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CPZ proposal causes controversy in Cheriton

This evening, a significant proportion of Cheriton residents packed into Cheriton Baptist Church for a meeting about the proposed Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in Cheriton. The meeting was hosted by the Folkestone & Hythe District Councillors for Cheriton – Rebecca Shoob and Mike & Polly Blakemore – all of whom are in the Green Party. It took so long to get around 200-250 people inside the building that the meeting started around 10 minutes after it was due to, with people who couldn’t get in still stood out on the street (left).

Councillor Mike Blakemore takes to the mic in front of a packed hall to discuss the proposed Cheriton CPZ
Councillor Mike Blakemore starts proceedings

Councillor Mike Blakemore kicked off proceedings with an introduction. It wasn’t long before he was interrupted by shouts from angry residents and business owners, asking why this is being proposed. One called for a show of hands right then as to who is against the proposal, and nearly all people in the hall put their hands up. Councillor Blakemore stated that the proposals were not the Council’s doing, but the result of a number of requests for a CPZ, assuring the room that the Councillors called the meeting to gauge opinion, listen to concerns and answer questions and would remain neutral. One business owner was quite vociferous throughout the start of the meeting, though left after having his say. Someone asked whether any of these proposers were present and wouldn’t mind breaking anonymity to explain why they are in favour. One brave man stood up and said that, in Trimworth Road, he is having great difficulty with commuters parking (there is a CPZ around Folkestone West station from 9-11am) and other vehicles left there for weeks on end. A lady from Limes Road sympathised with the commuter issue, recognising that she’s outside the proposed zone, yet a blanket restriction across Cheriton would leave her “absolutely stuffed” as she would never be able to park in her road or anywhere near. It was clear this was going to be a heated debate!

CPZ concerns

Despite assurances that this has come about because residents requested it, several people saw it as a tax. It was explained that parking schemes must be self-funding per Government requirements, that Council policy allows them to approve up to three CPZs per year when requested, and that £42 makes it one of the cheapest schemes in Kent. Apparently, 1,040 homes were consulted. The overall feeling was that the proposed CPZ would be mostly detrimental to Cheriton, particularly its businesses. There was concern that not everyone was able to consult – some residents live outside the zone but have to park in other roads already; not only can they not consult, but they won’t be eligible for a permit. It was explained this is an interim poll of residents and businesses within the CPZ and there would be an opportunity for everyone to consult later… but only if this initial survey shows a majority in favour. If the feelings in the hall are anything to go by, this seems unlikely to go any further. People still worried that the service users of Cheriton were not being consulted, however, thus it was not a representative consultation. A child carer stated that her staff would be unable to come to work if they cannot park and it would similarly affect her clients.


Some claims made by Councillors raised eyebrows. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

CLAIM: It is a Government requirement that parking restrictions are self-financing.

There is statutory Government guidance on enforcement of parking contraventions that suggests it should aim to be self-financing, but this is not a requirement. If it is not, the Council would have to fund it from existing funding, rather than using taxpayers’ money. Effectively, it is common sense for the scheme to be self-financing.

CLAIM: Council policy dictates that they may create up to three CPZs in the district per year, when requested.

The Council’s policy documents page on the website has no policy on parking enforcement. CPZs do not come up in the Corporate Plan and it does not appear that parking is mentioned in the Constitution or the CPZ FAQs. We are more than happy to update this if someone wants to link us to the relevant policy!

CLAIM: A number of people requested a CPZ within Cheriton.

It is factual to say a number of people requested a CPZ in their road. The number is 5. It has not been confirmed whether the proposed zone was drawn solely based on their data (e.g. a resident in each corner), or – if built around their roads – how the proposal was determined.

CLAIM: £42 is (one of) the cheapest residents’ parking permits in Kent.

At the meeting, it was stated that this is “one of” the cheapest parking permits. However, the party has previously stated on Facebook that “Charges here (£42 a year) are lower than elsewhere in Kent”. This is factually incorrect. The following table includes data (where available) from all Councils in Kent, including Medway (a unitary authority separate from the Kent County Council area):

Ashford Borough Council£35 (Zones D-G) / £55 (Zone B) / £120 (Zone A)
Canterbury City CouncilFrom £58 (Whitstable) / £60 (Herne Bay) / £65 (Canterbury)
Dartford Borough CouncilInformation only supplied to residents via portal
Dover District Council£40-120 (Dover & Deal except Zone 2), £65-180 (Deal Zone 2 & Sandwich) emissions-based scale
Gravesham Borough CouncilInformation not available (£40 processing fee for Zone C)
Maidstone Borough Council£25
Sevenoaks District Council£50 1st permit (no off-street parking), £100 (1 off-street space) etc.; possible reduction for EVs
Swale Borough Council£45
Thanet District Council£75.50
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council£52 with 10 free visitor permits
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council£70 (Zones HA, HB & PW) / £90 (Zones A-G)
Medway Council£33
This table makes it clear the cheapest parking permit in Kent is £25, with four other permits cheaper than £42. Conversely, there are a few permits that cost more than £100.

CLAIM: It is incorrect that the garages in Station Road are included in the proposed CPZ; Station Road has its own CPZ.

Our Vice Chair made this point, to which Councillor Polly Blakemore stated she had seen his e-mail to the Council and he was wrong on this (this e-mail exchange also included the number of requests for a CPZ). If you look at the map, you can clearly see that, whilst the actual road may not be included in the CPZ, the buildings on the northeast side are. These buildings are garages. Furthermore, the first few properties north of them in Cheriton Road already have double yellow lines, thus don’t need to be included in a CPZ. If these properties aren’t in the proposed CPZ, the map is inaccurate!

Other Councillors were also present, notably Rory Love and Dylan Jeffery from Kent County Council and Jane Darling (right) from Folkestone Town Council. Councillor Darling asked whether there might be anywhere for provision of a car park, or whether the Broomfield Road car park could be spruced up.

If you live in the proposed CPZ area and haven’t yet responded to the consultation, you may do so online or get a paper form either by calling Folkestone & Hythe District Council (see letter) or pop into Folkestone Printing and they will print you off a form. For those not in the CPZ who are curious, the consultation was shared on the Folkestone & Hythe Liberal Democrats’ website. Entries must be received by 19 April.

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