One of the recurring themes at meetings of the Executive Committee of the Toastrack Residents Association is the question of parking.

Within the Committee we were unanimous that if we could get by without controlled parking we should do so, but beyond that views diverged. Some thought that the situation had become so bad that a residents' parking scheme was essential, while others believed that there was no justification for it yet.

Argument In favour

Broadly speaking the case in favour was: the parking situation has deteriorated since the consultation in 2001; as restrictions have been imposed elsewhere around the Common, pressure on the Toastrack has increased; we are the final unrestricted streets for those heading for central London; residents in Fulham leave their cars here during the week to save charges on their side of the river; some cars are left for long periods eg as their owners go on holiday (via Gatwick); it is almost impossible to find a space after the school run or a shopping trip (especially during prison visiting hours); activities on the Common (cricket, bowls, tennis, the caf? etc) often take up every space at the Dorlcote end of the Toastrack.

Against

The case against was: for the most part we all manage to get by as we are - there is always a space for residents somewhere, even if not in the right street; we do not want more street signs, towing trucks, fines and prowling traffic wardens with all the rancour that goes with them when mistakes are made or when friends come to stay; the real overcrowding problem is at weekends and at night when the restrictions would not apply anyway; controlled parking would have the effect of restricting access to the Common for tennis players, the bowls crew, children playing football and all the good things about our Common; it will cost £75 per year/car - yet another tax - plus more (at least £1.50 per day) for each of our visitors (and we would only be allowed 50 visitors' tickets at any price); we pay for roads anyway so why should we pay again.

What happened?

First we (that is the say the Committee) did a survey of what our residents wanted. There was a response rate of 62%, of whom 60% were in favour and 34% against parking controls. Nicosia and Patten were the two streets with a majority against controls. The rest were in favour to a greater of lesser degree. The results gave the Committee the mandate to ask Wandsworth Council to consider the matter. The Council decided to act in two stages: first, a consultation procedure would establish the views of views on the principle of parking controls; the second stage would seek views on the details (eg whether to go for 1 hour a day, how to treat off-street parking, etc). The first stage was undertaken at the end of 2006 and showed a majority in favour of controls.

The second stage was undertaken in April 2007 (with results announced on 18 June) which showed a majority in favour of a one-hour restriction for six days of the week.  On the whole, the results of all three surveys (ours and the two by the Council) were consistent with each other; all showed a clear but not overwhelming majority in favour. Anyone who wants all the details of the two Council consultations should go to:

The 'Toastrack' area (Paper No. 07-572)

The end of the story comes six months later in May 2008 when the Council undertook a final survey to see what residents thought of the new controls in practice. The result was an overwhelming vote in favour: 87% wanted the scheme to continue and 72% were content with the existing times of restriction (11.00 hrs to 12.00 hrs Monday to Saturday). Even Nicosia (76%) and Patten (94%) were in favour. Given that virtually everyone is affected by the parking issue, it was surprising that the response rate was low – less than 50% of Toastrack households responded in all three Council consultations. If you want the details of the final survey, Click here

To see the areas in Tooting/Wandsworth Common now with controlled parking, Click here

That is the end of the parking story.