Thursday, 11 February 2010

Proposal to ban coaches from Vauxhall Gardens

I've seen an email forward from Cllr Steven Morgan to say that after a petition and resident complaints, the council are proposing the banning of coaches from Vauxhall Gardens in April 2010 (the email doesn't say what happens after that, but I'm presuming it's intended to be a permanent ban).

Here is a draft map of the proposed area that it will cover. It's comprehensive, with the South boundary being Kennington Lane and the East boundary being Black Prince Road.

Comments should go to Akin Akinrujomu.


Anonymous said...

That's fine. The question now is where will the problem be pushed on to... Oughtn't some official provision for coach parking be made rather than a ban, which won't address the basic issue of demand.

Anonymous said...

A few points from someone who has been involved in campaigning against the coaches in Vauxhall Gardens and has spent time speaking to the drivers:

There is strong local feeling over this issue and we have campaigned for over 5 years to get them banned. We gathered over 400 signatures from local people for a ban on parking on local streets. I believe the only reason they've parked here for so long is that the estate residents are less politically astute than our neighbours in better off parts of Kennington. They of course wouldn't get away with parking in Cleaver Square.

The coaches originate from UK towns and mainly bring people in for Saturday afternoon West End theatre matinees.

They started parking outside our homes in Vauxhall Gardens after they were banned from residential streets in Waterloo. Of course, by banning them in VGE the problem will be shifted elsewhere. Lambeth were reluctant to ban them for exactly this reason. But one group of residents shouldn't be made to suffer over another.

The coach drivers are given parking money by the coach companies (according to the drivers we've spoken to). There is commercial parking available for them down the road at New Covent Garden Market but there is a charge for this. If coach drivers park on public streets they are able to pocket the parking money. There was a coach park facility where the St Georges Wharf complex is now located, so arguably Lambeth should have allocated new space for the coaches when this land was developed.

Lambeth have mentioned to us they are looking at providing coach parking facilities elsewhere in the borough. Although I personally believe this matter would better be dealt with on a London-wide level as it affects multiple London authorities.

The problem is primarily on Saturdays and primarily in summer where we see over 100 coaches parked outside our homes. Sundays see about 30% of Saturday's level. We're already (mid-Feb) seeing 20 coaches on Saturdays parked on Glasshouse Walk and Tyers Street. The coaches park from ~11am-5pm.

They usually leave their engines running to allow the drivers to have a nap in comfort with air conditioning/heating. Having a coach 2-3 metres from your lounge/bedroom window is rather annoying -- they are noisy, polluting (diesel fumes) and remove what little privacy we have (all you can see when you look outside your window is a coach).

Many of the streets are narrow and as the housing is high density there are many young children around. The coaches park very close together, so crossing the road can be dangerous as oncoming cars can't see you.

We have asked drivers not to park outside our homes and not to leave their engines running - doing this occasionally results in a torrent of abuse, though some drivers are considerate. Kate Hoey has written to the coach companies concerned asking them not to park outside our homes but unfortunately this made no difference.

SE11 Lurker said...

Many thanks to the second anonymous for such a long and detailed post re. the history of the coach parking.

I think you're spot on re. the point about the lack of political astuteness of local residents (although sometimes getting things done can be so wearying). Indeed, I sometimes think that Lambeth overall gets a raw deal because we're not organised enough to object to what anybody chooses to impose. Of course coaches would never get away with parking in Cleaver Square, or over the river in Westminster either. And no community, however unastute, should have to put up with having the coaches on their doorsteps. Banning them from the VGE will probably just move them on again, but Waterloo evicted them, so why should Vauxhall residents have to suffer?

Your point about the parking money is well received. The pocketing of the money by the drivers is inexcusable, if they do in fact have officially designated spots to park in.

I agree that it's a London wide issue, and banning them from one area will just result in them shifting to another. I wonder where they'll go next?

Anonymous said...

If they are pocketing the parking money then the effective countermeasure would be punitive fines for coaches parking anywhere except designated areas. As the second poster suggests, this would only work if introduced on a London-wide basis by City Hall.

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