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West Didsbury parking scheme ‘already decided’

Consultation closes but residents still unhappy with council, reports Jemma Gibson

Published on April 18th 2011.

West Didsbury parking scheme ‘already decided’

AS Manchester City Council’s proposed pay and display parking scheme for West Didsbury nears the end of its public consultation, local campaigners are claiming the plans are ‘a fait accompli’.

“We want to work with the council, but the way they are presenting it is as if it has already been decided.”

Some residents of the South Manchester suburb have also criticised the measures as a ‘money-making scheme’ and ‘damaging’ to the local community.

The scheme for the new parking measures, on Burton Road and Cavendish Road, will also create residents’ only parking on the surrounding residential streets, which has led some local businesses worried they will lose customers.

The Save West Didsbury campaign, which opposes the plans, claims the two-week consultation was too short and believes the plans could ultimately damage West Didsbury’s ‘vibrant’ community.

Kate Goodman, spokesperson for the group, said they want to work with the council ‘to find a solution that suits everyone’, but argues the council hasn’t been very receptive to the concerns of local people, instead, she says, the plans seem like a ‘fait accompli’.

“We want to work with the council, but the way they are presenting it is as if it has already been decided,” she said.

The plans would see visitors to Burton Road and Cavendish Road having to pay and display between Monday and Saturday, costing 10p for 10 minutes with a maximum stay of two hours. Residents of the surrounding streets will be restricted to residents’ parking only, between the hours of 3pm and 9pm.

Households will be entitled to one free permit, and will be able to buy two further permits at a cost of £45 each. Businesses will be entitles to one free permit and no further permits for employees. Completion of the scheme is expected in autumn 2011.

A blog post on the website of local tea-room And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon said the scheme could cause ‘a serious reduction in visitors to the area, closure of businesses, empty retail units and the loss of vitality and spirit that makes West Didsbury what it is.’

Simon Connelly, owner of Greens restaurant and local resident, said the proposals are ‘a draconian money making scheme’, and believes the council has ‘pretended’ to consult local residents, claiming people just outside the affected area were not initially given consultation forms.

William Mills, who is set to open The Rose Garden restaurant at the end of the month, believes the plan will have most impact during the day, but worries there could be a negative effect on his business.

The plans would also see the road outside Cavendish Community Primary School become a pay and display zone, causing potential problems for parents. The school’s petition against the plan, launched a week ago, already has 114 signatures.

Manchester City Council refused to comment during the consultation period. A spokesperson for the council said: “All responses to the consultation will be considered before any decisions are taken. It is not a fait accompli.”

A number of alternatives have been suggested which include the use of Withington Hospital’s car park, improving local bus routes and making Burton Road one-way to allow for a lane of parking perpendicular to the flow of traffic. A new Metrolink route from the city centre to West Didsbury is also due to open in summer 2013.

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27 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Christopher MeddowsApril 15th 2011.

Wow I may be able to park on my road after work, but if anyone wants to visit me they will have to park well out the way of my house!!
Businesses won't be affected too much because you currently struggle to park at the best of times anyway!!

mApril 15th 2011.

Most people decided this was a stupid idea after the first round of consultation. During a residents meeting practically everyone was against it.

Then suddenly it comes back again, seemingly exactly the same proposal. What's the point in asking if you don't listen?

Since it's reared its head again I've never seen so many people so against something. Those who even briefly consider it a good thing do so as a knee jerk reaction. Anyone who reads the consultation document and takes a second to look past some misrepresented image of a parking utopia will clearly see it's got disaster written all over it.

If this gets through, despite the overwhelmingly the negative response towards it, the word consultation will never mean the same thing to me again.

If anyone cares (and if you live in or visit West Didsbury you should), please download the consultation form from the savewestdidsbury.com website and drop it off at the Didsbury Life office in the middle of the shops on Burton Road. You have to do it this weekend though.

simon12234April 15th 2011.

Residents parking schemes are a disgrace. Why should the council reserve public road space for a select few in return for a ludicrously low annual fee which can work out as little as 50p per week or 0.3p per hour?

People who want to park near their home should by a house with a drive - and it is easily possible to buy a house with a drive in many areas for the cost of a house without one in Didsbury. We should not be subsidising the personal choice of some Didsbury residents to buy a house with no drive.

Residents parking spaces encourage car ownership by making it more convenient to own and park a car. That's not very green from a council which is full of all the usual propaganda about global warming and the need to save the planet.

AnonymousApril 15th 2011.


AnonymousApril 15th 2011.

Did my last post get rejected because it linked to another website?

Try again -


Simon ManningApril 15th 2011.

http://www.SaveWestDidsbury.com - See what the local residents, businesses and visitors think...

simoncApril 16th 2011.

