Our motoring correspondent, JEREMY CLACKSON, on another unheralded move by the council for the covid-19 emergency period
The council, lagging some days behind neighbouring local authorities, has decided to make all on-street parking free of charge for the duration of the coronavirus emergency.
Not that the council’s propaganda department has made a big deal of this important development: the decision has been barely publicised and is only included as a note posted among other matters on the council’s coronavirus page. The decision was made on Friday; by lunchtime on Monday, the council had issued no press release on this latest emergency measure.
That council website states, “We are suspending issuing all permits. Drivers do not need to display a resident or visitor permit or pay-and-display ticket to use parking bays in Croydon.
“Safety restrictions including double yellow lines, disabled bays, parking on footways, blocking dropped kerbs, parking in bus stops and bus lanes, yellow box junctions, no right or left turn restrictions and one-way streets will still be enforced.”
Of course, free parking might be seen as an incentive for people to use their cars, even though during the quarantine period only essential journeys are supposed to be made away from people’s homes.
The free parking has not been launched as a money-saver for residents – there’s certainly no mention of a refund on any resident parking fees that have already been paid – but it is driven by the challenges that the crisis poses for actually enforcing parking restrictions. Traffic wardens prowling the streets is not a good look during a lockdown.
Other councils have offered free extensions of permits, equivalent to the time that parking will be free.
The free parking will blow a large hole in the council’s budget, where on-street parking raising £12million a year, supposedly used solely for investment in Croydon’s roads.
Earlier last week, Croydon boasted that it would be providing free parking to NHS workers, though that grandstanding offer is looking of less value now when everyone can park for no charge.
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