16 July 2012

It really isn't rocket science

the jpg referred to

The pdf figures

Mr Mustard wonders how many people are giving advice to Cllr Dean Cohen. It is probably quite a few. Hopefully he will ignore anything his predecessor tells him or just do the opposite as that is likely to be popular.

I was sent a copy of an email from a Mr Jez Simms to Cllr Cohen (I have left the misspelling of Choen as I am re-printing not proof-reading). If you want to give the Cabinet Member in charge of parking your opinion you can email him at Cllr.D.Cohen@barnet.gov.uk

From: "Jezza"

Date: 15 July 2012 15:39:10

Subject: Parking

Dear Cllr Cohen.

I write to you this rainy Sunday afternoon in order to articulate my thoughts on the current situation regarding parking in North Finchley.

'P' stands for Parking. It also stand for Potty! This seems to me to be a perfectly appropriate title to represent how this parking project has been handled from the start. I'm starting to wonder if the whole exercise has been designed to eat into whatever money the council does have, in order to justify not having its budget cut for the the next financial year.

A couple of years ago, the council went to great expense by updating the pay-by-coin parking meters with new ones. Barely a year later they were replaced by pay-by-phone ones. Consultation was kept to a minimum because, I suspect, the public and traders alike would have been up in arms about both the way these meters functioned and were priced.

Cutting to the chase Mr Choen, we all know what an utter fiasco this parking project has been. Whilst I appreciate that the council needed to address the issue at the time - about coin machines either breaking down or being vandalised - nevertheless the resultant pay-by-phone solution has not gone down at all well. It's discriminatory, expensive and introduces the necessity of a mobile 'phone in order to allow the facility to function. That - in effect - is taking a tried & tested formula and putting it in reverse - every pun intended!

I understand the council is now thinking about altering the machines - again - to facilitate payment by credit card. Ok, that's fine since it extends the way in which a person can pay for the privilege of using a parking space.

However, I believe the fundamental issue here is about pricing. I've only now just realised - thanks entirely to Helen Michael's efforts - that, in fact, the prices for the Lodge Lane car park, and indeed, all of North Finchley has doubled! Two pounds for one hour? To coin a famous, exasperated cry, "You cannot be serious!" Although, in real terms, when one adds on the addition of 20p that the pay-by-phone operator charges on top of the parking fee, the price increase is even higher.

The reason I attached the jpg Mr Cohen is obviously very clear. The prices that Hertsmere Council set the public are fair and balanced.

And yet this area is seen to be just as if not slightly more affluent than North Finchley. So, if a neighbouring council can come up with car parking prices where, per house-hold, the net income is possibly higher than that of the average home-owner in North Finchley, how on earth can Barnet Council possibly justify trying to extract even more money from the slightly less well off?

The answer is simple - IT CANT!. The leader of the council virtually admitted to me that - there is no money. In other words - thanks to Government cuts - we have no money so we're going to penalise the public through massively inflated parking charges in order to balance the books. Nice try Barnet Council. But when North Finchley is a complete ghost town, when not just a dozen shops have been forced to close down but virtually all of them, what do you plan to do about parking charges then? Because then it will be way too late.

I am disgusted to think that Helen Michael was arrested for effectively defending her right to protest. Yet more waste of tax payers money.

She, like many of her fellow traders, can see the damage that is occuring right before her very eyes. If anyone should be arrested it is the Council itself for its total mismanagement of this whole parking scheme, since it is clearly a contributing factor why businessess having been going under. Those unfortunate businesses are the ones that should be suing the Council! The Council is who should really be questioned - at length - and NOT a lady who is simply fighting for survival.

And on top of this, the Council has the audacity to insist that the shop owners themselves distribute scratch cards to the punters. Discount incentives here, right's to sell at face value prices there - it's just another totally unnecessary addition to a system that has worked so simply, so effectively; for so long.

So I invite you Mr Cohen to look, think and consider again - just for a moment - exactly what the jpeg represents as against the pdf figures.

It's very simple - common sense against common senselessness.

Mary Portas is absolutely right when she observes that the only way to re-invigorate local shopping areas is by giving the incentive to shoppers that they cant get on-line. And one way, as Hertsmere Borough Council have clearly identified, is by setting sensible car-parking charges through machines that are simple to understand and operate. It really isn't rocket science.

If Barnet Council does not heed these warnings, I fear the damage to the local community will be irreparable. And you can bet your bottom dollar that the on-line shopping community is sitting in the neon sun in Sillicon Valley thinking 'thank you Barnet Council - bring it on!"

I look forward to hearing from you at your earlist convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Jez Simms.

That one line "It really isn't rocket science" reverberated with Mr Mustard. Running a parking system should be a cake walk. Make it easy to pay and people will pay; society is fundamentally compliant. Barnet Council is so busy navel gazing and reorganising and having pointless interminable meetings and trying to run One Barnet when it can't even walk that it takes stupid decisions like forcing the motorists of Barnet to go cashless as if Barnet isn't part of the real world. It is and consequently it has to offer the same payment methods as everyone else. By all means offer pay-by-phone but as a choice along with cash, credit card in a local machine or voucher.

Where has Mr Mustard spent money this weekend? John Lewis (Welwyn not Brent X) where he paid with a mixture of vouchers and credit card (large value purchases) Waitrose where he paid with his John Lewis card (to get the 1% cashback) The Paper Shop where he paid by cash, the fish stall on Barnet market (lovely tuna steak) where he paid by cash (it doesn't take credit cards although after 20 years of going though he could probably have an account) Dory's Cafe where he paid by cash, Bargain Buys where he bought 6 lightbulbs and paid by cash and had a free tug of war with Sammy the resident dog. Imagine if all of those 6 shops insisted on being paid by credit card how long it would take to do your shopping and how odd you would think it was.

Do you have a view on how we should be able to pay for our parking and what level the charges should be set out. Then sharpen up your pencil and email Dean Cohen. Remember that councillors work for us and it is our democratic right, our duty even, to write to them and tell them what we think. The more we do it the more they will start to realise that they represent us and not the other way around. If you don't tell them what you think then you can't complain if they do things that you don't like.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. In Borehamwood High Street, the council allows you to park free for 30 minutes. It used to be 60 mins - but 30 mins is long enough if you are just buying a few items.


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