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Posted by: John Brace | 25th September 2014

Objection to Traffic Regulation Order (KO) for Birkenhead Market Service Road

Objection to Traffic Regulation Order (KO) for Birkenhead Market Service Road

                                              

Proposed traffic regulation order public notice (Birkenhead Market Service Road) 9th July 2014
Public notice of proposed traffic regulation order (9th July 2014) Wirral Globe Birkenhead Market Service Road

Below is our objection to the proposed traffic regulation order for Birkenhead Market Service Road. If you wish to also object the closing date is Friday 26th September 2014. A copy of the plan of which parts of the Birkenhead Market Service Road will be affected by the proposed Traffic Regulation Order can be downloaded from here. These plans are provided under the “fair use” provisions for news reporting in s.30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988 c.48 and have already been provided to the public but are copyrighted by Ordnance Survey.

Surjit Tour,
Wallasey Town Hall
Brighton Street,
Seacombe
CH44 8ED

134 Boundary Road,
Bidston,
Wirral
CH43 7PH

Dear Surjit Tour,

Your reference: KO (proposed traffic regulation order for Birkenhead Market Service Road)

Below are our objections (from both John and Leonora Brace) to the proposed traffic regulation order for Birkenhead Market Service Road which is being consulted on (the consultation closes on 26th September 2014).

The public notice for the proposed traffic regulation order was first published in the Wirral Globe on the 9th July 2014 with a closing date for objections of the 1st August 2014. However as a copy of the proposed order, Council’s statement of reasons and map had not been made available to the One Stop Shop, Town Hall, Seacombe when we visited on the afternoon of the 9th July 2014, it was agreed that in order for the Council to comply with the Regulation 7(3) of SI 1996/2489 that a further public notice would appear in the local press (with the necessary documents being sent to Council offices for inspection by the public during the consultation period).

This notice was published in the Wirral Globe on the 3rd September 2014. A meeting was held on site to discuss the proposed traffic regulation order on the afternoon of 17th September 2014 at which Leonora Brace, John Brace and two Wirral Council officers were present. This meeting gave an opportunity for both sides to discuss the outstanding objections we had to the readvertised traffic regulation order and to observe levels of parking in the area of the Birkenhead Market Service Road at that time.

The reasons behind the proposed traffic regulation order were explained to us by officers. The effect of the traffic regulation order (if agreed) would be to prevent parking by Blue Badge holders, as all of Birkenhead Market Service Road that was not a loading bay would have a “No waiting and no loading at any time” restriction (known as double yellow lines with kerb blips which prevents parking by Blue Badge users).

If agreed, it would displace those drivers with a Blue Badge that can park there for up to three hours to elsewhere in the area of Birkenhead Market. Although Blue Badge users can park in Council car parks without any restriction on length of stay, at the time of the site visit the nearest Blue Badge spaces in the Council car park next to Birkenhead Bus Station were all in use.

The Pyramids multi-storey car park was referred to by officers both by email and during the site visit as a potential solution to the displaced parking that would result, however it was confirmed to me by a member of the Pyramids staff that although parking there is free on a Sunday, that during Monday to Saturday a charge is made for parking. We were both told that the Pyramids Shopping Centre is one of the two bodies that are funding this traffic regulation order (the other being the organisation that runs the Birkenhead Market Hall).

During the site visit, one of the stall holders at Birkenhead Market expressed concern over the potential effect on his customers. It was clear there was confusion about the proposed traffic regulation order and there had been no consultation with each stall holder at Birkenhead Market to explain the proposed changes.

Individual stall holders have a sublease which allow them to park for up to an hour in the Birkenhead Market Service Road. Their rights are detailed in the sublease between Birkenhead Market Limited and Birkenhead Market Services Limited (which is defined in the lease as an overriding lease) and the obligations towards stallholders are specified in section 1.1 (Right to use half width of access road) and 1.2 (Rights over Market Loading Bays). There is also a lease between Wirral Council and Birkenhead Market Limited dated 31st July 2003.

Some stall holders are also in receipt of a Blue Badge, therefore can now park in some stretches of the Birkenhead Market Service Road for up to three hours. However if the proposed traffic regulation order is agreed, these disabled stall holders will be restricted to only the hour they are now granted under the sublease.

During the period of consultation on this traffic regulation order, a car parking review was undertaken by councillors which reported back to councillors on the Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee on Monday 22nd September 2014. One of the recommendations to a future Cabinet meeting agreed at that meeting was “Cabinet approves the following ‘Objectives’ and ‘Principles’ which should provide a guiding framework for any future Car Parking strategy.” which included the following objective relevant to this objection:

“To provide sufficient numbers of disabled parking spaces in good proximity to shops and services.”

Whereas we realise that this recommendation is yet to be agreed by a meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet, the traffic regulation order as proposed would prevent parking for Blue Badge holders in the Birkenhead Market Service Road (whether customers, market stall holders or others) and displace these drivers elsewhere. As observed on the site visit, the nearest disabled parking spaces in the car park by Birkenhead Bus Station were all in use, which would force drivers with mobility problems further away from where they shop or work. The lack of spaces nearby could displace these drivers to the Pyramids car park where on a Monday to Saturday they would be charged for parking.

It is understood that a minority of careless drivers who do park in an obstructive way in the Birkenhead Market Service Road and that this can cause problems for commercial traffic wishing to load and unload. However there are existing powers to traffic wardens and the police to deal with such matters and the existing Blue Badge holders parking responsibly shouldn’t be penalised for the actions of other drivers and forced to park elsewhere!

The public notice about this traffic regulation order published in the press on Wednesday 9th July 2014 details five proposed sections on Birkenhead Market Service Road of over thirty metres of “No Waiting” and four restrictions on stretches on the Birkenhead Market Service Road of over 30 metres in “parking bays” with an exemption in the parking bays for goods vehicles.

Regulation 9 of SI 1996/2489 states that if the proposed traffic regulation order prohibits loading and unloading by vehicles of any class for a total distance of more than thirty metres out of fifty metres on one side of any length of road and an objection is made, then a public inquiry has to be held before making such an order.

If Wirral Council agrees with us that a public inquiry should be held on this matter, then the regulations require a further public notice published in the local press at least three weeks before the inquiry is held.

Our last points are that Wirral Council has duties under various pieces of legislation (Equality Act 2010 c.15, Disability Discrimination Act 2005 c.13 and Disability Discrimination Act 1995 c.50) not to discriminate against the protected minority of disabled people in the way it carries out its procedures and policies. The traffic regulation order, if agreed, would prevent disabled shoppers in receipt of a Blue Badge parking in the Birkenhead Market Service Road. It would also restrict disabled market stallholders in receipt of a Blue Badge parking in the Birkenhead Market Service Road from the current three hours they have to the one hour that they are granted under the sublease. It appears that this latter group of people has not been directly consulted in this matter.

For these reasons, whereas we both understand the commercial reasons why the Pyramids and Birkenhead Market Hall want Wirral Council to grant a traffic regulation order to help deal with obstructive parking on the Birkenhead Market Service Road, we formally object to the proposed traffic regulation order and look forward to hearing from you in the near future about how you wish to proceed in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

John and Leonora Brace
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