22-Feb-2011 Council proceeds with Roamer despite rejection from majority of residents

3-Mar-2011 Help us monitor the impact of the Residents’ Roamer and the issuing of unlimited visitor vouchers


Islington Council is changing its parking rules. At present, vehicle owners are obliged to pay for a permit which allows them to park only in the zone where they live. It is proposing to introduce a Residents’ Roamer, which would allow all permit holders to park their vehicles within any zone in Islington between the hours of 11am-3pm (with complex variations around the Emirates Stadium). In addition, it is proposing to allow an unlimited number of vouchers to residents, which would allow many more visitors to use and park their cars without risk of penalty.

  • These changes will encourage a significant increase in the number of car journeys made within Islington, while also encouraging visitors from beyond the borough to travel in by car.
  • The changes are completely contrary to the Council’s long standing sustainable transport and parking policies, which seek to discourage non-essential car use and to encourage the use of other modes, such as walking, cycling and the use of public transport.
  • The changes will lead to increased danger for pedestrians and cyclists, while the resulting increased congestion will hinder the movement of buses
  • In addition, pollution will get even worse than it already is, and there will be an increase in climate change emissions.
  • Residents in those parts of the borough with institutions or businesses that attract many visitors (such as the Whittington Hospital) could find their parking bays taken over by visitors from outside their zone.
  • The issue of carers and the more vulnerable needing flexible parking could be addressed with targeted vouchers.
  • While Roamer parking offers an enticing opportunity to park for free anywhere in the borough, the overall impact of the scheme is highly detrimental to the well-being of Islington residents in terms of increased congestion, pollution and road danger.

What you can do   Consultation now closed

These proposals are now out to consultation until the 11th of February. STOP THE ROAMER is urging all Islington residents to respond. There is little likelihood of the Council changing the hours.

Our aim is to get the scheme scrapped in its entirety.

To this end we have provided an email response to the Council urging it to revoke the scheme. For those of you with the time, this can be amended or expanded to reflect your personal concerns.


Please send your response to the Council’s parking services department, with a copy to Councillor Paul Smith, who is the Executive Member for the Environment, and our own email account, as follows:

To: parking.services@islington.gov.uk

cc: paul.smith@islington.gov.uk


Objection to Islington Council’s proposals to introduce a Residents’ Roamer, and unlimited visitors’ vouchers (Ref. TMO/3176)

I am writing to object to the above changes in parking rules. I believe they will lead to an increase in traffic, and will worsen conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and buses, as well as leading to an increase in pollution and climate change emissions.

In addition, in parts of the borough, the changes could result in there sometimes being insufficient parking bays available for local permit holders.

I therefore call on Islington Council to abandon the scheme.



By post: For those wishing to write, the address is: Public Realm, 222 Upper Street, London N1 1XA. Quote reference: TMO/3176


  1. Chris Ashby
    January 29, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Hello Folks,
    We went to the municipal offices on Friday to buy some visitors parking permits. When we finally arrived at the desk we were given a couple of books of three hour permits but were told they’d run out of half hour ones for Zone E which, incidentally, is the largest zone in the borough. This was despite them getting a delivery of permits midweek. The officer said people had been buying loads of them and they were struggling to keep up. Toungue in cheek I said “I wonder what they’re doing with them” and the officer said she wondered too. So there you have it: folk are no longer bulk buying suger and flour, nowadays in Islington it’s visitor permits! There’s also the issue of the council being unprepared for this level of purchasing.
    Chris Ashby.

  2. Stoptheroamer supporter
    January 29, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Excellent summary. Thank you.

    A pity Cllr Paul Smith, executive member for the environment responsible for transport policy declined the invitation extended to him to attend and answer questions at a recent public meeting about the ‘roamer’ proposals. This is part of his written answer to Cllr Arthur Graves (26 Jan):

    ‘Given all residents are aware of the facts and they are overwhelmingly supportive of this initiative that will save them money every time they visit a friend or relative, I have decided to spend my evening doing something useful for the residents of Islington, which is helping organise the opposition to £335 million pounds of cuts to Islington.

    I suggest this would be a more positive use of your time as well’.

    Words speak louder than actions in this case, it seems. Declining an invitation is one thing, insulting others – including residents opposed to the roamer scheme – another.

    But then Cllr Smith is clearly being economical with the truth. Of a(n expensive) mail-out to 27,300 permit holders, it seems that only 313 responses were received of which only eight (8) supported the scheme.

