The prospect of a car-free city centre in Brighton has spurred parking campaigners to step up their efforts.
People living in the Surrenden area are responding to a parking consultation which ends tomorrow (Monday 17 February).
They fear that any moves to restrict cars in the centre of Brighton – or ban them altogether – could worsen their problems and turn their streets into an “unplanned car park”.
They said: “Since parking charges were introduced in neighbouring areas, 26 roads around Surrenden Road have become blighted by vans, caravans, lorries and cars parking nose to tail, in some cases for months on end.”
This had, they said, increased the dangers to the hundreds of children attending three local schools, restricted access to people’s homes and prevented families from parking near where they live.
Rynd Smith, one of the leaders of the Surrenden Area Parking Campaign, said: “If the city centre becomes car-free, it is clear that residential streets without parking controls and within walking distance or good public transport links of central Brighton would become primary targets for visitor parking.
“Life here, which is already intolerable, would become unbearable.”
The Surrenden Area Parking Campaign is urging residents to use their vote to support restrictions in the area.
Michael Edwards, another leader of the group, said: “We have been campaigning for five years and now have a chance to safeguard our streets, regain control of our neighbourhood and avoid becoming an unplanned car park in the future.”
A previous consultation by the council in 2015 proved inconclusive but residents said that what was an intolerable situation then has now worsened.
The new consultation invites residents to vote for either a full residential parking zone, a “light touch” scheme which restricts parking for short periods on five days or seven days a week or no scheme at all.
So far, the campaigners have leafleted more than 1,000 properties, updated a campaign website and used Facebook and Twitter to get their message over.
They are also reminding people that they have only one vote per household and that if a household makes multiple votes with different intentions, none of their votes will be counted – “a situation which the council does not properly explain on its website”, they said.
Mr Smith said: “We think the council needs to improve its consultation processes.
“The lack of a proper explanation on its website about how it counts households’ votes is undemocratic and unfair on residents who may have genuinely thought that everyone in the property has a vote.”
The council is expected to announce the result of the survey next month.
If the survey comes out in favour of parking restrictions, detailed proposals including the type and design of a scheme will be put to residents in the summer.
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