Perry’s parking proposal to impose smartphone apps on drivers

A consultation is expected next month that will halve the free period allowed on most on-street bays

Croydon motorists will regard ULEZ expansion as a mere picnic once they grasp what Mayor Jason Perry has in store for them over new, money-grabbing parking arrangements around the borough.

Museum piece: council parking meters like this could soon all be removed

The council is looking at proposals which could see the removal of all parking meters, to be replaced by a system where people are only able to use council-run car parks or parking bays if they have their personal details logged with a Town Hall version of Big Brother, and they check in and out with a mobile phone on every occasion that they park their car.

This Orwellian dystopia is already being trialed in South Croydon, and Mayor Perry is promising a public “consultation” next month on borough-wide proposals.

But some residents have got wind of the scheme, and they don’t like it one little bit.

“Whose dreadful idea was this?” one concerned reader said. “What of those who do not have mobile phones? It’s not fair on those who do not have smartphones and do not understand technology.

“Even those who do have smartphones don’t want to use them to be tracked everywhere they go.”

In true 1984-style, the council is trying to characterise its changes – which will have massive implications for what is known as “digital exclusion”, and impact older and poorer residents hardest – as making parking “easier to support local businesses”.

They even claim it will make parking “fairer and more accessible”, when the opposite is likely to be the case.

The proposals were sneaked through quietly at the last council cabinet meeting before the summer break. “Croydon will review the current free short-stay parking arrangements, to make it as easy as possible for people to pop to their local shops in their neighbourhoods and on high streets,” according to the council’s own version of the Ministry of Truth. Expect the Town Hall clock to chime 13 any day now…

Money source: senior council officials promised £12m per year in parking and motoring fine income

The council also say that they will “review and modernise parking controls and zones”, which could have far-reaching consequences for thousands of residents.

Sources within the council regard the parking scheme as “the last bit of Steve Iles’s toxic legacy”.

Iles, Croydon’s director of sustainable communities – the man who imposed Binmageddon on the borough and who paid millions of pounds for American ANPR cameras that don’t work in south London – is taking early retirement at the end of August.

It was Iles who came up with budgets that suggested the cash-strapped council could make £1million per month from parking fees and LTN fines, figures worked out on the back of a fag packet which were soon exposed as being utter fantasy, leaving another hole in Perry’s sieve-like budget.

The new, automated “smart technology” parking system that the council wants to introduce could help to claw back some of the missing millions.

Of course, part-time Perry – who remains a director of his building supplies firm in South Croydon – never mentioned the true objectives when he was quoted about the coming consultation. “Supporting business and the local economy is a priority and I want to make it as easy as possible for residents to pop to their neighbourhood shops, and to visit their local high street.” Oh yeah!

“Making parking a simple, streamlined process is a part of our plans to support local businesses in Croydon and bring shoppers to our high streets and the town centre. Parking shouldn’t be confusing, and it shouldn’t be impossible to find a spot near the shops – these proposals aim to achieve that goal.”

But those who encountered the month-long trial run of Mayor Perry’s scheme on South End and Selsdon Road, which ended last month, complained that the system was anything but “simple”, or “streamlined”, but it is very “confusing”. And it also demanded that all motorists being equipped with an expensive smartphone, whether they can afford one or not.

The council turned off all its “pay and display”, forcing motorists to use a parking app. In return for data-scraping every motorist’s personal details, the council allowed them one free 30-minute parking session every 24 hours.

Similar schemes have also been introduced in other car parks around the borough.

“I cannot now park in these car parks because I will not pay using my phone. I don’t want to have to register my car to use any on-street parking bay – whether it is free or not. It is a dreadful imposition,” according to one reader.

The free half-hour parking is not the generous gesture that piss-poor Perry would have residents believe, either. The previous Labour council introduced one-hour free parking in many parts of the borough.

The proposed changes are “totally unacceptable on the main high streets, where the time limit is one hour and there is no charge to park”, according to another reader, a Conservative Party activist.

