YELLOW LINES IN FAVERSHAM TOWN CENTRE

YELLOW LINES IN FAVERSHAM TOWN CENTRE

Submission from the Faversham Society to the Public Realm Group of Faversham Town Council

There are concerns about parking around the Guildhall, and calls for yellow lines to be painted. The Faversham Society does not endorse the use of yellow lines anywhere in the town centre. In our view, they not only disfigure a heritage area, but are ineffective – people park on them regardless – and cause more problems than they solve.

The purpose of the yellow lines was to support the evening economy by allowing parking in the town centre. However, a lot of the space is being used for long-term and overnight parking, limiting the space available for customers of evening businesses – and, in particular, making it difficult for Blue Badge holders to find a space, especially in Preston Street.

It is questionable whether evening on-street parking is needed at all, except for Blue Badge holders, since the car parks are free in the evenings, have plenty of space, and are a very short distance away. Traders to whom we have spoken did not see the necessity for yellow lines, for this reason. The entire town centre could be made a no-parking zone, day and night.

However, there is a case for allowing brief parking during the daytime to enable quick shopping (eg, newsagents), visiting the bank, and dropping off and collecting bulky items. This would also benefit takeaways, daytime and evening. A reasonable period might be 20 minutes (this would tie in with a 20mph speed limit and be easy to remember). Those needing longer stays would be able to use the car parks, as now.

There is also a case for having reasonably-priced parking for business owners (eg, those who currently park around the Guildhall) in nearby car parks.

We ask the Town Council to vary the Traffic Order for the town centre (bounded by the Court Street and East Street entrances and the junction of Preston Street with Stone Street), such  that either:

  1. The entire area would be a no-parking zone at all times.

or

  1. Parking would be permitted at all times for a maximum of 20 minutes.

In either case, Blue Badge holders would still be permitted to park for a maximum of 3 hours.

Both of these options would need only signs at the entrances. All yellow lines could be removed, as the parking regulations would be consistent throughout the area.

We also ask the council to discuss with Swale Borough Council whether reduced-cost car park permits could be made available for town centre traders.

 

Yellow Lines around the Guildhall

The Council has been accused of dithering over yellow lines. The Faversham Society has previously expressed its concern about the painting of yellow lines around the Guildhall. The Society’s position was determined at our July 2015 Board Meeting

After some discussion over the merits of having/not having single/double lines the following proposal was put forward:- That the Faversham Society, does not endorse in heritage areas, the continued use of yellow lines and that a policy on this and street furniture be created.  A vote ensued with 10 votes for, 2 against and 2 abstentions and was duly carried.

We continue to urge the Council to undertake an urgent review of parking in the town centre.

The Faversham Society remains opposed to the painting of yellow lines in conservation areas and requests that a full review of parking and traffic management in the town centre is undertaken.

There are number of questions to be considered:

  • Is parking in the town centre after 18:00 desirable to support the evening economy?
  • Are yellow lines necessary in order to regulate where people park and for what period?
  • Enforcement is a major issue – will painting yellow lines achieve the changes in parking behaviour expected?

Yellow lines cause significant visual damage  in the historic core. A Traffic Order could be used to permit short term parking in the town centre after 18:00 to enable people to pick up takeaways in the town centre, and ensure that those parking for a longer period of time park in the car park.

It is also important that parking by the able bodied does not deny space for blue badge holders. Presently huge delivery vans regularly blocking Preston Street, forcing disabled drivers up on to the pavement, cyclists career the wrong way down the street scattering pedestrians who are forced to walk in the road.  It is frequently impossible for disabled drivers to park in Preston Street  after 18.00 hours, as the able bodied don’t use the  car parks, preferring to park in Preston Street denying space to those with disabilities.

Historic England provides relevant advice on yellow lines in historic area
Historic England (2008) Streets for All Parking Restrictions without yellow lines

Although the Society does not support yellow lines, we would point out that 50mm lines are all that is required in Conservation Areas.

In 2013 the Minister  Norman Baker said:
“No one wants to see unnecessary yellow lines blotting our towns and villages when there is an alternative. They are a clear eyesore that can be intrusive and can have a huge impact on the look and feel of our streets, particularly in historic town centres or conservation areas.
“I encourage local authorities to think about the use of restricted parking zones. They can be used to improve the visual impact of the street while providing clear information to motorists.”

Chapter 3 of the Government’s Traffic Signs Manual also provides relevant guidance on alternatives to yellow lines
www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/223943/traffic-signs-manual-chapter-03.pdf