Here is a guest blog from Barnet CPZ Action Group
Those of you who read the Sunday Times may have seen a 2 page article in the In Gear section looking at how councils have been increasing parking charges. The article focuses on Barnet in particular and the case of a family (the Parkers) who had to spend £32 on parking vouchers to hold a party at home for their 3 year old daughter is featured prominently.
Its a great way of illustrating how the charges impact on everyday activities. The only disappointment is that Barnet Council are quoted as saying the following: "We have held down the prices of residents' parking for several years but circumstances dictate that we have to bring them into line with other London boroughs"
Its hard to have a debate with the Council when they resort to this sort of nonsense. The statement that charges in Barnet have been brought "in line with other London boroughs" is simply not true. Barnet Council must know the facts yet they misinform perhaps 1 million readers in order to save themselves from embarrassment. Barnet Council well know that if the Parkers had held their daughter's party in the adjacent Haringey street, they would have spent £4.80 on parking, not the £32 they spent in Barnet.
The Mail on Sunday also picked up on the story, highlighting the absurd £32 cost of inviting 8 toddlers to a birthday party.Link to the dailymail.co.uk
Mr Mustard did do a review of parking charges in outer north London boroughs a while ago. It is not reasonable to compare across all boroughs as the closer to the middle of a circle one gets, and London is really just a large circle, then the more cramped one gets for space and following the economic laws of supply and demand prices should be lower in Barnet then in the more central boroughs. It is an unattractive argument that all London boroughs should have the same charges as they are all so different. Even within Barnet car park charges vary to reflect local demand.
Why do Barnet Council know their statement not to be true? Well, for a start they must have looked at the charges in other boroughs to see how swingeing an increase they thought they could get away with.
Where does the Chief Executive live? I am, I hope, reliably informed that Mr Walkley lives in Islington. What are the charges like there? They are a bit complicated. You can see the full tariff here. An annual permit for your first car will cost you from zero for an electric vehicle ( they used to be zero in Barnet but not any more which doesn't encourage one to be green now does it? ) to £391 for a gas guzzler. If your vehicle is less than 1,400cc or emits less than 151g of CO2 then it will be cheaper to be in Islington. Charges in Barnet are not in line with Islington's - the base in Islington is greenness and no such scheme exists in Barnet.
Where does the Deputy Chief Executive live? In N10 which is in Haringey. The charges there are also a bit complicated. Here they are. So if your car emits 150g of CO2 or less, or is 1549cc or less, then it will be cheaper to get a permit for your car in Haringey. Again the price base is the size of, or emissions of, one's car.
In neither case can the charges be considered to be comparable. The Chief Executive and his Deputy both know this as they live in other, more crowded boroughs.
Have they corrected the false impression which is being hawked by Barnet Council. No they haven't.