Sandwell unveiled signs to encourage green spaces and discourage car parking

A local council has introduced new signs at more than 100 waterfront green spaces encouraging residents to use green space, instead of paying a ‘park and ride’ scheme at nearby car parks. Cllr Jenny…

Sandwell unveiled signs to encourage green spaces and discourage car parking

A local council has introduced new signs at more than 100 waterfront green spaces encouraging residents to use green space, instead of paying a ‘park and ride’ scheme at nearby car parks.

Cllr Jenny Foreman, deputy leader of Birmingham city council, confirmed the current signs, designed by Sandwell Council, will be changed by Birmingham to add yellow decals, indicating that car parking is free in these areas, said to be open to the public, at first.

In Sandwell, this process was overseen by the Local Environment Change Management Commission (Lec), an independent body set up by the council to look at new initiatives.

Kathryn Rennie, head of policy and communications for Lec, said: “This is part of an emerging trend by several councils around the country. While it might seem an old fashioned idea that residents should get round the traffic and transport challenges we face, these new signs will keep people in the green space and let them feel empowered to take part in community activities and realise their potential as green space users.”

But the new signs have elicited a mixed response among residents and other public services.

Steven Smith, an engagement officer with Sandwell council, said: “The Lec’s official review has noted the bold and bold sign system as an example of constructive and innovative public engagement in the right way.”

The sign system was something Sandwell residents suggested, although Smith said no public survey had been undertaken about the signs, so a decision on their general popularity was impossible to ascertain.

Though the council believes the signs are the best option for local people to comply with the Green Spaces Strategy, different views have been aired on the topic on Twitter.

@SianThompson203 posted: “Arriving at Green Pq for car park & I find these new signs. One to pay, one free. I’m quite disappointed.”

@charliey_oxford said: “False economy really. This move will drive them away from the free car parks to the bus lanes but it’s over council rules isn’t it?”

@Catherine22 wrote: “Fair. Halfway decent, but not as good as before.”

@Pepperplease wrote: “This isn’t the best idea – it may deter some people from using the Green Pq & take parking places away from people who want to give it a go.”

@LV5579b67 commented: “Looks like big brother has arrived!”

@Danmoody2110 wrote: “C’mon people. I work for Green Pq and I hate the picture of the signs on the top… not fair.”

@ColinLiamson wrote: “Use them or drop them off?”

@MrRubinParker wrote: “When Free Car Park Parking was supposedly Free, Great Britain should have followed the lead of LA and bin these.”

@BrigidHicks said: “These signs make Sandwell look like an arse!”

@Nathan_Arntz wrote: “Who thought this was a good idea? Weird, terrible!”

@Im_Eloise wrote: “I’m sure the sign will be like this before too long.”

@LucyKee tweeted: “Everyone forgot that the first thing many people did when free park parking was announced was to install a lock-up a few doors down! Bad idea, stupid policy!”

@StephA_San wrote: “My mates had even added a lockscreen on to their locks so there would be no point using the lock-up! Brilliant.”

@beyskyey wrote: “Free parking for 12 months? Me thinks it’s brilliant!”

Birmingham city council has said it will be considering changing the signage across other waterfront green spaces in the city to encourage similar initiatives from residents and other public services.

• Can you give us your views on these signs? You can email [email protected] or tweet @GuardianCommunity.

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