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Posted by: John Brace | 14th November 2014

The many reasons I'm objecting to the proposed traffic regulation order for Birkenhead Market Service Road

The many reasons I’m objecting to the proposed traffic regulation order 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

I’d better point out than along with Leonora we are both objectors to this proposed Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). This is about item three (OBJECTION: PROPOSED WAITING & LOADING RESTRICTIONS – BIRKENHEAD MARKET SERVICE ROAD, BIRKENHEAD). The report and map is already on Wirral Council’s website.

Previous articles on this matter can be read at:

Objection to Traffic Regulation Order (KO) for Birkenhead Market Service Road (25/9/14).

http://johnbrace.com/2014/09/17/a-meeting-with-2-wirral-council-officers-about-parking-behind-birkenhead-market-and-disability-issues/ (17/9/14)

The shocking tale of Wirral Council trying to scapegoat the disabled and forcing them to pay more £s for parking (8/8/14)

Below is my submission (in the interests of openness and transparency) to the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel that meets on the 21st November 2014 starting at 9.30am.

CC:
Cllr Michael Sullivan
Cllr Steve Williams
Cllr Dave Mitchell
Mark Smith
Ken Abraham
Vicky Rainsford

Subject: Agenda item 3 (OBJECTION: PROPOSED WAITING & LOADING RESTRICTIONS – BIRKENHEAD MARKET SERVICE ROAD, BIRKENHEAD) Highways and Traffic Representation Panel Friday 21st November 2014

Dear all,

As one of two objectors to the proposed TRO for Birkenhead Market Service Road, I am announcing my intention to speak at this meeting.

I have received a letter through the post detailing the date and time of the meeting. I’m also (although you may have guessed this) going to film agenda items 1, 2 and 3.

Leonora (the other objector) may wish to speak too. However as I have had time to read the report, published yesterday there were some points I wish to raise in advance of the meeting in order that officers (and councillors) are given appropriate advance notice of the points I will raise.

I refer to the original numbering of the report.

3.4 “objector’s” should read “objectors'” as there are two of us.

3.5 Although access to Birkenhead Market Service Road can travel through Birkenhead Bus Station, as you can see from the map this is one of two ways vehicles can access the Birkenhead Market Service Road. Therefore it’s misleading to imply that people in the Birkenhead Market Service Road must have come through the Birkenhead Bus Station.

It would be useful if officers could clarify which designated bays they are referring to and what specific longer observation periods they are referring to.

3.6 Both The Grange and The Pyramids (except on a Sunday) charge for parking.

Here is the detail of blue badge spaces at the other car parks referred to (total number of spaces in brackets):

Europa Square 14 blue badge (150)
Oliver Street 6 blue badge (16)
Conway Street (on street) ~6 (6)
Burlington Street unknown

Policy SPD4 (which I’m sure councillors who are currently or have been previously on Planning Committee are familiar with) state minimum numbers of spaces for vehicles carrying disabled people as follows:

1 in the first 10 spaces should be allocated for disabled people. Thereafter 1 in every 20 spaces or 6% of the total (whichever is greater).

Applied to the Europa Square car park of 150 spaces using Class A1 – Retail this is:

first ten spaces: one space
other 140 spaces: seven spaces
Total: eight

However 6% is the greater. Depending on how you calculate the 6% (whether 6% of 150 or (6% of 140)+1) it either comes out as either 9 spaces or 9.4 spaces (rounded up to 10).

However the number of blue badges issued to the Wirral population (visitors can also use their blue badges) is higher than 6% putting pressure on existing spaces in Europa Park. On the day of the site visit with officers, there were no free Blue Badge spaces available in the Europa Park car park (out of 14) and this is pretty typical of how it is during the times the shops are open.

I quote:

“Officers consider there are sufficient parking spaces within existing Council and privately owned car parks in close proximity to the Market Hall to accommodate any overspill of blue badge holder parking from Birkenhead Market Service Road.”

In order to know that you’d have to do a traffic survey of how many spaces are free in car parks in close proximity to the Market Hall, how many of those spaces are blue badge spaces and actually know how many park in the Birkenhead Market Service Road currently with a blue badge. As far as I know (although I may be wrong) this is merely based on an opinion of officers without doing a survey. Many of the “sufficient parking spaces” are unsuitable for those with disability as disabled people if they parked in the regular spaces would not have enough room around their vehicle (especially if parked adjacent to a car) to safely get in and out of their vehicle.

3.7 Of course the Birkenhead Market Hall isn’t going to object to a traffic regulation order it’s actually funding half of the cost of. Individual traders were told by officers at the site visit that the proposals wouldn’t affect their customers unloading and loading, just parking. The traders haven’t been individually consulted and unless they read the notice on the lamppost, or found out by other means they just won’t be aware of this proposed TRO. Even if they did object, they might not know how to go about it. Bear in mind the proposals weren’t available to view in the Conway Street One Stop Shop just across the road, but were a considerable distance away at Wallasey Town Hall, Seacombe.

3.8 There are various points in the Birkenhead Market Service Road (as you can see on the plan) that are much narrower than others. Cars (or other vehicles) parked there or near there (unlawfully) can be causing an obstruction to the free flow of traffic. Although Wirral’s CEOs do not have powers to remove vehicles, the police do. Wirral’s CEOs can issue tickets (which hopefully act as a deterrent).

