8 October 2013

The elastic band has snapped

Borough commander talking about a fire call "and then we got a parking ticket" (maybe)
Mr Mustard doesn't know when the first cctv vehicle was introduced but supposes it is 5 or 10 years ago. He did tweet (no response yet) the British Parking Association wondering what debate there was before the cars were introduced (his guess is none at all nationally) and being in a charitable mood today he supposes that a car parking manager thought that they really would make the world a safer place and that issuing loads of PCN and raising money was not in his/her mind. Then the elastic band started to be stretched. 

More cars were purchased.
More councils got on the bandwagon.
Word spread at meetings of council parking managers.
Smart saw an opportunity to sell more cars (Mr Mustard used to have one, they are great, his motorbike has an engine twice the size so found the car a little slow but it was nippy enough)
Static cctv also became cheaper and more widespread (not in Barnet for PCN so well done again; Mr Mustard will take a little lie down for a minute, all this praising of Barnet he keeps doing)

Before we knew it the ruddy cctv cars were everywhere and NotoMob was out there fighting on our behalf.

Then the elastic band went twang because Uncle Eric, or the Rt Hon. Eric Pickles MP as others know of him, became the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 12 May 2010. Uncle Eric is truly a man of the people, he knows what is right and proper - sneaky PCN issued by cctv simply isn't. Uncle Eric is going to rid our streets of cctv for parking purposes (presumably it will still be allowed for moving traffic offences but even there he might say that the road layout should be altered to make banned turns more difficult and to stop PCN being issued for being only 25mm into a yellow box junction) and now follows the text of an email that Mr Mustard has received (twice, once to himself in reply to an email he had forgotten about and once through another interested party, possibly in Wandsworth; they know who they are)

Thank you for your email to the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP regarding recent announcements concerning car parking. I have been asked to reply and apologise for the delay in doing so.

Good and affordable parking provision can play an important role in rejuvenating high streets and town centres. Making it easier to park helps support local shops, local jobs and tourism by increasing footfall, giving them a chance to compete against internet retailers and out of town superstores.

Trying to find somewhere to park has become an obstacle course in too many of our towns, cities and seaside resorts. Confusing and difficult car parking practices are undermining the economic vitality of the high street, local parades of shops and tourist destinations. Over-zealous parking wardens have inflicted real damage on local economies, and given many towns and councils a bad name.

We’ve taken action to increase the number of parking spaces. We removed restrictions on the number of parking spaces for new developments, and we've just published new draft planning practice guidance which states councils should reflect the important role appropriate parking facilities can play in rejuvenating shops, high streets and town centres; pushes for more town centre parking spaces; and tackles the blight of ugly street clutter and aggressive 'anti-car' traffic calming measures like road humps.

We’re also taking steps to tackle draconian parking charges and enforcement. 

We’ve withdrawn guidance that encouraged councils to set parking fees to discourage the use of cars. And we’ve set out clearly in the new draft planning practice guidance that planning rules should not be used as an excuse for unfairly penalising drivers.

But there is more to do. Councils have a key role in promoting local economic growth and local jobs. Approximately half of all parking is run by local authorities. But the fact that local authority revenue from parking in 2010 was £1.3 billion shows why we need to review and rein in unfair town hall parking rules. The law is clear that parking is not a tax or cash cow for town hall officers. We want to see councils taking a clear and proportionate approach to parking enforcement.

So Cabinet Ministers, Eric Pickles and Patrick McLoughlin, have announced that the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Transport will in due course publish details of further reforms, which include stopping CCTV being used for on-street parking enforcement and providing new open data on parking to allow the public to ‘go compare’. The Government has also proposed to consult on updating parking enforcement guidance to support local shops, and on issues such as tackling wrongly-issued fines, reviewing unnecessary double yellow lines and increasing the grace period for parking offences.

Yours sincerely,

DCLG Contact Us Team

Keep up the good work Uncle Eric. CCTV to be used to keep communities safe. What a good idea.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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