Property giant Rightmove has gone into battle over a controversial residents’ only parking zone in a residential area where many of its employees park during the day.
Rightmove, which has its corporate HQ in Caldecotte Lake Business Park, in Milton Keynes, supports a move by 20 of its employees to call in a council decision to create the parking zone around homes nearby.
The call-in means that the original decision will be reviewed by a special meeting of Milton Keynes Council’s Strategic Placemaking Scrutiny Sub-Committee on Thursday (August 8).
Residents living in the area of Gatewick Lane, Monellan Grove, Monellan Crescent and Grove North, Heybridge Crescent and Longhedge, had turned out in force to support a decision made on July 16 to create the Caldecotte Resident Permit Parking Only scheme.
They told Cabinet member for transport and planning, Cllr Martin Gowans (Lab, Bletchley East), that their lives had been blighted by illegal parking on their estate and they wanted action.
But employees on the business park have made counter arguments that a committee of five councillors will have to decide on.
In their request for a call-in of the July 16 decision, 20 other residents say: “We request the decision is called-in in connection with a formal objection to the, now approved, resident parking restrictions on the neighbouring Caldecotte housing estate, submitted on our behalf by our employer, Rightmove.
“Whilst we believe that parking on these roads should primarily be for the residents who live on these roads, the restrictions will also only apply during business hours when residents are less likely to be at home as they too will be at work; it is not clear to us what the restrictions would achieve.
“The majority of the houses on the roads under review all have adequate off-road parking or are accessed via private access roads off the main street.
“It is also a concern to us that, due to the lack of parking, the roads coming on to the business park are becoming dangerous with several accidents and incidents already reported.”
The submission adds: “This provides concerns for both residents and business park users as to the access for emergency vehicles, i.e. fire engines and ambulances.
“Also, the appearance of the park and surrounding area has suffered with the verges now non-existent in some places which gives a very bad impression to all concerned.
“Whilst Rightmove promotes the use of public transport it is becoming increasingly difficult for many employees to use, as Rightmove, alongside many other businesses, employ a more flexible workforce with non-standard work hours to enable families to balance personal and work life, meaning that individuals have no choice but to drive to their place of work.
“We would urge you to not underestimate the impact on the employment opportunities and welfare of business park employees in the event these parking restrictions are put in place.
“It would effectively mean some would not be able to remain in their current employment as they would literally not be able to park their car.
“They are unable to use public transport due to it not being a viable option.”
The committee has the power to either refer the item back to Cllr Gowans with their concerns, to not refer the item back and let the decision go ahead, or to refer its views to the full council.
Rightmove has confirmed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service that it “does support the call-in of this decision”.
The meeting is open to the public and starts at 6.30pm on Thursday.