Residents fighting a controversial parking scheme planned for streets outside their homes claim a vote being carried out is flawed and devised to steamroller the project through.
Highways authority Lancashire County Council is currently polling 1,150 homes in the Moorgate area of Lancaster over a residents parking scheme which could incorporate measures like extra double yellow lines, parking bays and residents only parking permits costing £45-a-year, although there is no guarantee of a spot.
The result, due after October 15, will be keenly followed by residents living in Park Road, Park Avenue, Parker Street, Davidson Road, Hartington Road and Bond Street, just east of the city centre.
But one of the chief opponents of the plan – businessman Ian Bailey who operates the city’s Runner’s Shop – claims there are serious problems with the ballot.
He believes the address to return forms is misleading, that every adult in a household rather than every household should have been allowed to take part as they could be drivers with a car and the way the questions are posed would swing the chances of some version of a scheme being brought in.
The latest poll follows a consultation with residents earlier this year – 372 took part with 214 against the idea and 158 in favour.
The idea of a residents parking zone was floated last year and has been met with resistance from those concerned – principally due to fears of a loss of parking.
Mr Bailey, of Bond Street, said: “If the result is a yes vote we will then go to the Local Government Ombudsman because of the flaws within the information being delivered.
“The MP – Eric Ollerenshaw – has said that Tim Ashton, the cabinet member for highways at Lancashire County Council says residents should only have a parking scheme if they want one, and secondly it should be designed with residents in mind. This is a complete contradiction of that.”
Ian Welsby, Lancashire County Council highways manager for Lancaster, did not address claims that the decision could be flawed but said in a statement: “We’re asking residents within a defined area of Moorgate what they think about options for a residents’ parking scheme which is intended to improve the balance of demand on parking in the Moorgate area between residents, students, commuters and visitors to the hospital.
“It would be wrong to think we’re conducting a straightforward vote according to the numbers in favour of each option.”
Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw said: “With tensions running high, I’m hopeful things can be calmed down and everyone can work together and commonsense can prevail.”
An exhibition of the designs will be in the foyer of the Palatine Hall in Dalton Square until October 15.