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Saturday, 30 September 2006
Oxted parking - Station Road East

Oxted Station Road East

This photograph shows 3 delivery vehicles and 2 cars parking contrary to parking regulations in Station Road East.  Shortly after I took the photograph a third car pulled into the space behind the white truck to make it 3-3.  When I took the photographs I had been hoping to see (and speak with) the local parking attendants at work. However they were only due to start the following day (28 September 2006).  Perhaps scenes like this are already a thing of the past.

It’s a wacky suggestion - but another way to alleviate the problem might be to provide more loading bays and parking spaces. If they ever get around to dismantling the unused gas cylinder, that might provide space for a few cars, or a multi-story garage.  Another suggestion would be to pedestrianise the high street, plant trees down the centre, and a cycle lane down one side.  I’m not sure what the traffic impact would be on the surrounding (residential) streets though, especially as it would probably mean reducing the total amount of parking available. Some space could be reserved for short-stay parking, taxis and loading bays.

Posted by bigblue on 30/09/2006 at 07:55 AM
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Oxted Parking - Delivery II

delivery van in Oxted

This is the delivery van blocking half of the high street (Station Road East) in Oxted a day before local parking attendants arrive on the scene to enforce parking regulations. It seems as if the new local supermarket has a loading area round the back, but many of the existing shops rely on the ability of their suppliers to flout the parking regulations.

Meanwhile I remain to be convinced that the presence of “friendly attendants” will solve the underlying problem of parking - a shortage of space for customers and businesses.

Posted by bigblue on 30/09/2006 at 07:47 AM
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Oxted Parking - Delivery I

Delivery vehicle in Oxted

Not only is there a shortage of parking in Oxted, there is a shortage of loading zones too. Here we see a delivery to the shop Cook obstructing traffic for over half an hour as the delivery van parks on a yellow line, within a few metres of an intersection, and facing on-coming traffic.

This photo was taken at about 11am on the day before local parking enforcement was due to come into effect. I would like to go back sometime and ask the friendly parking attendants where a delivery van is supposed to park if there is no loading zone, and where a shopper is supposed to park when the parking areas are all full?  Perhaps the answer to the second part of the question lies in enforcing parking time limits - those things that stipulate you can only park for one hour, and may not return within one hour between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm from Monday through Saturday.

parking sign

Posted by bigblue on 30/09/2006 at 07:19 AM
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Oxted Parking - New shop site

Oxted Sainsburys Local

After my little rant the other day I decided to investigate the parking problem in Oxted, as I mentioned yesterday.  First up, above, is the to-be site of the new Sainsbury’s Local in Oxted. It was sweet of our local counciller to welcome them back with these words:

My wife and I have been living in the area for years so we can remember the first Sainsbury’s.

I imagine this one will be welcomed as it is a small store and I would have thought that would be very convenient for older people living on Beatrice Road. So it will be good for them, and good for the retail trade in Oxted.

I doubt a shop that size can survive just off the custom of Beatrice Road, so clients from further afield will need somewhere to park.  On the (weekday) morning that I did this investigation the public parking areas in Alice and Johnsdale Roads were full, as were all the marked bays up and down Station Road East (the high street).  My photo even shows a car parked illegally in the bus stop.

Posted by bigblue on 30/09/2006 at 06:59 AM
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Friday, 29 September 2006
Stranger Danger

stranger danger

Earlier this week this man swore at me (the f word) and threatened to kick me in the teeth. He later denied it. His daughter then arrived, and also denied it. He threatened to call the police to report me for taking photographs (in which he and his wife appeared) in a public place. He accussed me of taking a photograph of his (grown) daughter (which wasn’t true) and suggested I might be a paedophile, adding that there was a nursery school around the corner (!). He said I must be a stranger, not from around these parts, which is an ironic accusation from a man who is is part of a multi-ethnic family. He asked me to hand over the film in my camera and seemed surprised when I told him there was no film in the camera (welcome to the digital age - ask your daughter to explain).  For about 15 minutes a very polite bystander tried to explain the law of taking photographs in public places to this aggressive individual.  It didn’t sink in - clearly the man with yobbish tendencies (and his family) believed that they enjoyed the rights of privacy that celebrities expect when on private property. The polite bystander left, after suggesting to me that I wasn’t doing my own case any good. Other bystanders suggested to me that the problem might go away if I left.  I did leave, after taking a close up photograph of the man’s car.

