Friday, September 10, 2010

Vale Road perspectives

On one side we have the council saying that they want to have a fair and consistent policy for the car parking within Wyre Forest and on the other the residents who want free parking.

Presented like that the council seem to have the upper hand; why should the residents of Mitton Gardens get free parking when everyone else is paid; hardly fair is it?

The key perhaps is in the consistency part. As I joked on the video consistency is only a virtue if you're not a screw-up; but it's also only a virtue if you're applying it items that can be grouped together.

From the council's point of view these are car-parks; they alter only in size and that determines whether they should be short or long-term stays. Therefore it is only right and natural that they are treated in the same manner. However imagine that I owned a piece of land in Stourport and another identically sized piece of land in the City of London and decided to sell them both. I think all reading would agree that the land in London would fetch a higher price, but why? After all in essence both pieces of land are identical.

That's because their surroundings aren't identical and that has a large impact on things. So to take the current situation - there is little to no free parking in Stourport in the long-term. The High Street and York Street bays are highly time-limited and there are no odd side roads that you can just park in and access the town. This is in contrast to Kidderminster and to an extent Bewdley.

As such the car-parks in Stourport cannot be treated in the same manner as car-parks in these other towns, the surroundings alter their character. Now if they're different it is incorrect to impose a consistent approach to dealing with them - they have to be examined on their own merits.

Consider the new Tesco. When they applied for building permission they had to submit various impact assessments; why? These reports had nothing to do with the core situation of building a store and selling goods, but it was known that it was likely to have an impact on its surroundings.

So now consider switching the Vale Road car-park from free to pay. Can that not be considered to have a similar impact as building a Tesco store? If so did the council perform similar impact assessments to determine how this would affect the surrounding areas?

If so where are they? If not, why not?

What would the impact be? Well it seems the council have fallen into the same trap as the music industry. When calculating money lost to pirating they assume that everyone with a stolen song would have bought it had the pirated version not been available. In the same terms it seems the council assume that everyone who currently parks for free in Vale Road would pay once that option has been removed.

It's a matter of time and effort. For those who use it as parking for work why should they pay to park in Vale Road when they can park for the same amount of money on the Riverside and be both closer to the town and not have to play dodge the traffic. For the residents tempers will no doubt fray as they try to find spots around Mitton Gardens and Severn Road while at the same time providing yet more obstructions in a town that already suffers from jamming.

In other words the economic benefits of a pay car-park could well be outweighed by the very impact of creating it.


Unknown said...

to clarify a few things in this otherwise great sitrep.

It is not the residents of Mitton Gardens that want free parking. I live on this unadopted street and all of the houses here either have drives or enough room to park outside on the track. The problem for Mitton Gardens is that it will fill up with the cars pushed out of vale road car park. by the users of the car park and a huge amount of visitors to the vets as well as other residents from the wider Mitton area. once cars park along the hedge line, they prevent vehicles on drives being able to get in or out, both easily or safely. should one have to do 10 shunts just to go out to work. for me this is last reason I am objecting to this parking order.

homes directly affected where vale road is their only option include Mitton Close and all the alleyways there, Gilgal, Mitton Street, Severn Road, Lion Hill, Lodge Road and to an extent all of the flats in the the town centre.

One will see a view on the petition from a student nurse who bought her house on the basis of this free car park. The 2nd caller to the radio on wednesday evening applied for permission for a drive at 7 mitton Street some 18yrs ago. it was refused on safety grounds and told that you have plenty of available parking in Vale Road.

and thanks for this dissemination flip, i shall pick up your points and run with them. i have been frustrated because it was not gifted but bouthg under the ribbon development acxt 1935. it is my belief that this happened to provide some protection to Mitton Gardens, free availability to the Car Park itself for all local residents without other optiuons and probably to remove any doubt as to back handers.

Can we all please remember that Thomas Vale Loved this town and sold, gifted,constructed many sites and buildings during his time here as a philanthropsit. He, along with other fine thinking merchants & manufacturers around here, is very close to being one of the forebears to our current welfare system. And his family are furious.

lastly, Marcus hart keeps suggesting rumour & myth. well he should go and talk to some old people here, even though I am now telling everyone that there was a transaction in 1947, everybody, without exception says no there was not. still lookihn for the source of the fishiness

FlipC said...

I've struck the word Gardens and just left Mitton which I hope you will find more accurate as describing the area rather than any specific part.

In terms of the free car-park, the first women was also stopped on safety grounds as you state; as for the nurse what do the deeds say? If they indeed include free parking at this car park where did the estate agent get that information. If it was merely stated then sadly it has no weight.

Anyway you're welcome. It's about approaching the argument from the same side as your opponents; otherwise you're just bashing your head against a brick wall.

In terms of the purchase itself, the documentation exists (at least in part). Similarly I can't find anything suspicious that it was only filed with the Land Registry recently as I know personally that due to changes in legislation there was a sudden rush to register land 'properly'.

As for Thomas Vale, indeed while I don't hold to the past simply for its own sake it must be acknowledged and where applicable respected. In this instance we have a self-made businessman who donated and sold land around this area for the betterment of its inhabitants.

