Council fails to write to permit-holders over parking charge hike

Croydon is being accused of deliberately suppressing details of its on-going parking consultation from the people most affected: the 9,000-plus residents who already have permits for on-street parking issued by the council each year.

“We’re earning a deserved reputation for being the council that put the ‘con’ into ‘consultation’,” a Town Hall source said this morning.

The council wants to increase the charge for a resident’s parking permit from £80 to, in many cases, as much as £300 per year. Only those wealthy enough to own hybrid or electric cars may benefit from a small discount in their permit fees.

The council is passing this off as a move to reduce vehicle emissions, though many car owners see it as a just another stealth tax. Others have described it as a regressive charge, highlighting that it will hit older residents and the less-well-off hardest.

Critics of the parking charge proposals also highlight how it will be an additional cost for residents, while the council is meanwhile still supporting the £1.4billion Westfield and Hammerson redevelopment, which will provide a 3,000-space car park to encourage people to drive into the town centre, regardless of any emissions that might generate.

The council announced its consultation last month. It closes on June 20.

But the council has so far failed to write to parking permit-holders to invite their views on the proposals in the consultation.

“It’s a blatant attempt to avoid getting input from those most affected by this hike in parking charges,” a Katharine Street source said.

The council has been accused of “rigging” its public consultations before, most notably over the introduction of 20mp zones around the borough. Indeed, after only narrowly achieving public approval in consultations on the first couple of zones, Croydon avoided putting the matter to residents in the same manner in the south of the borough, because of a well-founded fear it would be roundly rejected.

Stuart King: where are the letters to the borough’s residents?

Stuart King is the Labour council’s cabinet member for traffic jams and air pollution, and he has given assurances that letters about the consultation would go out to the borough’s parking permit-holders.

Labour councillors and party members have been in contact with Inside Croydon to express their dislike of the charging proposals, which they think will do little to improve the borough’s air quality but has the potential to be hugely politically damaging among voters.

In 2017-2018, according to the council’s own figures, Croydon issued 9,045 residents’ parking permits. Residents’ and business owners’ parking permits generated £1.34million for the council.

Together with other vehicle-related charges, such as car park fees and penalty notices, the council built up an unspent surplus of £7million that year.

By law, money generated from parking fees is not allowed to go into a local authority’s general funds, but is supposed to be spent only on highways maintenance and other road-related schemes.

Click here to see Croydon 2017-2018 traffic management annual report.

The new parking charges, which the council is dressing up as some means of controlling vehicle emissions, will hike some residents’ permit fees by 375 per cent.

Yet with just two weeks of the “public” consultation remaining, permit-holders have not received any direct communication from the council about what might be in store for them, or to seek their views.

“It’s pretty obvious what they are playing at,” said the Town Hall source. “If all 9,000 resident parking permit-holders were to respond to the consultation, the council would get a message which they really don’t want to hear.”

For the avoidance of any doubt, Croydon’s 70 councillors all qualify for at least one parking permit, completely free of charge.


About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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6 Responses to Council fails to write to permit-holders over parking charge hike

  1. What the Council have failed to take into account is that a parked car is not causing any emissions. This scheme will mean I will increase my driving (and therefore pollute the air more) by taking my car to work, whereas I normally leave my car at home and take the bus. How is this going to help improve air quality?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. George Wright says:

    This is a ‘Robin Hood in Reverse’ policy proposal from a Council whose values and ability to properly deal with pollution and all the other aspects of urban living are non-existant. At least the Sheriff of Nottingham put up ‘Outlaw’ and ‘Wanted’ posters, where is our ‘consultation’?

    If this Council really wanted to tackle car use in residential areas, they would introduce “Residents Only parking Zones” but of course that would take away their cash cow of parking meters. No, they want it both – A 380% increase for those living in flats or terraced houses in the poorest part of the Borough plus the meter money! All the while getting free permits for themselves and acting like pigs at a trough with Allowances etc.

    To borrow an expression from someone I do not totally admire, it would seem “time to drain the swamp” if this one goes through.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David Mogoh says:

    My mother relies on her car, but if this increase comes in she will no longer be able to afford to park it outside her house. She can’t afford a newer car either. These are very worrying times. Her car is probably not even going to sell either – so what is she supposed to do with it?

    Why couldn’t they just offer a discount for lower emissions!?!? Incentivise reduced emissions cars rather than financially punish older ones….

    Will they subsidise those people such as my mother thar simply can’t afford the new £300 permits?

    Oh no, because they will do anything to milk as much money out of the least well off as possible.

    Pure evil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we all need to stick together on this one David, parked cars are parked cars. Not all car owners are wealthy, especially those who can’t afford to live in houses with off road parking. Accordingly they tend to have older, less fuel efficient cars. The answer seems to be tax petrol and apply that money to giving big subsidies to buy (preferably British built) electric cars and increase charging points. This would much less divisive than going down the road of how many cc’s the engine has or how old the car is. It is people’s car miles we need to reduce not people’s incomes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. At the risk of being boring, I need to mention that I did email Croydon’s link person on this who claimed we’d been sent letters(not true) and emailed ( not true either) and that we should know anyway because the (alleged) consultation was publicised in the Croydon Advertiser and The London Review! Like, who reads either of these! Open government, what a laugh.

    Like

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