FAMILIES living in the middle of Grays and Stanford-le-Hope are to get a chance to say whether they want a good news gift from Thurrock Council.
The council’s cabinet agreed on Wednesday (12 December) evening that resident parking permits – for up to two cars per household – will be free from 1 April next year – subject to the outcome of a consultation.
Families wanting permits for a third vehicle would still have to pay.
Cllr Angie Gaywood, portfolio holder for public protection, said after Wednesday’s meeting: “The controlled parking zones were brought in to allow people to park on the street, close to their homes and not have to compete with commuters using the nearby railway stations.
“While these permits do not guarantee a parking space outside residents own homes they do provide the assurance of general parking availability in a residential area where there are often no garages or driveways.”
She added that the council had considered operating a paid-for permit system around Ockendon station in recent years, but residents were not keen.
However she said she recognises the problem of commuter parking in residential areas is increasing – particularly in South Ockendon – and has pledged the council would consider, subject to funds being available, the introduction of free permit schemes in these other problem areas of the borough.
A review of the current permit system which only affects the two areas, showed that 1,153 residents’ parking permits and 1,929 visitors’ parking permit sheets were issued in 2011-12, bringing in £36,940.
“In these undoubtedly difficult financial times, I think everyone who will still get the benefits of having a resident’s permit without the cost will agree this is a great improvement.
“We have also decided to provide the first book of visitor parking permits for free. However to discourage excessive car ownership in these areas where parking availability is limited we will be charging for a third resident parking permit and subsequent visitor permits.”
In 11-12 in Grays, 921 residents’ parking permits were issued to 668 households with 464 applying for one permit, 155 for two and 49 for the maximum of three. In Stanford 232 permits were issued to 175 households. Of these, 126 were for one permit, 38 for two and 11 for three.