KCC have not supplied a proper report about this. It was agreed that this was disappointing and that KCC should provide a full report in time for the next meeting of the Board.
One other item which was not mentioned specifically in the meeting was covered in paragraph 12 of the minutes for the June meeting and related to the poor condition of the streets in Newtown. At that meeting, ‘it was agreed that a site visit be arranged for Councillor Street and Councillor Martin with the KCC Officer responsible to assess the problems and arrive at a way forward to rectify the matters identified’. It is understood that this meeting has not yet been held (apparently this delay is down to KCC not DBC).