Perhaps in the same vein the council should start charging for entry to Brinton Park? I'm sure that would go down well with the "Friends of Brinton Park" attendee one Mr Marcus Hart.

Unknown said...

interestingly, having used the open doors today at Stourport's Freemasons lodge, it turns out that Thomas vale was installed master of Vernon lodge in 1883, his son Fred in 1933 some 11 years after Thomas built the lodge[once again after donating or selling the land preferentially] and in 1936 R.P Vale was the 1st installed masted at a newly formed lodge here in stourport.

more eveidence of his philanthopy and that this so called 'Myth' is in fact more likely to be true.

I have just had a most disturbing conversation with Dave Little[con] who trotted out the company line quite spitefully at me today [popped my head over the parapet, now he knows his enemy]. At the same time he made it very clear the the council will not back down or give up this fight as they did last time and he clearly showed no regard for stourport or its people in regard to this proposal, even though he is a stourport town councillor. this upsets me!

and why is there nothing on the town council website about this either. it is alleged that the whole town council has been against the idea yet with a little digging, not so. Kidderminster as the controlling centre continues to strip Stourport of its strategic amenities yet we still pay more for rates, council tax and parking, amongst other things, than the rest of the district.

FlipC said...

"now he knows his enemy" one of the reasons I don't broadcast my identity.

I don't think Thomas's philanthropy is in question merely its application to this land. The Conservatives are dealing with hard evidence (which I can't fault them for) rather than hearsay and the rumours of gentleman's agreements. while emotionally and to an extent morally the land should remain free to use, it's a difficult fight to take to the council.

Then again so far this hasn't been the council it's been the cabinet, that is a single group of Conservative councillors. With rumour having it that they pull the strings of the other Con members and with their current majority and one "independent" likely to vote their way it would take two Con members to disagree.

This is the price we pay for the way we implement democracy.

Unknown said...

tell me about it. I have been trying keep this as a non political campaign, but this is not how it is now panning out. The funny thing is that the whole country were sayinbg we need change and booted out the last government. well for most of the last government we have had a shockingly run Tory council hgere and yes, WE DID need a change. when will people ever learn that you got to vote locally, even in a general.

This conversation I had and his seeming lack of regard for stourport in general is most disturbing. Admittedly I caught him on his rest time but another campaigner has had a chat with John Holden and he is even less impressed by this man who said I don't reply to emails. you don't appear to be on the register, therefore I shall not speak to you. both of these guys are Cons and are obviously towing the company line. But and this is Significant. To the detriment of their own electorate. I don't care which way anybody votes in this free democratic society, but an elected person has a duty to their wards. So far, this town & district council have shown no intention of fulfilling this duty.

I reckon they know they have got this wrong but simply won't back down on principle in a 'we don't negotiate with terrorists' stand off. This is preposterous. Marcus, be a man and back down.

Tav said...

@Neil: I saw Cllr. John Holden at the local election after the Tesco at Carpets of Worth planning application. He was sincerely worried that he would lose his seat because he didn't (couldn't) speak out for the residents of Mitton. Yet when the votes came in he still won his seat. Go figure!

Tav said...


Warning: This is all speculation, an unfortunately consequence of the secretiveness and evasiveness of the council.

The ' fair, equitable and consistent ' mantra is a front for a hidden agenda.

First look at this from a Tory councillor point of view. You have been asked (more like whipped) to vote for the Wyre Forest Parking Review regardless of whether this is in the interests of your constituents or not. I was there and saw this happen. This is 'a-tough-pill-to-swallow' for any Tory councillor but especially for Cllr. Michael Salter [Mitton, Conservative], Cllr. John Holden [Mitton, Conservative] and Cllr. Julian Phillips [Bewdley & Arley, Conservative]. Out of these three Tory councillors at least Cllr. Phillips said he was disappointed for his constituents, but still voted for the Wyre Forest Parking Review anyway. Cllr. Salter and Cllr. Holden will most likely go incognito, for that's exactly what they did with the Tesco at Carpets of Worth 'attack on Stourport'.

Next the Tory councillor is asked to repeat the line ' fair, equitable and consistent ' if he is approached by a taxpayer. I was at the Cabinet Meeting, I saw this happen. The thing is, as you have pointed out in this blog, it isn't really equitable and consistent. I'm not sure whether they are following a recommendation from the Audit Commission (has this now gone?) facetiously to the letter or they are appeasing the people who complain that parking is free in Stourport so why should I have to pay in Kidderminster. This selfishness must truly belong only to a very small minority, so why are they perusing this?

My theory therefore is that they are trying to raise revenue to fund the shortcoming in the single site. It’s only speculation because the calculations for the single site are kept hush-hush. Perhaps with foresight, Cllr. Fran Oborski [Offmore & Comberton, Liberal] stated that revenue from parking can only be used for parking and it should be a not-for-profit exercise. To which the boilerplate response from Marcus Hart [Conservative] was 'I have seen no such documentation'. :-)