    In light of the above figures, Cllr Smith’s claim that ‘all residents … are overwhelmingly supportive’ of the proposals looks distinctly dodgy, at best. Non-permit holders, and others, weren’t even consulted.

  3. Caroline
    January 30, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Well I have a very old – large engine – heavily recycled car and the new high charges seem very unfair. I only use it for long journeys – otherwise use my bike.

  4. February 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Having failed to consult with more than half of Islington’s residents, seems council leader Catherine West is now appealing to all of us to ‘Please, let’s see how it [the roamer] works before you start opposing it’ (Islington Tribune, 28 Jan).

    In light of Cllr Smith’s telling response above, it’s clearly the borough’s administration that needs to start listening.

  5. Alan Butcher
    February 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

    I agree entirely with the views set out above, and have written quite independently setting out these serious concerns. It is extremely disappointing that the Executive Member with responsibility for parking policy, having set out with these seriously flawed and muddle-headed proposals (no doubt with good intentions) seems to be incapable of acknowledging the genuine and well reasoned arguments of residents, and is, apparently, not even prepared to defend his position to the electors.

    Alan Butcher

  6. Sue Smith
    February 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I also agree with the views listed above. I can see no reason for allowing residents to ‘roam’ round the borough in their cars visiting friends and family. There is plenty of public transport available. If people need to use their cars – perhaps if they have caring responsibilities – then they should be able to obtain visitors vouchers which they can keep in their cars. Areas like Highbury will be swamped with cars parking to use the tube etc. Sue Smith

  7. Feet first!
    February 11, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Cllr Paul Smith’s comment in yesterday’s Gazette – ‘We want to make things easier for ordinary working people in tough times…to make essential trips in the middle of the day without … paying for visitor vouchers’ – shows the mess the council is in over its ridiculous, and damaging roamer parking wheeze.

    It seems that the executive member for the environment doesn’t realise that ‘ordinary working people’ – populist words politicians love to use when they want support – will be at work in the middle of the day or, if unemployed, won’t be able to afford to roam the borough drinking coffee in expensive cafes. As for the thousands of Islington’s ‘ordinary working people’ who live on an estate or don’t own a car, they won’t benefit at all.

    Roaming the borough by car like kerb-crawlers on the look-out will damage all residents, in work or out, children or adults. Better for the council to admit its mistake and drop this ill-thought out bribe by which it hopes to soften the blow of increased permit charges. For the one thing all Islington residents deserve is a cleaner safer environment, not one further degraded by damaging exhaust emissions which are already costing local lives.

  8. Meg Howarth
    February 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Just met my only enthusiast for the roamer to date: a non-driving (hubby does that) comfortably-off retiree who thinks it a ‘wonderful’ proposal – for collecting building supplies during the day! Hardly the ‘ordinary working person’ referred to by Paul Smith. Asked about the health impact of increased exhaust emissions, she commented that roaming didn’t appear to have made much difference to traffic volumes. She was unaware that policy not yet introduced, presumably because of original date in the ‘consultation’. Also met two others who were going home to email opposition to the scheme.

    February 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I had a 2500cc 17mpg car that I replaced for a 997cc 54mpg car. Both 15 years old. I did/do no more than 1500 miles per year. The ‘Roamer’ scheme is a good idea. If one has worries about parking around hopitals, etc., then exclude them from the scheme. However, to penalise everyone for the bad habits of others is absolutely wrong.

    For example, have you noticed a significant change in traffic within the Congestion Zone.

    I welcome the opportunity to shop locally without having to find a space in a ‘Supermarket Designated Zone’.

  10. Meg Howarth
    February 16, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Do you need a car to shop locally, Melvin? Who, for example, needs to drive to buy footwear from Jimmy’s Shoes (Islington Tribune, 11 Feb)? Moreover, short car-journeys are the most polluting and Islington’s poor air-quality is already costing lives: http://bit.ly/fEkPCk.

    You’re correct that ‘…to penalise everyone for the bad habits of others is absolutely wrong’ but since more than half of Islington households doesn’t have a car, it’s the majority that’s being ignored by the ‘roamer parking’ scheme.

    Imagine, too, what things would be like in the borough if all households did acquire four-wheels?

  11. Meg Howarth
    March 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Noticed Q and B zone-vehicles parked in Ellington Street just after 3.30pm yesterday, different cars but similar time-breaches on other days. Clearly this executive-dictated right-to-roam which most people didn’t want isn’t even being adequately monitored. Another unanticipated consequence?

  12. Meg Howarth
    March 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Five traffic wardens in Ellington at 12.20pm today, probably checking out above. How much is this monitoring costing?

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