It is becoming clear that there is a hidden agenda behind this parking scheme.
Everyone knows that the number of residents' cars far exceeds the number of proposed permit spaces and residents will still have to search for fewer spots. Those who think it will help should think about buying a unicorn and moving to Narnia. More seriously, it is becoming apparant that the agenda is to generate income to safeguard local government workers' jobs et the expense of those whose own enterprise has made West Disdbury the envy of the city. West Didsbury is an easy target - especially when the council only seek the opinion of those who have been duped into thinking they will benefit. Didbury Village and Chorlton watch out - it could be your community at risk next.

simon12234April 17th 2011.

SimonC, your conspiracy theory is absurd. The council imposes no parking restrictions on thousands of streets in the city, and imposes them exclusively where parked cars cause a problem.

Parked cars cause a problem in Didsbury. Reidents parking schemes are not going to to solve anything though as the charges are either non-existent or pitifully low. A permit which cost £1 per hour, or about £8500 per year might help clear the streets of residents cars. Then, the steets could be used for short term parking for shoppers and as thoroughfares. This is preferable to using them as personal parking for people who freely choose to own both a car and nowhere private to park it.

A'community' which thinks it is entitled to use public roads for its own personal parking is a selfish community.

AnonymousApril 19th 2011.

I live in Chorlton and parking can be a nightmare on my road. There are regular mutterings about campaigning for 'residents only' parking - the people who think it is a solution to all parking problems are oblivious to the fact that most of the problems are caused by residents having 2+ cars.

Anon west didsbury residentApril 19th 2011.

Simon12234, you call people selfish for wanting to park near their homes, are you not just as selfish wanting to force them to get rid of their cars? Local residents pay their council tax too you know so we have just as much right to park our cars as anyone else!!

Your idea of £8,500 is plain daft, you are quite right that it will clear the streets of cars but also clear the houses of residents - how will local businesses like that I wonder?

AnonymousApril 19th 2011.

Could it be that some local business does not rely upon local trade? Maybe some of the businesses here would be happier if there were no residents cluttering up what they consider to be the car park for their business and what we have the audacity to call 'home.'

John O'DonnellApril 29th 2011.

The campaign by the local businesses is out of tune with the residents who actually live in the area and can't park near their homes due to visitors to the poncy restaurants, the mosque & the college.

The proposed scheme isn't perfect but to suggest that the current mess should continue so the business owners who don't live in the area can continue making money.

AnonymousApril 30th 2011.

I could not agree more with the above comments.
Simon12234 - I have lived in my house for over 30 years and chose to keep my front garden and park on the road - a far more green option than you promote. Would you suggest that I should now move from my home so that the restaurants can stay in business?

This is not just a question of wanting a parking space, but also of a quality of life without the noise and pollution that the visitors to the restaurants and bars inflict upon us.

AnonymousApril 30th 2011.

"Save West Didsbury"?? YES!! Let's save it from the streets full of parked cars, Burton Rd and Lapwing Lane gridlocked and with cars strewn all over the pavements, making it nearly impossible to walk along. Save it from the early hours car-door banging and shouting up and down our road every night. Let's "Save West Didsbury" from all that by having a sensible parking scheme, including residents-only parking in a few places.

How arrogant and selfish are some of these bars and restaurants, and their customers, who seem to think that it is the duty of the local residents - people who have, in many cases, made massive investments in their property, and pay big council-tax bills - to give over the streets where they live to be car-parks for the benefit of people who come to the area to eat and drink.

The restaurants make money, the visiting customers get a nice night out. What do we get? Noise, congestion, our neighbourhood used as a car-park.

@Simon12234: The suggestion that we should move out to a house with a driveway is ludicrous. Think about that for a second. How selfish do you have to be, that you would demand that someone moves out of their house - so that you've got somewhere to park when you come for a night out? You're a buffoon. If you want to come to West Didsbury and eat and drink, then you can fork out a couple of quid to park. We don't owe you a free parking space outside our house, or anywhere on our street. And frankly, we'd rather you didn't come at all.

The idea that these tiny charges will "drive restaurants out of business" is ludicrous. Bars and cafes have been opening - and closing - for years in West Didsbury, with free parking. Verso has just closed - and there is loads of free parking right outside. And if some of these over-priced trendy joints folded - so what? There will be another one along before you can say "Two mojitos and one of those pink macaroons, please"...

simon12234April 30th 2011.

Anonymous, you bought your house, not the road in front of it. That belongs to all of us, not you.

I think that people who cannot arrange for off-road parking of their cars in crowded areas should not be given reserved parking space on public roads just because they desire it. Let them take their chances with everyone else for parking spaces. Why should the rest of us give them a parking space on our roads for virtually no fee?

