By Haddenham Webteam - 26th April 2014 7:29am
Frustrated by the apparent lack of influence demonstrated by Haddenham Parish Council over the rail commuter parking problem at the top of the Sheerstock, local residents have recently been by-passing local representation and have been writing directly to Bucks County Council.
The following are the most recent email exchanges, published in the chronological order:
Letter 1 to Bucks County Council
24th March 2014
As you are aware, there has been a serious parking problem in Haddenham with people
using both Sheerstock and Wykeham Way as a free parking area for many, many years causing great consternation to the residents.
We had a large meeting with Haddenham Parish Council in January 2013 when the residents made it clear that we required a resolution to the problem.
I understand that Bucks CC are in discussions with Chiltern Railways to come up with some
solutions to the problem.
Are you able to update us as to what plans are being discussed so that the Haddenham residents can see what ideas are being discussed and even having some form of imput into those discussions?
We have waited many years for a resolution ( probably over 15 years ) and Haddenham PC basically say that they are totally dependant upon Bucks CC and Chiltern Railways finding an early solution.
I look forward to your response.
No response was received from Bucks CC
Letter 2 to Bucks County Council
9th April 2014:
I have not received any response from you with regards to the contents of my email message dated 24th March.
I would be very grateful to receive your response soonest as the saga of the parking in
Sheerstock has been a serious problem for many years, and requires a solution.
Your email details were passed to me by Haddenham Parish Council.
I await your response.
Reply From Bucks County Council:
Dear Haddenham Resident
I apologise for not getting back to you before now.
I met with Chiltern Rail earlier this year and they are keen to assist to resolve the problem however they are not in a position to just fund the introduction of new restrictions.
I have also spoken recently to your County Councillor, Margaret Aston, about parking issues across Haddenham. There are very real concerns about the likely knock on impacts of introducing waiting restrictions in one area and just moving the problem to the next area. Due to the size of the village it is likely that commuters will just migrate to other areas so it will be important to ensure that those impacts are managed effectively
As a result of previous issues where new waiting restrictions have been introduced we have now developed a new way of considering and developing the schemes. This
involves the use of a Parking Toolkit which involves the wider community on deciding what should be introduced and how it should be managed.
I will be contacting Chair Margaret and the Clerk Gill Dudley at the Parish in the near future to discuss how we can take this forward.
I appreciate that this does not resolve your immediate problem but we are keen to work with Margaret and the Parish Council to find a way forward.
Network Resilience Manager
T: 01296 387125
Letter 3, from a different but equally frustrated Haddenham resident:
25th April 2014
I have been forwarded your email from a fellow resident and I would like to respond to it directly (with their permission).
You state below that one of the reasons for inactivity is the concerns raised that resolving the issues in Sheerstock would have a knock on impact on other roads in the village. It already IS having a knock on effect — had anyone bothered to ask residents in these areas, this would be known by now. I appreciate that a solution does need to resolve it for all concerned, but surely this isn't beyond Bucks CC's abilities to find one. Or is it?
It is also stated that "it will be important to ensure that those impacts are managed effectively". Well currently, the problem isn't being managed AT ALL, let alone worrying about whether it is effective or not.
I do have some questions that I would like Bucks CC answers on:
1. Is it considered acceptable that residents (including those with young families or the elderly) leave their houses for 15 minutes only to find that upon their return, they are unable to park anywhere near their homes? THIS HAPPENS NOW!
2. Is it considered acceptable that delivery drivers park their vans on pavements, on grass verges, blocking parking access points, or just blocking the road — just so that they can carry out their delivery? THIS HAPPENS NOW. Are we going to become a delivery blackspot?
3. That commuters are so desperate to park for free, that they rush down the road and cut up other road users, just to get a space. THIS HAPPENS NOW. The other morning, I got into my car and a commuter blocked the road waiting for me to move- so to be bloody minded, I ended up getting back out of the car and refusing to move. Of course, the space was filled by another commuter, but it felt like a mini victory. They park over the end of parking entrances, or over white lines .... anything to avoid paying.
4. Is it considered acceptable that residents feel the need to move due to lack of progress, and then houses are left empty for longer periods before sale or being re-let? It's also worth noting that Sheerstock properties (certainly at the effected end) are not going up in value in the same way as other areas of the village. Why would someone want to pay for a house then not be able to park easily anywhere near it? THIS IS AFFECTING PEOPLES' LIVES. Don't forget that it is a legal requirement to declare any current issues when selling a property.
5. Is it considered acceptable that Bucks CC didn't progress with the feasibility study that Chiltern Railways agreed to pay for (if it wasn't the feasibility study, it was something else) because Chiltern Railways not unreasonably, wanted to pay a deposit and then pay the balance once the work had been carried out.
a. it wasn't a large sum, and
b. are you seriously suggesting that Chiltern Railways are not creditworthy?
6. Are you happy that Chiltern Railways (not to mention residents) must think that Bucks CC are a laughing stock. THEY HAVE OFFERED YOU CASH to investigate yet because it's not all paid up in front, you aren't prepared to accept it. REALLY??
7. I work in Oxford near to where the new Water Eaton train station is being built. In preparation, all the local roads are being converted to residents parking only. So, they have sorted the parking issue before the train station is built. What joined up thinking!!!! If Oxford CC can manage it, why not Bucks?
8. Is it considered acceptable that residents had to wait months/years even, to get the meeting to discuss this issue and then at this meeting, both HPC and Bucks CC agree to go away and progress with (I believe it was the feasibility study)yet 15 MONTHS later, we are no further forward and nothing productive has happened yet.
9. Is it considered acceptable that there has been no further formal communication between either Haddenham PC or Bucks CC and the residents of the affected area? Are we held in such low regard? Are you hoping that we will just shut up? Or is it embarrassment at your inability to get things done.
10. I've heard rumours that someone said that it would never happen as the cost would be £50K just for Sheerstock. Seriously? Is there not a more cost efficient way? My family lived right next to Twickenham rugby ground. There are signs, yellow lines and each resident gets a sticker for their car windscreen. If they want an extra family pass, they pay for it. It's simple and it works!
Costs are recouped from parking fines and let's face it, a parking warden or whatever they are called these days, would only need to pass through once or twice a week/fortnight and it would be easy money. Even if residents had to pay a token amount, it would all help recouping the money.
11. You mention the toolkit as the way forward. What is in this toolkit? Are we actually going to see some progress or will it be talked about for several months only for "it's not effective" or "too expensive" " lets not do anything"
I hope it is as useful as you appear to think. How quickly are these discussions taking place with Haddenham PC?
I apologise if this email comes over as antagonistic but you have to appreciate that many of the residents have lived here for many years (I'm currently 15+ and by no means one of the longer residents), and to see what was a lovely place to live becoming a day to day hassle with no one taking any action, is really sad.
It really is only a week day issue (although there are at least a couple of the commuters who use us an overnight carpark on a Friday night) so despite claims at the meeting (by HPC — who clearly have/had no idea of the scale of the problem) that residents are as bad, we have no issues (or certainly a lot less) during weekends, public holidays or train strikes!
I look forward to your responses.