Victory for Vermont Road residents

Standing in Vermont RoadLast night the Council approved plans to ease parking stress in Vermont Road by allowing some of the grass verges to be turned into additional parking spaces so that other areas of the road can be cleared of vehicles so that the emergency services and refuge trucks can enter.

As I reported last week, your local councillors had to seek special permission for the grass verges to be converted because of a Council-wide policy to protect the verges.

At last night’s Environment and Neighbourhood Committee – of which I’m a member – myself and my ward colleague Cllr Marlene Heron argued passionately for the exception that would allow a solution to the parking crisis on the road.

I explained that residents of the Dorothy Pettingell House sheltered housing were extremely concerned that ambulances and fire engines are sometimes blocked from entering their complex because the narrow road means parked cars and vans prevent the emergency services gaining access.

We have been sent digital photographs of a fire engine that was unable to enter Vermont Road. When we spoke to residents we were told of several occasions in which refuge trucks were unable to enter the road and had to turn away – leaving people’s bins un-emptied.

There is an informal system in operation whereby residents move their cars on the rubbish collection day before moving them back when the refuge truck has gone. This is clearly not an acceptable situation.

Having knocked on every door in the road and met with residents of Dorothy Pettingell House, local councillors in consultation with council officers have drawn up a plan we will now consult on.

It involves extending double-yellow lines in one part of the road and creating extra parking spaces in another part to compensate.

Last night councillors voted through permission to use some grass verges as parking due to exceptional circumstances, particularly health and safety. However the committee will consider a new policy on grass verges at its’ next meeting so that everyone is clear exactly what constitutes exceptional circumstances in future, and this will allow officers to make delegated decisions if there are other requests from around the borough.

I will keep you informed about the new consultation in Vermont Road.

For reference, I reproduce below a previous article on the subject from 6th April this year:

 

Myself and my ward colleagues Ruth Dombey and Marlene Heron met residents of one of the sheltered homes this week to hear their concerns about parking. Around 20 residents of Dorothy Pettingell House spoke about their concerns over fire-engines and dial-a-ride vans being blocked by parked cars in Vermont Road.

After receiving a petition recently, myself and colleagues carried out a house-to-house survey of Vermont Road households and those living on Angel Hill whose back garages open onto Vermont Road. You can see the full results of the survey here.

Most people living in the road agreed there was a problem but over half rejected the idea – proposed by the sheltered housing – of introducing double-yellow lines outside the garages, fearing the displacement of vehicles would increase parking pressure on the residential section of the cul-de-sac.

Councillors agreed that we needed to explore alternatives to double-yellow lines, and our meeting with the elderly residents of Dorothy Pettingell on Tuesday morning was really helpful.

Something clearly needs to be done, and we would like to see an holistic solution that addresses both the concerns of the sheltered block (fire engines being blocked) and the local residents (parking pressure).

There are a number of possible options, and we are seeking the views of council traffic experts before returning to consult Dorothy Pettingell House and the households of Vermont Road and Angel Hill. We are considering holding a joint meeting of households and sheltered housing residents once we have worked up more detailed options. Watch this space…

email: lester.holloway@sutton.gov.uk 

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