I have a certain amount of sympathy for someone who has lived in an area for 30 years and seen it change, but that happens to many people all over the place, especially in cities. The solution is simple - move. It sounds like you'd be better off on some cul-de-sac in a quieter area with easy parking for residents. Manchester is not short of such houses.

Many people in Disdsbury will have moved in more recently, and have been attracted by the fashionable scene including all those bars and restaurants. It'd be ridiculous to give these people a reserved parking space. They knew exactly where they were moving to and how hard parking would be, yet they chose to buy a house there when they could easily have bought one elsewhere with a drive big enough for their cars.

Residents parking schemes are a direct encouragement for car ownership, and no responsible council should be doing that in a crowded city and in times of climate change.

AnonymousApril 30th 2011.

Simon12234 - you have a very simplistic view of life, and me apparently! So I should move should I? Well, I like my house, and my neighbours and my front garden, and the road and area I live in - so why should I move? I am more than happy to pay for a parking permit and stay exacly where I am - never been much of a one for cul-de-sacs (which is where your argument is heading). I assume by "cannot arrange for off road parking" you mean I don't want to tarmac my garden and deprive my road of a green space for people to enjoy and help the environment - too right I don't!

Has it not occured to the restaurant owners that this scheme could actually be a benefit for them - they will get a greater turnover of customers (and honestly, who cannot eat a meal in two hours) and they could make a feature of paying their customers parking fees for them (a whopping £1.20). In addition, the proposed hours are from 3 o'clock onwards, so the lunch time customers will not be affected at all. Surely if all these bars and restaurants are worth visiting, it must be worth paying to park to go there (or they could use a cab and have drink too)! Are their customers really so fickle?

Eddy ClarksonApril 30th 2011.

Cars are more important than people.

Simon SmithApril 30th 2011.

So Anonymous, what you are saying is that you want a parking permit at a ridiculously low price because you can't be bothered to arrange off-road parking for your car.

Nobody makes you live where you live. Nobody forces you to own a car. Nobody cares about your beloved garden except you.

If those who visit local businesses are to be charged £1.20 for two hours parking on Didsbury's streets then why not charge local residents who wish to park their cars on those same streets the same fees?

At 60p per hour I make that about £5200 per year. If guaranteed reserved spaces are made available to the residents then they should be charged at a much higher rate to relfect the amenity provided.

We need to look beyond the selfishness of those who regard the public road near their home as parking space for their vehicles.

Eddy Anonymous SimonMay 1st 2011.

My name is neither Simon or Anonymous - you can come and park outside my house if you want.

AnonymousMay 1st 2011.

Wow - lots of Simon's all with the same view point, how curious! All restaurant owners, not residents I suspect...

I agree, Simon Smith, no-one forces me to live here (what an odd idea, enforced residence!) - I love living in West Didsbury! From the comments I get, it seems my garden is also enjoyed by my neighbours and passers-by and hopefully makes the area a pleasanter place for them to live. And don't forget, West Didsbury is a conservation area, you can't just chop down trees willy-nilly to make a car park out of your front gardens at whim (not that I would ever want to).

A point that also need to be made - those of my neighbours who do have driveways also suffer from the restaurant-goers parking habits (generally poor and inconsiderate) and frequently struggle to get in and out of their own drive-ways - what's your glib solution to that?

This isn't just an issue about parking spaces anyway - it's about the quality of life for those of us to whom West Didsbury is a place to call home - when my kids were growing up here, they could play out up and down the street with their mates in relative safety - now the pavements are blocked by parked cars and the road is a rat run for people leaving the restaurantsand bars with little regard for the residents.

Frankly, if you can afford to drive to West Didsbury to eat out, you can surely afford a couple of quid to park?

Eddie StobartMay 1st 2011.

I'm with Simon. It's time we cracked down hard on these selfish 'residents', with their "quality of life" and "keeping their gardens" nonsense.

It's about time that they realised that as car owning bar and restaurant goers, it's our right to park where we like, any time of the day or night, for free - and that the owners of the establishments we visit are perfectly entitled to use the surrounding streets as their customer car-parks.

Yes, these 'homeowners' have sunk hundreds of thousands of pounds into their mortgages, and pay the council tax like the rest of us - but get real, residents! What makes you think you have the right to enjoy a quiet neighbourhood, and to park on the street near your own houses? Let them either move out, or dig their gardens up for driveways. That's fair isn't it? After all, the rights of visitors to a neighbourhood surely have precedence over people who actually live there!!

Why should people like us have to fork out up to £2.00 to park in the area, when we come for a night out? Even split between four people, that's very nearly the price of a small cappucino for one of us!

