COUNCILLORS and residents in Christchurch and Highcliffe have been angered by leaked plans for a zonal parking scheme.

BCP Council has said it is currently “looking at all options” to do with traffic management following a busy summer which saw thousands of visitors come to Dorset during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although Dorset Police and Covid Marshals stepped up patrols of the beach and tow away zones were introduced for people leaving their cars by the roadside, councillors and residents have called for more deterrents ahead of this summer.

However, one of the ideas being considered is the introduction of 230 parking spaces in residential areas in Highcliffe and the enforcement of a no parking zone along Avon Run Road between Mudeford and Friars Cliff.

Bournemouth Echo:

In a statement about the summertime parking restrictions, Cllr Nigel Brooks, Ward Councillor for Highcliffe and Walkford said: “A totally different approach has now been put forward as the only way to proceed.

“The daily rates and periods would not be dissimilar to the Waterford Road, ‘Cliffhanger’ public car park.

“In many roads this would even replace existing yellow line summertime restrictions.

“Ward and Parish Councillors and community leaders have totally rejected a ‘Zonal Parking’ approach.”

The roads indicated to be within the ‘zone’ include Studley Close, Loraine Avenue, Abingdon Road, Chewton Lodge, Bute Drive, and Oakleigh Way.

If successful, the parking bays would be marked out and chargeable from early April to the end of October, and there would be no free parking in these roads during these periods.

Residents who would want to park in the bays would have pay the period parking fee or buy an annual permit at £60.00. Businesses would have to pay £200.00 per annum.

Bournemouth Echo: Wharncliffe Road in Highcliffe will be closed for 26 days

The two roads with the highest number of bays would be Wharncliffe Road, with approximately 52, and Montagu Road, which would have around 42 spaces.

Residents have expressed frustration about the lack of consultation, and Highcliffe Residents' Association has written to BCP Council leader Drew Mellor regarding the proposal.

Elsewhere in Christchurch, the enforcement of the Zonal Parking scheme will see Avon Run Road, one of the main access routes to Avon Beach, turned into a through road with no street parking.

Bournemouth Echo:

Ward Councillor for Mudeford, Stanpit and West Highcliffe Cllr Lesley Dedman said: “The situation we have here is from Mudeford, Friars Cliff, right down to Stream Point, parking has been absolutely abysmal.

“Paul Hilliard and I have been having lot of talks with residents about this and pretty much everyone we spoke to said that something has to be done about this, and we think we have come up with a solution to it.

“Park officers have suggested that for the coast roads, especially Avon Run, there should be passing places along it and there will be a couple off bays where people will have to pay for the privilege but, for the most part, there will be no parking along it.

“This is not a quick fix; this has been well thought out and discussed to include to concerns of residents, but I think it will work.”

This scheme will include permits for residents, but further consultation from ward councillors will take place to include the concerns of residents in the area.

BCP Council have said that this proposal is one of many traffic congestion management schemes currently being considered and have stressed that “nothing has been decided” at this stage.

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Mike Greene

Councillor Mike Greene, Portfolio Holder for Transport, said: “We know there are hotspot areas in the conurbation which are impacted more than others and I have been discussing with ward councillors the possibility of introducing regulated and strictly enforced parking zones.

"Just putting in yellow lines merely displaces the problem to the neighbouring area, and we are still left with the high cost of enforcement.

“In the end, I believe we need to accept that the roads belong to all BCP residents, not just the frontages, and our road network costs a huge amount to maintain.”

The council say that the marking and charging of parking bays will not only improve traffic and pedestrian safety but help supplement the payment of traffic enforcement officers.

Cllr Greene added: “Through charging those that want to park in these premium locations, we can pay for the enforcement our residents want and help contribute to the upkeep of our roads.

“It also encourages people to use the car parks first and to recognise that taking the car is not a ‘free option’.

“Residents living in the zones will be eligible for annual permits for a low fee and we are also looking at how we might provide BCP residents living outside the zones a discounted price for a season ticket to many car parks and these zones.

"This is about managing the numbers that park responsibly whilst supporting residents. Finding a balance between all of these competing pressures is what we are currently looking at and we are still in planning phase.

"Where ward councillors would like to look at these options, they have been involved in refining the proposals that will then be put to their residents as part of a proper Traffic Regulation Order consultation process where everyone will be invited to have their say.

"However, where ward councillors reject the idea, we have made it clear to them that we will not go to public consultation or progress the schemes."