Since becoming a County Councillor two years ago I have been grappling with the issue of parking that was making life a misery for residents of the Poppyfields estate opposite Kettering General Hospital.
When the roads were developed by a builder about ten years ago they were not finished to a satisfactory standard and the County Council were therefore unable to take them over and adopt them as a public highway. This has meant in effect that they remained in the private ownership of the builder and has meant that no repairs or maintenance has been carried out.
This also meant that the County Council, the local Borough Council, and indeed the police have not had any powers to put in or enforce any kind of parking restrictions. This in turn has given the residents huge problems because they have suffered from a massive amount of non-residential parking from both staff and users of the hospital which not only meant residents could often not find places to park themselves, but also led to huge amounts of parking cars blocking junctions, parking on pavements and blocking access to delivery vans and emergency services.
There are parking problems in many parts of Kettering and all councillors have to deal with similar issues almost on a daily basis but this area was by far the worst I have ever seen and I suspect was probably one of the worst areas in the whole of the county and it seemed so unfair as none of the fault for this lay with local residents.
I have had numerous meetings with council officers, the councillor responsible for highways, residents and the police all to no avail but at last the problem seems to have been solved.
As the road is private property and partly because of the bad publicity the original builder was receiving, he has agreed to allow a private parking firm to come in and put in rules to stop inappropriate parking.
It was quite a challenge to find a scheme that more than 200 residents would find acceptable but after long negotiations with both residents and the parking company I was able to put forward a proposal that has the support of residents and is a workable solution for the company.
No longer will just anybody be able to park on the roads and no longer will anybody blocking pavements and junctions be able to get away with it. Since the new scheme started last month hundreds of parking fines have been issued, despite warning signs being placed all over the estate, and residents report that at long last the problem seems to be solved with they and their guests and visitors are now actually able to park without problems.
I am really pleased how things have worked out and have been gratified by the messages of support I and the parking company have received in support from long suffering residents.