They should think themselves lucky we are coming to West Didsbury at all, and putting money into the pockets of local hostelries. After all, the owners of the bars and restaurants give a share of their profits to the local residents, to compensate for the noise, smell, and congestion - don't they?

CynicMay 1st 2011.

The "Save West Didsbury" campaign does NOT represent the views of all the residents and business owners and should most definitely not be regarded as being "The Voice of the People". Far from it. It is just the mouthpiece for those opposed to the parking plans, mostly business owners and one self-interested politician.

Speaking of which, Labour's David Ellison (for it is he) complains loudly that the plans are "Lib-Dem backed". He's obviously forgotten that his Labour colleague, Lucy Powell, is an enthusiastic backer of the plan, who shouted from the rooftops that she had helped bring it to fruition. Get your story straight, Dave.

Simon SmithMay 2nd 2011.

I have no objection to non-residents parking on the road near my house. I live in a less crowded area than Disdbury's eatery festooned streets. I have off-road parking for about 5 and own only one.

I could move to Didsbury to a house with no off-road parking and buy another car too. If I chose to do this why should I be given reserved parking on crowded public roads for a few pence a week when I have chosen my predicament myself?

It seems to me that many of Didsbury's residents have a certain idea of what they think there area should be like. They can't accept the area's character has changed, as often happens in cities. The time has come for them to enjoy what the area has become or move elsewhere. They should cease their absurd sense of ownership of the area based on buying a house there, and realise that they live in an area used for business and businesses need customers.

Perhaps many Disbury residents should do what many people do when they get a bit older and fail to see the benefits of living in a vibrant and crowded city area - move to a quiet area out in the far flung suburbs where the rest of the pipe and slipper brigade live. That's a better bet than waiting for Didsbury to return to the pleasant place it once was - that's not going to happen!

Eddy O'ReillyMay 2nd 2011.

Parking and traffic problems are always someone else's fault.

Rowena RobertsMay 3rd 2011.

I don't think that the Save West Didsbury campaign is against all parking plans per se, just this particular proposal, which they argue is unfit for purpose and will have disadvantages for everyone, not just for businesses. Will residents really benefit from fewer parking spaces for all? Will residents of neighbouring and already crowded roads likewise benefit from parking displacement? Will residents who have company cars benefit by not being entitled to a free permit for their car, even if it's the only car they have? What about visitors being charged pay and display to park on Burton Road between 8am and 6pm, even though there are plenty of spaces on that road between standard office hours (if you don't believe me, go and count them right now). And therefore not being able to stay for longer than two hours, meaning they can get their hair done OR browse the shops, eat dinner OR go to the pub - or just visit their local friends for up to two hours at a time. The gripes against the scheme don't just belong to businesses.

Simon ConnollyMay 3rd 2011.

'the owners of bars and restuarants give a share or their profits to local residents...' ? er, yes.. business rates, VAT, PAYE, corporation tax. That's all before contributions to The Christie Charitable Fund, Francis House Childrens Hospice, Cavendish Primary PTA and countless other local charities.
' - people who have, in many cases, made massive investments in their property, and pay big council-tax bills' - are we forgetting that a crucial reason house prices and hence council tax levels are so elevated is because of the amenities ie restaurants, shops and cafes (some of which have been here much longer than many, not all, residents)? We can't have our cupcake and eat it.
This isn't a resident v business owner fight - I, amongst many, are both.
There are parking issues that need addressing - but not by a scheme that benefits only council coffers. Too many residents have been duped into thinking this scheme will benefit them. The scheme proposed was a knee jerk reaction by the council addressing 'the concerns of a small number of residents on a small number of streets' (I quote an unmamed parliamentarian) and spotting the chance to make some easy money.
We need an integrated plan that takes into account the needs of residents, the concerns of business, the impact of the metrolink, the safety of our children (I refer to parking meters outside Cavendish Primary and the suggestion by a LibDem councillor that parents could drop their 3, 4 and 5 year olds off outside school and let them walk in alone!) and environmental issues.
The scheme encourages car ownership and discourages use of the city car club project the council pretends to support. It does nothing to discourage HMOs and flat conversions - surely everyone understands that the number of residents' cars is a major contributor to the parking problem, even though the bars and restaurants are an easy scapegoat. Indeed, anyone who owns a car in an area built in Victorian/Edwardian times need to shoulder a little responsibility.
The narrowing of Burton Road will not help congestion especially if we continue with the semingly bizarre bus routing, and no, I don't think vans on pavements help. Sometimes I think congestion and parking merge into one murky problem.
We should all demand our city planners and transport executives come up with a proper plan and not rely upon complaints of residents and the reactions of business. This scheme is lazy, the consultation process deeply flawed and we risk missing an opportunity to enhance this great suburb in which we live (and work).

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