CROYDON COMMENTARY: For a town that has built itself around the demands of the motor car, parking the vehicles is an ever-growing problem, and Croydon Council has yet to find the right, or fair, way of dealing with it, CHARLOTTE DAVIES says
Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for communities and local government: “Municipal parking profit shows why we need to review and rein in unfair Town Hall parking rules. The law is clear that parking is not a tax or cash cow for Town Hall officers.”
Last month, the High Court ruled against Barnet council’s move to raise the cost of residents’ parking permits. It was a landmark victory for campaigners.
Mrs Justice Lang ruled that the council acted unlawfully when it increased permit costs to generate more money for road maintenance.
The RAC Foundation has presented some interesting results for the “surplus” that local councils make on parking charges. No real surprises that Croydon is ranked in the top – or worst – 25 per cent of the 359 local authorities surveyed, or that their takings from parking charges have increased by almost 90 per cent year on year.
South Croydon Community Association grew out of the Croydon Residents Against Parking Plans – or CRAPP, as they called themselves with all due irony – a campaign hosted on the www.croydoncouncil.com website. In 2002 and again in 2011, CRAPP fought off plans brought forward by our council apparently on our behalf to impose excessive parking controls on all the CPZs – the Central Parking Zones – of Croydon.
The 2011 campaign arose following one of the current council’s most shameful attempts to divide the borough by trying to impose high-charging controls on just the northern part of the borough, while applying few, if any, such restrictions on the southern part of the borough.
The residents knew then and warned the council that parking restrictions were killing off businesses in Croydon.
It was not until a government-sponsored celebrity, Mary Portas, came along and said exactly the same thing that anyone at the Town Hall woke up to the incredible damage that excessive parking charges are having on high street businesses.
Parking charges across Croydon are now an unequal mess. Some parades of shops are favoured with 30 minutes’ free parking. Some have no parking restrictions whatsoever. And others, like the small shops in South End, face some of the most expensive charges in Croydon.
Residential areas are even worse, with some streets where the residents want to benefit from controls having just one-hour restrictions. Other streets have restrictions from 9am to 5pm. Yet others are hit by restrictions from 8am to midnight – which is madness for a residential road.
This all creates an unequal and unfair secret taxation system for Croydon residents and businesses. It is no way to build an efficient, effective community.
- “Two Permits” forced into U-turn (again) over parking charges
- Council increases charges for parking, burials and rat catching
- 21 Croydon councillors double up on their parking perks
- Charlotte Davies is the chair of the South Croydon Community Association
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