Another explanation for some Croydon councillors’ apparently ambivalent attitude towards voicing opposition to proposals for Draconian new parking restrictions comes in today’s Croydon Guardian.
Our ruling Tory councillors will be entirely unaffacted by any changes to parking restrictions, since they receive at least one free parking pass, entitling them to park their car in the borough whenever they wish.
Each pass for all the council car parks is worth about £1,000 per year, and the council issues more than 100 to Croydon’s councillors – Labour as well as Conservative.
Cutting the councillors’ parking perks would save around £110,000 – or a big chunk of the cost of staging the annual Croydon Festival and Mela, which was victim of Tory cuts earlier this week.
But remember everyone, we are now living in “Call Me Dave” Cameron’s Crazy Croydon Council, where “we are all in this together”.
- That means that together, Croydon residents are paying for TWO free car parking passes for council leader Mike Fisher.
- That means that together, Croydon residents are paying for TWO free car parking passes for councillor Phil Thomas, for his BMW and his wife’s snazzy little sports number.
- And that means that together, Croydon residents are paying for a free car parking pass for Waddon ward councillor Simon Hoar, who sits on the committee which will be making the final decision on the new parking rules.
Councillor Hoar was one of the councillors who put his name to a local Conservative party leaflet circulated earlier this week, calling on residents to lodge objections to the new scheme. In the letter to residents, Councillor Hoar and his Tory colleagues were somewhat reticent about their opposition.
But in direct correspondence with residents, Hoar has denied that there is a local Tory policy on the plans – even though it is their administration that has had the proposal put forward: “We’re against this proposal,” Hoar wrote.
“In terms of any party line, there isn’t one on this proposal, as a group we’ve not taken a line.”
In the Croydon Guardian today, Hoar has openly gone public with his opposition to the scheme, which is to be subject of a council committee vote on Feb 9 – just a few days after the “consultation” period ends.
Hoar said: “I don’t think it is unfair for me to use my permit, because it’s working on council business.
“I will be representing my residents at the meeting and I hope we win.”
While that sounds very reasonable, the Croydon Guardian also reports Councillor Thomas – the chairman of the traffic management committee which will be making the decision – as saying that his two parking passes are “irrelevant”.
“I would say I am entitled to two passes,” Councillor Thomas is quoted as saying, though he would not elaborate on how often his wife’s sports car gets used on council business, which is a strict condition of the permits’ issue and use.
Local campaigners are planning to protest outside the Town Hall next Monday, Jan 31, from 6pm.
CRAPP – Croydon Residents Against Parking Plans – say that they have tabled questions for the meeting.
“By the time the Transport Management Cabinet Committee meet on Feb 9, we get the impression that they will have already made their decision,” they say. “Thus this is the last chance to let all councillors really appreciate the scale of our unhappiness at the parking proposals.”
And remember, as David Cameron says, we’re all in this together.
Which possibly explains why we are hearing that, as another part of the council’s cuts, council employees are to lose the parking permit benefits which the councillors are keeping.
- If you have not done so already, make sure you sign the petition on Croydon Council’s website by clicking here.
- And make sure that you forward your objections by email to Councillor Phil Thomas, perhaps letting him know what you think of his having two free car parking passes: firstname.lastname@example.org