3.9 This is an acknowledgement by officers that the draft TRO (as consulted on) cannot be decided by the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel.

It is unclear from what is put in the report exactly what modifications officers are proposing to the proposed TRO. However what is clear is that only the original TRO has been consulted on (twice) and not the modified TRO.

The requirements in regulation 9 cause a public inquiry held by an inspector to be held if the requirements in regulations 9(3) to 9(5) are met.

To summarise these are (subject to paragraphs 4 and 5) for orders if:

(3) Subject to paragraphs (4) and (5), this paragraph applies to an order if—

(a) its effect is to prohibit the loading or unloading of vehicles or vehicles of any class in a road on any day of the week–

(i) at all times;
(ii) before 07.00 hours;
(iii) between 10.00 and 16.00 hours; or
(iv) after 19.00 hours,

and an objection has been made to the order (other than one which the order making authority is satisfied is frivolous or irrelevant) and not withdrawn; or

(b) its effect is to prohibit or restrict the passage of public service vehicles along a road and an objection has been made to the order in accordance with regulation 8–
(i) in the case of a road outside Greater London, by the operator of a local service the route of which includes that road; or
(ii) in the case of a road in Greater London, by the operator of a London bus service the route of which includes that road or by London Regional Transport.

(4) For the purposes of paragraph 3(a), an order shall not be taken to have the effect of prohibiting loading at any time to the extent that it—
(a) authorises the use of part of a road as a parking place, or designates a parking place on a road, for the use of a disabled person’s vehicle as defined by section 142(1) of the 1984 Act;
(b) relates to a length of the side of a road extending 15 metres in either direction from the point where one road joins the side of another road,

unless the effect of the order taken with prohibitions already imposed is to prohibit loading and unloading by vehicles of any class at the time in question for a total distance of more than 30 metres out of 50 metres on one side of any length of road.

(5) Paragraph (3) does not apply to an order —

(a) if it is an experimental order;
(b) made under section 84 of the 1984 Act (speed limits on roads other than restricted roads); or
(c) to the extent that it relates to a road which forms part of a priority route designated by the Secretary of State pursuant to section 50 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 (designation of priority routes in London).

(6) In this regulation “public service vehicle” has the meaning given by section 1 of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981.

As you can see from the above, even if the loading bays in the proposed TRO are modified to apply to all vehicles and not just goods vehicles, it’s the stretches it restricts of >30m in 50m stretches around the Birkenhead Market Services Road that are the problem. Without these being also taken out of the proposed TRO the requirement for a public inquiry by an inspector still applies.

Neither the TRO consulted on, nor the changed TRO can be decided by the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel because of Regulation 9.

3.10
The exceptions referred to in officer comments in relation to vehicles driven other than by the blue badge holder for the purposes of picking up the blue badge holder don’t as far as I can see form part of the consulted on TRO.

4.1
Even if in theory a TRO was granted, without enforcement it wouldn’t result in any change. There are plenty of loading bays and plenty of time deliveries will happen and there will be a goods vehicle already in the space they wish to load or unload. Whereas it can be inconvenient for drivers of large lorries to try and drive down the Birkenhead Market Service Road, the vast majority of vehicles there are connected to the market stalls or the Pyramids/Grange. Going one way to the Birkenhead Market Service Road, the Birkenhead Bus Station provides greater challenges to the drivers of goods vehicles than the Birkenhead Market Service Road itself in my opinion.

5.1
There are options that have not been considered these are:

A) Consulting on the modified TRO. In fact consultation is a requirement of Regulation 8 (Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996). The new proposals would also have to be published in a local newspaper (Regulation 7) and there would have to be a period for objections.

What’s interesting is the modified TRO officers propose hasn’t been consulted on, therefore can’t be decided by the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel.

B) Having a public inquiry chaired by an inspector on the proposed TRO (Regulation 9, 10 & 11). Again this would require a notice in a local newspaper and 21 days notice.

Lastly I would like to request that item 3 (which is this item on the agenda) it taken ahead of item 2 as both Leonora and I planned to attend the meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority starting at 11.00am.

In order to get to that meeting, we will be able to stay at a meeting of the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel no later than 10.15am. Therefore it is important that the Highways and Traffic Representation Panel starts promptly at 9.30am and that is part of the reason why I am submitting this information in advance so that agenda item 3 can be dealt with quickly.

I realise this may inconvenience the objector to agenda item 2, however I cannot see it as being possible to deal with both agenda items in 45 minutes based on previous experience of Highways and Traffic Representation Panel meetings.

Thank you for reading this,

John Brace

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Responses

  1. Well Mr Brace, you appear to have this one well and truly covered

    • Well there are things I have left out, but I always like to have a few surprises just in case. 🙂

      • A man after my own heart

        • I’ll see what happens on Friday morning. 🙂

  2. Best of luck to you,although I have come to the conclusion any constructive objections to Council policies is a bit like erm ‘ pissing into the wind’.

    • Thanks for the good luck wishes, this proposal is coming from the private sector, not the Council.

      You’re right it can be difficult to persuade the Council to take objections on board. There are ways and means though… based on what I’ve seen in the past as to what it successful and what is not.


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