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UPDATE: Adrian Tullett is Kevin Carey's replacement at Metrobus. We will be contacting him to follow up on the action points agreed by Mr Carey.
The discussions covered parking issues related to Metrobus staff and also a wider review of parking in the Green Street Green area. The impact of recently introduced parking restrictions and those currently being implemented in the Beechwood Estate were also raised, as well as looking at parking in the 'tree' roads (Ash, Elm, Beech, Oak and Holly) and around World's End Lane.
The meeting was very encouraging, with some positive solutions put forward. It is clear that there are adequate parking spaces available for Metrobus staff on site but, for largely unknown reasons, many staff prefer to park off site. Kevin Carey agreed to a number of action points, mainly to continue to find out the real reasons why staff park off site and to encourage them to use the on site parking. He is open to new suggestions and ideas to promote this. However, it is hoped that the local parking restrictions can be evolved to deter staff from parking on local streets, whilst not inconveniencing residents. Paul Nevard gave an update on the parking review and plans for implementation of the new restrictions on Beechwood Estate. He also agreed that pavement parking may well be an acceptable solution in the tree roads. The Society will continue to monitor the situation and updates will be posted here. The action points agreed at the meeting can be downloaded here.
13 December 2013
Councillor Colin Smith, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Environment, and Kevin Carey, CEO of Metrobus, have agreed to a meeting, with ward councillors, council officers, members of the Village Society committee and the chair of Beechwood Residents' Association on Thursday 6 February.
Metrobus have also advised that:
“At the end of November a further 12 buses (and 35 drivers) will relocate following the tendering loss of one of our routes and in May 2014 we plan to relocate route 367 (10 buses, 30 drivers) from Orpington to our Croydon depot.”
This should help to alleviate some of the parking issues.
28 November 2013
Bromley Councillors and council officers, plus Metrobus CEO agreeable to meet with Village Society Committee members and Chair of Beechwood Residents' Association. Mutually convenient date to be found in January..........
23 November 2013
Councillor Colin Smith, Portfolio Holder for Environment, is being very supportive in aiding the Village Society to arrange a meeting between Metrobus, the Council and local residents, represented by Beechwood Residents' Association and the Village Society.
Senior management at Metrobus has contacted the Village Society and is also keen to have a meeting to discuss and, hopefully, resolve the parking issues.
WATCH THIS SPACE!
19 November 2013
The Village Society committee discussed this issue at their meeting on 11 November.
Beechwood Residents’ Association has been consulting with the council over parking restrictions, to ease the problem for residents. One of the proposals is for one-hour parking restrictions in the morning and early evening on certain parts of the Beechwood Estate. This will no doubt result in Metrobus staff parking elsewhere in the Green Street Green area, so will only cause parking problems for different residents. Parking is worse since the parking restrictions were implemented on the high street. It has been pushed further afield, such as the top of Glentrammon Road. Metrobus staff do not park only in the Beechwood Estate.
One thing which the Society will query is about the on-site notices – were they displayed?
It was suggested that maybe the land at the Rose and Crown could be used for parking buses, particularly at night. However when they parked there previously, residents complained about revving engines.
An overview of parking across the whole area should be taken, rather than the current piecemeal approach since parking restrictions in one area merely move the problem elsewhere. It was decided that a meeting between all the interested parties should be arranged to discuss how to resolve the issue in the long term. A letter has been emailed to relevant portfolio holders at Bromley Council and the local ward councillors, asking for support in achieving this aim.
to continue to use the parking spaces to their advantage and the detriment of local residents. In December 2010, Metrobus submitted a planning application (10/03655) for the demolition of Oak Farm Cottages, to provide 30 more parking spaces for Metrobus staff (see on the right), plus 6 extra spaces (for staff) to be provided by reconfiguration in the main site. However, although the demolition of the cottages went ahead, regardless of the lack of planning permission, and the extra parking spaces were provided, it does not appear to have resolved the issue of staff parking.
On 31 October this year - a week ago - restrospective planning permission (for the December 2010 application) was granted by Bromley Council's Plans sub-committee. At the same time, the other application, to vary the conditions of the original planning application (2004) and subsequent changes in the 2009 planning application, was also approved. This now means that Metrobus is at liberty to use all their parking spaces (less 6) (this SHOULD mean 192, or is it only 183?) on the main site for buses, instead of staff parking. A strong case to retain the Condition was made by ward members, Cllrs Russell Jackson and Julian Grainger, with supporting remarks from Cllr Colin Smith (Environment Portfolio Holder). However, the Committee went along with the Recommendation for Permission – for reasons as yet unknown – but probably because of the Recommendation plus comments in the Planning report from “Highways” that seem to have been taken out of context.
(“Highways” is the same department that has been working on parking schemes in Green Street Green and the Beechwood Estate.)
Cllr Colin Smith has asked the Director of Environment to investigate.
Since Metrobus has been in contravention of the original condition for a number of years, it remains to be seen whether the regularisation of their previously illegal use of the parking bays will in any way improve the difficulties suffered by local residents due to off-site parking by their staff. It seems quite clear that the dedicated 30 staff parking bays created on the Oak Farm Cottages site are inadequate to accommodate staff and visitors, whether for the first shift or any other time of day. Parking by Metrobus staff has been a continuing bone of contention locally, as staff have parked on and around the high street, thereby reducing parking for shoppers and the possibility of passing trade. The recent parking restrictions and charges and the opening up of Shire Lane for parking had eased the situation, although residents in some side roads have complained of parking difficulties due to non-residents parking there. Parking at the top of Glentrammon Road (where there are no restrictions) has also increased significantly in recent months. The parking surveys carried out in 2010 and 2012 (see link below) only covered the Beechwood Estate, so took no account of possible parking by Metrobus staff elsewhere in Green Street Green. No reason is given as to why only that area was surveyed. At those times the current parking restrictions were not in place, so it would surely seem logical to have surveyed the high street as well?
The curious management of these developments gives cause for concern and raises the following queries regarding the application for variation of the conditions:
- Why did Bromley Council not enforce the Breach of Condition notice, during the last 3 years?
- Why did it take 3 years for the application (and the one for demolition of Oak Farm Cottages) to come to committee? Did any members of the
committee query this at the meeting and, if so, what was the reason given?
- Both of the 'public consultations' - March/April 2010 and August/September 2013 (holiday period?) - lasted for only 3 weeks and appear to have
been limited to the Beechwood estate - why were local residents not made more aware?
- The only press advertisements appeared in March/April 2010 (no doubt under 'Public Notices' in very small print which few people read!).
- Interestingly, dates of 'site notices' are 'not available' - does this mean none were posted?
This situation will be discussed at the Village Society Committee meeting on 11 November. If you have any comments, please add them to this
article. Relevant documents from the planning application pages on the council website can be accessed from the links below.
Bromley Council Agenda for 31 October 2013
Decision of April 2005 granting planning permission - see condition 7 about staff/visitor parking
Decision of September 2009 granting planning permission - see condition 3 about staff/visitor parking
Parking Surveys 2010 and 2012
Margot Rohan - Secretary, Village Society
Posts are made by members of the Association to stimulate interest and raise local concerns
See Orpington Community for discussion of issues across a wider area
Click on map to see the Green Street Green area: