5 August 2013

Parking prices - the future

Yesterday saw Richard Cornelius, the leader of the council, responding to the many emails he had received that suggested the council not appeal the decision of Mrs Justice Lang, DBE, that the revenue raising CPZ permit price increase was unlawful.

Here is the entire email sent to a friend:

no appeal

That could be misconstrued by the voters Richard,  they may take you at your word and vote for a nice new independent candidate?

Mr Mustard blogged yesterday about refunds. You can do them online using one of those horrible webforms, here, or you can send an email here. One email will suffice; if you moved since May 2011 give the council both addresses so they can find you more easily. I am told that a separate email is needed for each permit (a tweet has been sent to the council to see if that is true but given that Mr Mustard sold his car and purchased the blogger bus in that time then it might be sensible to do separate claims) and the council website says that it will take up to 8 weeks to process a refund. Come on Barnet Council that isn't cricket. You give people 4 weeks to pay up for a parking ticket or you increase the penalty by 50%. Doesn't asking for 8 weeks look a teensy weensy bit one-sided? 

You have had 2 years to plan for this day, why are you not better organised and staffed up for this. You will have to get temps in and it is a sausage factory operation so easy to manage. Did the applicant pay or not, yes or no, is all you have to decide and then record the refund in such a way that it does not get paid twice.

Mr Mustard didn't want Richard to feel all lonely now that CPZ emails will come to a stop and so he rattled off his thoughts, as follows:

Dear Richard

Thank you for taking the trouble to reply.

I presume that prices will revert to the old ones and then that there will be a root and branch reform of all parking charges to look to the future. That would also be a good time to look at cash parking meters again. There must be room for some compromise. You may be told they are expensive to collect cash from but paybyphone costs are about 10% of income which isn't that far short of what cash collecting costs.

There are two places where cash meters are, in my view, essential and that is car parks and the High Street. They could probably be covered by about 100 machines (there used to be about 450) especially if a number of short term free bays were also introduced at the same time to cut down the number required. Rationing space can be done by time as well as by money; look at Whetstone which merely limits you from parking on one side of the road or the other (with no time limit I think) and how busy it is.

You aren't in it for the money remember.

Best regards

Mr Mustard

Mr Mustard will of course attend any committee at which this subject is discussed and keep an eye out for a Delegated Powers Report by which method it might be dealt (although given the importance it really should be properly discussed by committee).

It isn't only the resident permits that need looking at. If a business is within a CPZ zone it can buy a permit for £525 (or £840 for a permit to cover any registration - intended to help businesses who rent their delivery vans and so have frequent changes of registration) and they can then park in business permit holder spaces. Mr Mustard is struggling to see how a permit to park a vehicle, possibly an estate car or Morris Minor sized van, which belongs to a business can be justified to cost £525 when it takes up the same space as a resident's car or less space than the blogger bus (a Renault Trafic) which has a resident permit. It looks like the council are revenue raising from businesses and will have to stop. A business is limited to 3 permits (that won't encourage businesses with 500 employees to come to Barnet) and so there is some logic in charging the same price for a permit as to Residents.

Near High Barnet tube there has been a campaign to have a CPZ zone extended. It is the D zone. You will find a report here.

Here are some short extracts:

As a result of the consultation the Council received 53 email or letter responses frommembers of the public relating to the proposals which included comments, objections
and requests to revise the proposal. Of the 53 items of correspondence, two were epetitions (which can be viewed at http://petitions.barnet.gov.uk/SupportCPZ and
http://petitions.barnet.gov.uk/ValeDrive ) and 51 were received from local residents.
Of the 53 items, 12 (22.6%) were against the proposed CPZ extension while 41
(77.3%) were in favour.

An e-petition containing 215 signatories not in support of the proposals from
people who work for, represent or visit regularly Vale Drive Primary Care Centre and
St Catherine’s County RC School. Both St Catherine’s and Vale Drive Health Clinic
have a large number of staff who live outside walking distance, who work full time at
these premises. Both buildings have small car parks, which have the space to
provide parking for approximately 40% of their workforce. The remainder of
employees currently use the non-restricted zones in the surrounding roads. The
implications of the extended parking zones is considered by the petitioners to be a
huge inconvenience to staff, it also means vehicles will be parking in Mays Lane
EN5, which already currently becomes hugely congested. The Council has been
informed that at St Catherine’s staff rely on a large number of volunteers to help with
the day-to-day running of the school including school trips, extra curricular activities
and classroom assistance. The proposed restrictions will be a further deterrent to the
willing and kind local community who currently assist the school with the education of
Barnet children.

An e-petition containing 85 signatories in support of the CPZ extension proposal
was received from residents of Elton Avenue, Woodfall Avenue and Milton Avenue
who are currently competing for parking space with commuters, clinic workers,
school workers and college students, leaving little or no room for resident parking
during the day. The detail of the petition goes on to highlight Barnet has plenty of
spaces in the station car park, and Fitzohn (sic) Avenue car park which could conceivably
accommodate these commuters, leaving the residents, and their visitors, (including
carers) to park near their own houses.

Clearly the council want to support its local communities in which St Catherine’s
County RC School plays a vital role so it is also mindful of adversely affecting
amenities that service the area and need support. The Council has recognised this
across the board, and with this in mind the council is, under a separate process,
considering establishing permits for teaching staff that will entitle those eligible staff
of those qualifying schools within the borough, to park in the relevant CPZs. It is
considered that should it be agreed that teachers permits be introduced, that subject
to all statutory processes, they could be in place this autumn. In relation to St
Catherine’s County RC School, it is considered that as the roads are part controlled,
if the CPZ extension is agreed the whole length of each road would have the capacity
for both resident and teaching staff parking.

In terms of the staff of the health centre, no permits are envisaged; however it is
considered that parking provision exists for those motorists wishing to park
throughout the day, through the Council-operated and private car parks situated

Following the conclusion of the statutory consultation it is still considered that there is
merit in the nature of the measures proposed for the area to improve the parking
conditions for residents, however, following considerations of comments and
objections received, the council is confident that the proposal would not detract from
what the council originally aimed to achieve in the area, with various concerns about
non-resident parking able to be managed in other ways.

Officers wrote to Underhill Ward Councillors prior to the statutory consultation in
order to ascertain their views on the proposal. No comments were received in the
three weeks given. (Why do we have councillors?)

What do you think of this CPZ zone extension? An unusual precedent has been set (do please tell Mr Mustard if exceptions have been made for teachers anywhere else in the borough) with permits being planned for teachers but not for nurses and with local businesses just up the hill paying £525 for a permit. Mr Mustard doesn't think that the council have got this balancing act right (he readily accepts it wasn't easy).

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. We have to pay £525 for a pretty useless permit (there are so few business bays in High Barnet). We work 12 hours, 6.5 days a week. A teacher on a government salary, paid holidays, bank holidays, sick days, pension etc. etc. should receive a free permit? Excuse me while I choke and splutter on my coffee.

    Small businesses are the 'engine of the economy' - we will never get out of recession until the government and local councils stop fleecing them and get their priorities right.


I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.