Anyone walking our streets this summer cannot fail to notice the number of vehicles routinely parked on verges. For months now there has been a particular cluster on the short section of Queen Edith’s Way between Nightingale Avenue and Wulfstan Way. On occasion I have counted as many as 13 vans and cars parked along this stretch, which is barely more than 100m long. This (taken a couple of months ago) was one of the more outrageous examples of how legitimate users of this space are then inconvenienced and endangered:
I have remonstrated with drivers and called out Parking Enforcement officers more times than I can remember. I’ve also discussed it with County Cllr Alex Beckett and County Highways Officers, but the evidence is that these efforts have failed to reduce the problem. And that’s because what we’re seeing on Queen Edith’s Way is simply a concentrated version of what residents all over the city are experiencing, namely a huge surge in the number of properties undergoing major extensions/
Look at this image taken from the City Council planning portal:
Of the 19 residential properties along that stretch, 8 have had planning approval given for major works (mostly two-floor extensions) since late 2019. Given the delays in executing those approvals caused by the pandemic, it’s not surprising that much of this work is now going on simultaneously. And with multiple trades attending each site, it’s simply not possible for their vehicles to be accommodated within the red line. So vehicles end up on the verges, whatever assurances are given in a Construction Management Plan, and in such numbers that no enforcement activity is capable of dealing with the scale of the problem.
People have a right to develop their property, and given the financial incentives which the Cambridge property market provides, they are inevitably going to want to maximise the value generated by doing so, and hence the scale of the development. BUT this also generates unmanaged negative externalities to which we simply don’t seem to have an effective solution. I’ve raised it with Exec Cllr for Planning, Building Control and Infrastructure, Katie Thornburrow, in the hope that we can find a better policy approach in the next Local Plan. But I’m not holding my breath.