This blog invites positive suggestions for changes that could be made to the parking in the village area. Please send us your ideas. We will publish them and use the options as a basis for discussion with the councils.

The statutory consultation period for the proposed changes to the CPZ hours in part of Camden’s CA(U) zone is now over and we await the result. There has been a campaign against the changes led by the Highgate Society and as reported in the Ham&High . Those who have come out against the changes have many varied issues with the proposal.

Current situation is not working

Whatever their validity, it’s impossible to make the case that parking is easy, fine and generally working well around the High Street. The changes might or might not make parking worse but there is no shortage of complaints about the current situation. The surveys conducted by the councils show that the parking spaces within a few hundred metres of the High Street are full all day long. (See this blog setting out the parking problem and another summarising all research .) It is hard to see why anyone would set off to the village in a car and have a reasonable expectation of being able to park near where they wanted without doing the rounds waiting for a place to come free – or double parking or parking illegally. So, regardless of whether this particular change goes ahead, if we are to improve things, what could we do?

The HS web page noted a number of “points” to make in any response to the Camden consultation. Some of these made more sense than others.

Parking and the Neighbourhood Plan

As the Forum, we would like to take the opportunity to clarify one HS comment: “Why was the requirement ignored in the Highgate Neighbourhood Plan for Camden and Haringey councils to work together over issues affecting Highgate?” The fact is that the Plan does not oblige councils to consult with each other on issues which are not part of the Plan. Transport issues such as this are not legally part of the Plan. Obviously we’d like the councils to coordinate more, its one reason why the Forum was started, we’re disappointed that they didn’t work together, and we try to encourage it. But when push comes to shove they are their own bodies on such topics and there was no “requirement” to work as one. We need to encourage such working.

The same fact explains the answer to: “Why were residents and businesses on the Haringey side of the High Street not consulted, or even notified?” The councils don’t have to. Haringey knew about the plans and were at the official consultation meetings that were held. The Forum notified its members and there was an article (presumably inspired by the Highgate traders) in the Ham&High (this is copied in the HNF blog) so it was not a complete surprise. That said, Haringey has not consulted on their side of the High Street. When the CPZ was first introduced over a decade ago, the HS was proactive in getting the councils to work together. The councils consulted separately (as would be expected), but were encouraged by the HS to hold off implementation until both sides of the High Street could be done together. (Incidentally, realising that the parking issues are sensitive and a matter of personal choice, the HS remained neutral on the pros and cons, instead seeking to ensure best practice from the councils.)

Parking and pollution

The HS note also questioned whether “the proposals will achieve the Council’s environmental aims”. This is a fair point but so long as Highgate’s roads are clogged up with traffic, old buses struggle up the hill, the school run is what it is, and the area’s parking spaces are used by many commuters, it seems hard to imagine that pollution will reduce. The Forum’s work on pollution makes clear the scale of the problem. No one action will reverse or solve the problem but every little helps. As seen elsewhere in London, cultural change about the use of private vehicles does occur over time.

Too many people chasing too few spaces

Looking forward, the Highgate Society suggested: “Better alternatives: E.g. a joint Haringey-Camden parking zone, a review of double and single yellow lines to free up parking spaces, less draconian hours of operation, controls only on the most affected streets (as in Priory Gardens), joint usage bays for business and residents.” The problem is that none of these, bar the review of yellow lines, will do anything to help with the key issue – too many people chasing too few spaces. (Please read the Forum blog on a review of yellow lines . It is our intention to follow this up with councils now the CPZ review is complete.)

We agree that “Camden Council could work with Haringey to find a holistic solution which addresses the needs of the whole of Highgate.” But we also feel we ought to help the councils by offering possible solutions. We, the residents and businesses of Highgate, know the area best. Simply resisting change will get us nowhere, hence the offer in this blog. PLEASE SUGGEST WAYS TO IMPROVE PARKING IN HIGHGATE.