Croydon’s vandal-backing Mayor, Jason Perry, who showboats his opposition to ULEZ in public, now wants to hit motorists in Croydon in the pocket with his own money-grabbing parking app.
Perry’s new fans from the anti-15minute city mob will be outraged.
The piss-poor Mayor wants to get rid of the borough’s parking meters.
Under Perry’s money-spinning proposals, the meters are 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 every time that they park their car.
The proposals also include a sharp reduction in the amount of time people will be able to park their vehicles without charge in certain shopping areas in the borough.
The system has already been trialled in South Croydon, causing confusion and some anger among traders as well as motorists, and the part-time Mayor yesterday launched his consultation on borough-wide proposals.
Like a record with a stuck needle, piss-poor Perry trotted out his unconvincing line that “We have listened to residents and businesses”, before trying to claim that, “Our new parking policy sets out… to help residents and support traders.”
The truth, of course, is that it does nothing of the sort.
Instead, it will usher in an automated parking system, using smartphone apps, which the cash-strapped council hopes will generate millions of pounds in extra revenues and fines.
And it could make it impossible for anyone who does not own an expensive smart phone to find a parking space in Croydon without risking a £120 fine.
Besides, have you tried to grapple with any of Croydon Council’s dysfunctional online systems recently?
The Mayor’s loyal workers in the propaganda bunker at Fisher’s Folly had to work overtime to spin the more sinister aspects of the proposals in their consultation announcement yesterday.
“A new consultation is launching today…”, does anyone ever launch an “old” consultation? “… to gather feedback on the council’s proposals for a new parking strategy.”
They try to claim that the proposals will “make it fairer for all road users and make the most out of road space in Croydon”.
And they try to make out that Perry’s cash-generating scheme will “reduce congestion” (they fail to say how) “and manage parking demand while supporting local businesses and residents”.
Expect the Town Hall clock to chime 13 any day now, in true Orwellian fashion…
One “highlight” of the council’s scheme, according to the council, is “the introduction of virtual permits to improve service efficiency, and better parking controls in areas with high demand for on-street parking”.
The giveaway comes in the council’s draft policy document, which early on tries to claim it is not “anti-car”, one of pro-pollution Perry’s bête noires, but which on what it calls Policy Four, “Efficient Service Management”, manages to set in bold type the word “efficient”, “efficiency” or a version thereof no less than five times in just a handful of paragraphs.
This is all about more cuts to council staff, while ensuring that the punters’ money keeps rolling in.
“Virtual Permits to replace the traditional paper permits,” it says.
“Cashless parking phone apps are already used throughout the borough and are far more efficient than physical pay and display machines,” they write, speaking from the council’s perspective, rather than that of the consumer.
“We will deal with all enquiries in a timely manner ensuring these are dealt with fairly, efficiently and transparently.” Which would be a first.
Any major changes to parking arrangements in Croydon should be subject to their own individual consultations before coming into effect, using parking data gathered from the streets. How the council might manipulate this data before making it available to the public, they omit to say.
Six public drop-in sessions have been arranged where local residents and businesses are invited to provide feedback in person, and have questions answered by the team.
Starting next week, what they call “drop-in sessions” have been scheduled across the borough:
- Central Library, 27 September, 10am – 12.30pm
- South Norwood Library: 28 September, 12pm – 2.30pm
- Purley Library: 28 September, 4.30pm – 7pm
- Thornton Health Library: 10 October, 4.30pm – 7pm
- South Norwood Library: 11 October, 4.30pm – 7pm
- Coulsdon Library: 12 October, 4.30pm – 7pm
- Purley Library: 18 October, 12pm – 2.30pm
- Central Library: 18 October, 4.30pm – 7pm
- Coulsdon Library: 24 October, 10am – 12.30pm
- Thornton Heath Library: 24 October, 4.30pm – 7pm
There is an online questionnaire on the council website which will close at the end of October.
Residents who had got wind of the scheme have already made their feelings known. “Whose dreadful idea was this?
“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.”
Those poor unfortunates who encountered the month-long trial run of Mayor Perry’s scheme on South End and Selsdon Road complained that the system was anything but “simple”, or “streamlined”, but it is very “confusing”. 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,” one reader said.
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, for Croydon’s £84,000 per year Mayor, parking charges are something he hasn’t had to worry about for many years: he’s had a free parking pass ever since he was elected on to the council.
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