Agenda item

Digital Parking Permits

A report informing the Sub-Committee of the findings of the statutory consultation carried out between 4 August 2022 and 25 August 2022 on the proposed amendment to the Lower Caversham Traffic Regulation Order and seeking approval to carry out a pilot project which will enable the issue of Digital Parking Permits which will not need to be displayed on vehicles.


Further to Minute 9 of the previous meeting, the Executive Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report on the findings of the statutory consultation that had been caried out between 4 August and 25 August 2022 on the proposed amendment to the Lower Caversham Traffic Regulation Order and sought approval for officers to carry out a pilot project which would enable the issue of Digital Permits which would not need to be displayed in vehicles.  Feedback that had been received to the statutory consultation was attached to the report at Appendix 1.

The report explained that the pilot project would include Residents and Visitor parking permits within the chosen area of Lower Caversham, Zone 02R,including the new ward boundaries and that in summary the changes proposed would mean that :

·         Permits were not printed and posted (residents and resident visitor permits);

·         The scheme would no longer require a permit to be displayed in the vehicle (residents and resident visitor permits);

·         Each household would be entitled to purchase in blocks of hours not books, also known as scratchcards (resident visitor permits);

·         Residents would not be asked to allow up to 14 days for these permits to be issued.

Procurement of a new Parking Services contract might lead to a change of supplier within the next 12 months and, if Digital Permits were to go live boroughwide prior to this, a transition plan from the existing system would need to be in place and this would form part of any full rollout plan.

The report stated that during the consultation period 75 returns had been received via the Council’s website and five emails had been received and had been responded to.  The Police were a statutory consultee and had been notified directly and the Traffic Management Officer from the Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police Joint Operations Unit had confirmed there were no concerns from them.  From the consultation hub responses, 39 had supported the idea of Digital Permits, 11 neither objected nor supported and 25 objected.  The analysis had shown that the main reasons for objecting were:

·         Concerns about IT access and literacy;

·         Perceived lack of enforcement action;

·         Data concerns.

From the consultation 39 responses had supported the implementation of a pilot project, 31 responses of these had said it was a good idea and/or an easier system and five responses had supported, but had given no reason for the support.  General feedback had acknowledged that residents would not be subject to postal delays, paperless permits were better for the environment and the resident did not have to worry about the paper permit falling off resulting in enforcement action.  From the 75 responses there were 19 that had included a question, the answers to these questions could be found in the Frequently Asked Questions or via the website and from 29 July to 30 August there had been 681 visits to the website. 

The report explained that should the pilot go ahead the actions that would be taken to alleviate residents’ concerns were as follows:

·         Enforcement activity would be maintained in the pilot area;

·         The enforcement request page would be highlighted;

·         Communications in and outside of the pilot area before and during go live would be increased;

·         Communications such as leaflet drops and a social media presence would be targeted;

·         The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) would be updated to reflect the feedback.

During the pilot officers would ensure additional feedback was gathered such as resident’s feedback regarding ease of use and benefits of the pilot.  The results would be submitted to a meeting in 2023 along with a high-level business case for a proposed boroughwide rollout of digital permits for all permit types.

In answer to a number of questions, Helen Taverner, Parking Services Manager, explained the calculation in respect of visitor permit hours, in particular the overnight provision, and that although the present system had not been set up to provide residents with a renewal reminder this could be included in the procurement specification for the new Parking Services Contract.  Helen also reported that following the previous meeting, when it had been suggested that the facility to enter a vehicle’s registration number on the Council’s website to check if it had a permit should be investigated, General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) would not allow this, but an explanation would be added to the list of FAQs; the consultation had also shown that residents were concerned about such a facility being provided.

Resolved –

(1)     That the consultation feedback, set out in Appendix 1 attached to the report, be noted;

(2)     That the proposed pilot project be implemented and the Assistant Director of Legal and Democratic Services authorised to make the Traffic Regulation Order;

(3)     That respondents to the statutory consultations be informed of the decisions of the Sub-Committee accordingly, following publication of the agreed minutes of the meeting;

(4)     That no public inquiry be held into the proposal.

Supporting documents: