What would happen if town centre parking were free? Well, naturally the income from paid for parking would go down to zero (space can be rationed by time as well as by money) and the number of PCN for not paying would reduce. The number of PCN for overstaying would stay the same. The costs of providing traffic wardens and back office processing would reduce in proportion and the amount of money paid to Verrus for the PayByPhone system would also go to zero saving about £325,000 a year.
This is what Mr Mustard thinks the Special Parking Account would roughly look like if parking were rationed by time instead of by money.
|Paid for parking||2,945,682||-|
|Bus Lane penalties||831,492||831,492|
|Parking Penalty Charge Notices||5,003,385||4,020,577|
How terrible, the council would only trouser the odd £4million. Not too shabby is it?
What might happen in town centres? Mr Mustard thinks that they would have the chance to regenerate.
Of course, even though they say parking charges aren't there to revenue raise, the fact that they are in the Annual Budget means that the £3m reduction in the parking surplus would have to be found from somewhere else. Half of it could be found from not reducing council tax by 1% in the next year.
The Council Leader Richard Cornelius is concerned about High Barnet town centre (not a marginal ward is it?) and came for a look around one afternoon recently. He was spotted and got told it was parking that was the problem. Richard really didn't even need to leave his home in Totteridge to work that out as the largely unrestricted Whetstone High Rd is trading quite well. So here's a thought Richard. Try out my idea in two town centres (yes, North Finchley and Chipping Barnet, where else) and see if all the traders get off your back, see trade slowly pick up and then you can then ask for votes on the grounds that you are saving the High Streets (the ones that removing cash parking meters from ruined; your administration but we won't mention that, well except to the 500 people a day who read this). If the idea works then extend it, if it doesn't work then at least you will have tried somehting rather than done nothing. It is the duty of the council to act positively towards High Streets not to cash cow them out of existence.
Thinking outside of the (money) box. That is what you are given huge allowances for isn't it Richard, lateral and/or radical thinking? Go on, give it a try, you might even get a taste for it.
Mr Mustard doesn't want to live in a world without High Streets.