Council’s parking decision gets “called in” for scrutiny

There’s more trouble ahead for Councillor Phil “Two Permits” Thomas, as his traffic management committee’s consultation over parking zones in the borough has been called in for review by the council’s scrutiny and overview committee next week.

Alison Butler, the sole Labour councillor on the traffic management committee, has led the call for the decision to be reviewed. The council report for the scrutiny meeting, prepared by official solicitor Julie Belvir, provides a litany of faults with the consultation and the traffic management committee (TMCC)’s decision-making:

“i) The decision is inconsistent in applying arbitrary thresholds for endorsement of proposals. No threshold was set for objections beforehand.
ii) The Cabinet considered the need to raise income for the Council, which is not a valid reason for parking controls
iii) There is a lack of evidence to support statements in paras 4:22 to 4:25
iv) Evidence shows considerable opposition to the new proposals in Table 3 of the report.
v) There is no evidence of support from residents for the new proposals
vi) The consultation was flawed in failing to fully consult with residents living in the affected areas
vii) A request was not made be residents for the proposed increase in hours
viii) There is no proven case that the proposal is what residents want
ix) The Council when trying to justify an increase right across the zones had claimed that ‘the changes to the hours of operation will also add a level of consistency across central Croydon making the parking restrictions easier to understand for members of the public’. Thornton Heath should not have been considered an area of central Croydon however, having an area with different time zones is sure to cause confusion for the public.
x) Appendix B – The Equalities Impact Report was not attached to the papers for consideration in the meeting and is not on the Council’s Web Site
xi) Objections were received from residents not disclosing their roads. The Council is making an assumption that they do not live in the northern part of the North Permit Zone.”

Of all those reasons, item (ii) – an attempt to use residents’ car parking as means of raising revenue, as was admitted by at least one councillor at the meeting earlier this month – is damning because it is prohibited by law. And the failure of council officers to fulfil legal obligations and deliver a proper Equalities Impact Assessment (item x) could result in an expensive judicial review of the whole process.

The council’s report to the TMCC had an obligation to fairly represent all objections under the consultation process, yet residents’ groups claim that this was not done. Even a letter of complaint from Croydon North MP Malcolm Wicks was omitted from the council’s report.

The report to the scrutiny committee continues: “The alternative decision proposed by the signatories is that the Council carry out a formal consultation in the northern part of the North Permit Zone to see if residents support an increase in parking controls to an 8:00 am to midnight, Monday to Sunday.”

To view the report for the scrutiny committee, click here (it includes as an appendix the original report to the TMCC).

  • Malcolm Wicks and councillors from the north of the borough have called a meeting for local residents this Saturday, Feb 26, at 3pm at the Oshwal Hall, 1 Campbell Road (junction of London Road).

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