“Many often only park for less than 15 minutes, and we certainly do not need to be burdened with having to have a working mobile phone, switch this on, phone some number and register the car for such a short period of parking.

“The rule is no return for two hours – but I have heard that the council may make it a maximum of one stay for up to one hour per day – that is also unacceptable.

“There may be a small number of people who meter-feed, but anyone doing this frequently or for long periods is easy to catch and penalise. There is no reason to penalise the vast mass of the public for what is a very small issue – and one easily tackled as soon as it is known.”

Of course, what pro-pollution Perry has never said when claiming to be on the side of local businesses is that there are absolutely no parking charges whatsoever if you go to the shops on a bicycle, or walk…

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

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
This entry was posted in Community associations, Coulsdon, Croydon Council, Mayor Jason Perry, Parking, Steve Iles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Perry’s parking proposal to impose smartphone apps on drivers

  1. Laurence Fisher says:

    “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
    Broadcasters have been criticised for not showing Nineteen Eighty-Four on the telly, probably for fear of people seeing the ‘coincidence’ between it and today’s reality.

    The truth is, who needs to screen it when all in Croydon are living it.

  2. Diana Pinnell says:

    So now we have to register our cars to pay via Ring-Go (as used for the trial) as well as for Saba who replaced another provider at Purley Hospital in May and whose app declined to install on my mobile phone. Visits to family or shopping in other towns will necessitate additional apps, all involving registration of car number plate and credit card. Is there no common sense at work?

  3. So all those parking bays in the Brighton Road bike lane aren’t anything to do with helping motorists and shopkeepers like part-time Perry claims but everything to do with making money for his council while he shuts down the Croydon voluntary sector. Cool

    • Ian Kierans says:

      It wont make them money – It will be a less. But they do not have to spend money on maintaining anything so save on equipment save on employment costs etc. but get a fixed amount back from the company running it.

      So little financial risk to the Council , little operational costs other than a contract support manager running multiple contracts, complaints go to the company running it, not the council again freeing up employment costs.

      You are talking here about auto provision of services without any responsibility or accountability other than contract management.
      Fundamentally the driver is paying the lot and getting bugger all in return.
      As time goes on watch those prices raise so that the company can maintain a profit margin.

      The big losers will (and always will) be those reliant.
      Might as well get rid of Perry and Co and just appoint a good AI – at least then we will get rapid open and honest answers – still wont like them but better than what we got!

  4. Sheila Clark says:

    The Ring-Go app charges more than paying cash and the “top-ups” are ridiculously higher than popping back to the machine with some coins.

  5. Ian Kierans says:

    Perry ”thunks” (seeing image of homer simpson) of how many people can drive and use their mobile?

    Soon they can book a vacant spot whilst en route. Just let the app track and data scrape all the other sites they visit – and we can flog that data just like the electoral role.


    One forseen impact could be to hospital transport.
    Has this Council done an impact assessment.? (haha)

    If they have did they consider how many people assist in dropping friends, neighbours, relatives and even those volunteers that help others unknown to attend hospital and other types of medical appointments.?

    Some may have blue badges – but some will not. But all will now be evaluating whether that assistance can still be provided. We are talking hundreds of trips in croydon each week at least

    How many will now end up on the overstretched hospital transport system? How many will end up having to go back again and again to cancelled appointment as transport does not run the way many clinic’s do now?

    And when someone dies as a direct result of that, with the root cause being this decision, who will attend court?

  6. miapawz says:

    I’ll be avoiding Croydon if this carries on. Bromley or Kingston are more welcoming.

    • Tory Bromley has already beaten Croydon to the removal of all the pay and display machines.

      LibDem Kingston have three ways to pay for parking: the RingGo App, calling RingGo or finding the nearest PayPoint convenience store to the parking location where you can pay by cash or card.

      • Ted Steer says:

        Kingston have card-only pay and display machines.

        Sutton still has cash pay and display machines, but the charges are extortionate.

  7. Peter Howard says:

    Typical of the greedy politicians who could not run a whelk stall, let alone borough or the Country whatever their Political persuasion!!

Leave a Reply