TRAFFIC chiefs have unveiled the next steps for the project aimed at ending parking misery around Sunderland Royal Hospital.
People living in Millfield, Pallion and Barnes have battled for years to put an end to cluttered streets and parking chaos resulting from the overspill from the hospital’s car park.
Sunderland Council put forward plans for residents-only parking zones in the area, but two previous proposals were voted down by residents.
Now a scaled-back scheme is being introduced for 12 streets, and the draft Traffic Regulation Orders needed to make the scheme legal have been drawn up with input from councillors and residents.
Council leader Paul Watson, who also represents the Pallion ward, joined residents for a walkabout to discuss details and concerns about the scheme.
He said: “The city council has worked very closely with residents on a manageable and balanced scheme in the streets most affected by this long-running issue.”
The draft orders are now subject to a three-week consultation, with residents and businesses in the proposed parking management areas able to meet council traffic officers to discuss the proposals.
Susan Adamson, of St Gabriel’s Estate, who represents the Barnes, Pallion and Millfield Residents’ Association, said: “We’re all very hopeful and keen to see the scheme work and help deal with the ongoing parking problem here.”
Lib Dem councillor Paul Dixon, who represents Millfield, said: “I’m happy with the scheme. It’s coming along great and unless there are any problems it should be in place for Christmas.”
Coun Dixon said he was disappointed the scheme was smaller than first intended, but is pleased the council has agreed to extend it to other streets if residents agree after the first six months.
The concern is that cars will simply pile into the streets where residents’ parking zones are not in force in the meantime.
Barnes councillor and former Tory leader Lee Martin is also pleased to see a “workable” scheme being introduced – but is less happy with the council’s handling of the project.
He called the hospital overspill situation “the longest-running saga since Coronation Street” and slated the council for not “taking more leadership”.
The scheme means no parking in the specified zones from 10am to 11am and 2pm to 3pm, targeted at hospital workers who need to park all day and afternoon visitors.
Residents will get one permit free, and must pay £20 for a second, rising in £20 increments for each additional vehicle after that.
An annual visitor permit will cost £40, but only one will be available per address.
The Parking Management Scheme would be enforced by Sunderland Council and penalty charge notices would be issued to drivers flouting the parking restrictions.