Parking permit scheme approved for streets near Sunderland hospital

Sunderland Council leader Paul Watson with residents of St Gabriel's Avenue during a walkabout with fellow councillor Jim Blackburn to discuss the problems faced by the housegolders due to hospital parking.
Sunderland Council leader Paul Watson with residents of St Gabriel's Avenue during a walkabout with fellow councillor Jim Blackburn to discuss the problems faced by the housegolders due to hospital parking.
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A TRAFFIC committee has overturned objections to press ahead with a scheme aimed at beating hospital parking problems.

Sunderland City Council has put forward plans for a residents’ permit scheme aimed at bringing an end to decades of parking misery in the clogged streets around Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Residents were balloted on a street-by-street basis on whether or not they wanted to join the scheme.

Twelve streets are now included in the first phase of the scheme.

Dozens of residents submitted objections to the traffic order which will make the scheme legal, but the council’s planning and highways committee decided to approve the plans.

Chairman Phil Tye said: “Many of the concerns were that the zones didn’t go far enough into the streets, but obviously there was a vote.”

He added: “What we said was we’ll proceed with the streets that are going ahead straightaway, and keep an eye on the situation.

Coun Tye said the first phase of the scheme was a pilot which was likely to be extended further in the area and to other parts of the city where there are parking problems.

“This has cross-party support. Every councillor at the meeting spoke in support of it – which for a parking permit scheme I don’t think has ever been known. They can be very controversial.”

The parking scheme is designed to stop commuters, such as hospital workers, from parking in residential streets.

The council received six objections to the scheme, which included complaints that certain streets had been omitted and would, therefore, suffer from overspill.

There was a petition with more than 40 signatures opposing restrictions in the Hylton Road area, particularly Wilson Street and Wilbur Street, organised by staff from the hospital’s pharmacy department.

Alan Dixon, secretary of St Bede United Reformed Church in Sorley Street said the proposed options for permits would not meet the needs of parishioners.

He added: “We feel it is unfair to class the church as a business. We are a charity and as such have no way to recoup the cost.”

Peter White, of West Park, Herrington, objected that the proposed signs marking the traffic scheme would cause problems for people with disabilities.

He said: “I am writing to object to the following as I think the signs at the entry/exit gateways are misleading to disabled persons/disabled badgeholders and as such discriminate against the disabled persons.”

Traffic chiefs said the proposed signs had been recommended by the Department for Transport and the traffic regulation order made it clear blue badge holders would be able to park without a permit.

They said there had not been enough support for the parking management scheme in omitted streets mentioned in objections, but if there was substantial overspill and the majority of residents agreed, these streets could be included in an extension after the pilot scheme.

Traffic officers also rebutted the objections from the pharmacy department.

In a report, they said: “Both Wilson Street and Wilber Street have been constructed with lay-bys to provide on-street parking, intended for the use of visitors to the area including pick-up and drop-off at the nursery. Long-stay commuter parking prevents these lay-bys from being used as intended.”

Officers added that St Bede’s Church was on the edge of the zone and parishoners would be able to use unrestricted streets, while classing the church as a business meant it could apply for more permits.

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