One of Chorley’s largest housing associations has been criticised by councillors for failing to provide more off-street parking for its residents.
Chorley Community Housing (CCH) acquired the borough’s former council houses in a deal with the local authority in 2007. At the time, it committed to laying almost a thousand new off-road spaces- and has since done so.
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But Chisnall ward councillor Alan Whittaker told a meeting of Chorley Council that fulfilment of the pledge “did not end the organisation’s responsibilities to families”.
“CCH has made surpluses far in excess of what was expected and yet I have visited houses in my area where the the lack of parking is causing a hazard for children in the street.
“In one case, they tacitly acknowledged that there was a problem, but then said they had done all that was required of them at the time of stock transfer,” Cllr Whittaker said.
Adlington resident Daniel Stafford says his home on Chester Place has ample space and access for a driveway at the rear of the property – whereas the street itself is a dangerous rat-run lined with the cars of neighbours who also struggle to find a spot to park.
“Sometimes if you can’t pull up you’ve got to park two or three streets away,” Mr. Stafford said. “And you’ve got cars going up and down, pulling in to give way to others.
“I’ve got twins and it’s a nightmare – does it take an accident before [parking] is approved?” he asked.
Commenting on the criticism, Richard Houghton, Director of Operations at CCH, said 985 spaces had been provided since 2011 “with support from the council to identify priority areas”.
“Our main role as a housing association is to provide quality homes, whether that’s investing in our existing properties or building new affordable housing.”
“While social landlords are not required to provide off-street car parking, we have a small on-going programme and consider any requests for such improvements on their merits,” Mr, Houghton added.
Chorley Council supported Cllr Whittaker’s motion calling for CCH to do more to rectify “legacy issues” about parking provision for tenants, although three members of the ruling Labour group abstained, advising other ways of engaging with the company.
But Heath Charnock and Rivington member Kim Snape was scathing of the social landlord, telling councillors: “I’m fed up of schemes for off-road parking provision being costed-up to councillors and residents – and then abandoned.
“In Heath Charnock, where some vulnerable residents have health problems, they refused outright to to provide parking unless Chorley Council foots 50 percent of the bill.
“Or they make fools of local councillors by refusing to do schemes, but when somebody higher up the chain makes the request, the wheels are set in motion – where is the consistency in the policy?” Cllr Snape asked.