stranger car

So how did I not do my own cause any good? I didn’t shout back at this individual, accuse him of any crime, or threaten him with violence. I simply refused to give him any explanation for what I was doing.  He had come at me shouting and threatening me, and I therefore felt I didn’t owe him any explanation whatsoever. In fact I had popped out to pick up a prescription from the chemist and was taking some photographs of the parking situation in Oxted town centre. (See upcoming post/posts). I wonder if the fact that this man was parked illegally, and partially blocking access to the childcare nursery (e.g. for emergency services), had anything to do with his unpleasant and aggresive behaviour?

Posted by bigblue on 29/09/2006 at 07:24 AM
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Thursday, 28 September 2006
The Maze

Oxted Health Centre

Rumour has it that when they built the play area in Master Park in Oxted, they neglected to take into account the needs of disabled people. The local council is now rectifying this by building an obstacle course for people in wheelchairs at the Oxted Health Centre, next to the public library.

Posted by bigblue on 28/09/2006 at 07:26 AM
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Wednesday, 27 September 2006
Clear Cone

Clear Cone

The saga with my webhost continues ... this site was completely down for about 20 hours yesterday. I have also had a couple of problems since upgrading the software that runs the blog. I have mostly sorted these out.

I spotted the unusual vehicle pictured above on the hard shoulder of the M25 last week. It is apparently not an ice-cream van, but is used to survey the road surface for maintenance projects.

Posted by bigblue on 27/09/2006 at 09:01 AM
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Sunday, 24 September 2006
News from Oxted


I can’t find anything in the papers about the recent incident. However last week’s local rags brought some other news. The Surrey Mirror offered us our

new “friendly” parking wardens.

So it seems I spoke too soon when I said I preferred the current situation to one where traffic wardens are used as revenue generators. It seems the Surrey Mirror is not yet au fait with this internet malarkey, because the story is not (yet) up on their website. The Sevenoaks Chronicle is more 21st Century because it covers both the parking story and the police station closure.  Maybe it’s me, but I
detect a whiff of Pravda in both The Chronicle and The Mirror. These are two controversial issues, yet neither paper presents any controversy. I wonder if it is because neither of these papers like to say anything that might offend their advertisers.

If we start with the parking, am I the only cynic who thinks that this is a rather strange way to deal with a parking shortage? Instead of providing better accessibility, the council employs two attendants who will

generate revenue

penalise offenders rather than solve the underlying problem. Furthermore, in my experience the worst and most persistent offenders are local businesses.  And this gumpf about
the parking attendants being “friendly” and “giving advice and directions to the public”? What do they take us for? This is blatant spin: Are we suddenly to believe that there is a need for this kind of service when everyone has coped just fine up till now? I don’t have a strong desire to defend the motor vehicle, or inconsiderate drivers. By all means pedestrianise the town centre, ban cars from within half a mile of the centre, and convert half our roads into bicycle and skating lanes. However these are issues to be argued, and debated, not reported as bland council press releases.

On the second issue, of the closure of the police station, the same sort of argument applies. The Chronicle article quotes East Surrey divisional commander Guy Darby as saying that all of the officers who currently serve Oxted will remain based there, and that a front counter with the same opening hours will ensure that they are just as, if not more, accessible.  The unspoken assumption is that (despite cut-backs over the years) Oxted is currently well served. Or perhaps a cynic might say that the cut-backs have already taken place and the station closing reflects that these changes have taken place over the past years? There may be no point keeping a police station if you have all but shut it down several years ago, but now you are considering selling off the building shouldn’t you be reviewing the decision rather than restating it as fact?  I have no answer, but it seems that our local journalists don’t either.

Note: Still having problems with my web host, and am unable to submit posts the normal way. This is getting ridiculous, and I’ve started looking for alternative providers.

Posted by bigblue on 24/09/2006 at 05:38 PM
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