Cumbria Crack

New Road closure decision confirmed

New Road car park

[C]ouncillors have confirmed a decision to close common land at New Road in Kendal to vehicles from Monday (18 September).

On Friday (15 September), members of South Lakeland District Council’s (SLDC’s) Overview and Scrutiny Committee upheld a Cabinet decision taken on 30 August, after considering representations that identified safety, legal and insurance risks in allowing the current parking activity to continue.

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee was asked to look again at the Cabinet decision to close the land – as well as the vision and cost for future landscaping of the site and the intention to use Gooseholme as a temporary site for the fair – after they were ‘called-in’ for further examination.

SLDC Leader Councillor Giles Archibald told Friday’s meeting that Cabinet would be bringing forward a new resolution that, following representations made, officers seek to continue with the fair on New Road, instead of moving temporarily to Gooseholme.

Councillor Archibald also made it clear that residents will be able to have their say on future plans for the long-term development of the common land on the south side of New Road.

He explained that Full Council next month would be asked to consider a revised budget for some initial work on the site, but that the long-term design and use of the common would be subject to further public engagement and debate.

Both these resolutions were approved at a Cabinet meeting immediately following Friday’s Overview and Scrutiny meeting.

This means that, following the closure of land at New Road to vehicles on Monday, some initial works will commence to make the site safe and accessible, including work to decontaminate the land and replace the existing top surface, but that the long-term use and design of the site would be subject to public consultation.

Proposing that the original Cabinet decision be accepted, Overview and Scrutiny Committee member Councillor Nick Cotton told Friday’s meeting: “The council has a duty of care to address the safety issue as soon as possible.

“We have had a clear assurance that the public will be consulted on options for the future of the site. We can therefore move quickly on the safety issue, but can still influence what we would like to see happen long-term on New Road.’’

The Overview and Scrutiny meeting heard representations from councillors who had initiated the call-in, as well as residents opposed to the closure and a representative of Kendal BID, which supports the principle of developing the common land for community use.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee member Councillor Mark Wilson also spoke in favour of confirming the original closure decision, saying: “This spreads a message that this council is serious about safety.’’

The motion to confirm the original decision was supported by six members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, with four abstentions.

On Wednesday last week, SLDC’s Cabinet noted a number of new parking options, designed to mitigate potential issues with vehicles displaced from New Road common parking in residential streets following Monday’s closure.

These are:

  • Westmorland Shopping Centre car park closing time extended from 7pm until 9pm
  • South Lakeland House car park to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Sunday tariffs on all levels at South Lakeland House car park adjusted to 20p per hour, up to a maximum of £1 for over 4 hours
  • Charging hours on South Lakeland House car park to change from current 8am to 6pm to 8.30am to 5.30pm
  • £1 a day parking on Blackhall Road car park if ticket purchased before 7am, seven days a week
  • Sandes Avenue car park be designated for blue badge holders and permit parking for market traders only on Wednesday and Saturday
  • Sandes Avenue car park to be made 20p per hour, up to a maximum of £1 for over 4 hours on non-market days
  • Visitor parking bays removed at South Lakeland House car park, to increase parking capacity
  • Library Road car park changed from long-stay to multi-tariff

These measures are in addition to the new ‘early-bird’ tariff at the Westmorland Shopping Centre car park, approved on 30 August, which reduces from the existing £2.20 rate to £1 per day for drivers arriving before 9am, Monday to Saturday.

The intention is that, where possible, all these additional parking measures will be in place by Monday, 18 September 2017.

Many of the measures would be subject to an initial trial period, up to 2 January 2018, but portfolio holder for the Economy, Councillor Graham Vincent, has already indicated that it is the Leader of the council’s wish that, subject to review, these offers would continue until any new long-term parking facility is developed.

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