26 July 2012

The Leader has a tinker

What is the "Leader" Richard Cornelius up to? He has a new Cabinet Member, Dean Cohen, who has the poisoned chalice of sorting out the mess that Brian Coleman got parking into and instead of leaving him to take the flak he is signing off a Delegated Powers Report that the traffic boys put together. Let's take a look at it.
1727 - EPR Fees and Charges Parking Charges

You might find it instructive to also have the report which went to Cabinet Resources on 13 January 2011 (it says 2010 on it but that is just one of those errors that Mr Mustard spots that no-one at Barnet Council ever seems to, and if they do they can't be bothered to put it right)
Agenda Item 5 Fees e and o 11-12

We might as well have a copy of the notice that went up in car parks last year

Now let us wind back the clock and look at the difference between 2 years ago when Brian Coleman got his mitts on the parking account and made such a hash of it and what is being proposed now for car parks. Mr Mustard lives in High Barnet so has just looked at those 3 car parks.

All High All High Stapylton % Moxon St %

Barnet Barnet
increase Fitzjohn increase
From 2010 2011 2012
To 2011 2012 2013
Minutes £ £ £
15 0.35 1.00 0.50 42.86 0.75 114.29
30 0.70 1.00 0.50 -28.57 0.75 7.14
45 1.00 2.00 1.00 0.00 1.70 70.00
60 1.70 2.00 1.00 -41.18 1.70 0.00
90 2.70 3.00 2.00 -25.93 2.70 0.00
120 3.50 5.00 2.00 -42.86 3.60 2.86
180 3.50 5.00 2.00 -42.86 3.95 12.86
240 3.50 5.00 2.50 -28.57 3.95 12.86

all day 3.50 5.00 5.00 42.86 3.95* 12.86
*except Moxon St £4.50 all day for some bizarre reason.

What a mess. So a quick nip into a car park, perhaps to drop a letter off at your Solicitors, which once you could have done for 35p will now cost 75p, an increase of 114%. If it isn't urgent you are better of letting Royal Mail deliver next day for 60p or even 50p the day after.

A quick shop, maybe you want some old fashioned sweets for your children from Hopscotch and to drop some books into the North London Hospice charity shop that you could easily have managed in 45 minutes and was £1 now costs you £1.70 an increase of 70% over 2 years ago. Well in front of inflation so these small decreases are actually not really doing the High St any favours, not at the South End anyway.

Now the odd thing is that the Stapylton Rd car park is at the north end of the High St. You could walk from Stapylton to Moxon or Fitzjohn in less than 10 minutes so why someone has decided to make that car park cheaper than the other two choices and cheaper than it used to be 2 years ago for 1 to 4 hours of parking I don't suppose anyone will be able to work out. A cock-up probably but a welcome one all the same. So Mr Mustard's advice to visitors once this new tariff comes in is to approach Barnet from the north and try the Stapylton Rd car park first if you are staying for up to 4 hours followed by Fitzjohn Avenue for over 4 hours (assuming there isn't a maximum stay which isn't mentioned in the paperwork) and finally Moxon St as it costs 55p more despite being only about 300m away.

What a bloody mess.

It is no surprise that labour Councillor Kath McGuirk has called this in for another look. These are her points (have used your house colours Kath).

1.2 That there is no introduction of CCTV parking enforcement.

Additional variations in parking charges:
1. Introduce a 30 minute free parking period pilot in town centres
2. Reverse last year’s parking charge and parking permit increases
3. Re-introduce parking meters in our town centres that take credit, debit, smart cards and cash
4. Bring scratch card and any half day visitors permits in line with last year’s prices

Item 1.2 - I am with you on 1.2 about cctv. It is a sneaky way of dealing with motorists. Far too big brother. There is no current capacity in the system for more cameras so that might just get agreed and I think Cllr Longstaff said he would at a recent meeting. Best to get it in writing though.

No. 1. - I would suggest 90 minutes free parking. If that was done in High Streets we could send people who want to park longer to car parks. If 90 minutes was the maximum, except for blue badge holders, then there would be a steady turnover of motorists coming and going all day and they would have time even to take lunch or do a big shop. The income from payment is less than the income from Penalty Charge Notices and doubtless the traffic wardens could fill their allegedly non-existent daily quotas elsewhere such as double yellow lines, pavement parking, loading bays, crossovers and in residents' bays.

No. 2 - Yes.

No. 3 - In car parks this is essential.

No. 4 - Yes

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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