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Westminster council have in principle decided to introduce parking charges until midnight

At a cabinet meeting at Westminster held on the 18th Jan they decided, in principle, to extend the charging and enforcement hours of the central controlled zones to Midnight Mon – Sat. They also decided to increase parking charges in most areas including a 100% increase in St Johns Wood and up to £5 ph in central London.

This means that in central London which could include the F zone south of Marylebone Road as well as all other zones except B and C (which are north of Marylebone Road) motorists will have to pay up to £5 ph until midnight and will no longer be able to park on single yellow lines after 6.30pm as they to will operate until midnight.  What does this mean. (except a massive increase in revenue for Westminster.)

Many people will no longer visit shops, restaurants theatre , cinemas etc in the evening so many of these may well close.

As Westminster council sells many more residents permits than they have places, residents park on single yellow lines after 6.30. Now they will not be able to so it effects them. Also their friends and guests may not want to visit them in the evening as they will have to pay £5ph up to midnight.

The elderly and single ladies who drive into London at night for safety reasons will be either discouraged or forced to use public transport late at night and walk along dark streets.

Parking charges are going up for “harmonisation” purposes!!  Yes because Camden charge £4.80 an hour and a few of their streets adjoin Westminster they want to “harmonise” the situation in the whole of the central zone (even streets miles away) at £5ph !!!

In St Johns Wood they will double parking fees from £1.10 to £2.20 ph again for “harmonisation” purposes with their more central zone at Marylebone which charges £2.20. Marylebone is more central and charges have always been higher. St John’s wood actually has more streets bordering camden than Marylebone and Camden charge £1.60 ph – this however was not mentioned in the report. So they want to harmonise St John’s wood with Marylebone rather than with the other half of St John’s Wood !!!

They are also going to increase residents permit charges above inflation.

So why are they doing this?

It is to reduce pollution, congestion and yes you guessed it the Olympics in 2012 which is the other side of London!!!. The report confirms that they cannot make these decisions for revenue raising purposes further to a high court case of Cran vs Camden council which says it is against the law and “Westminster therefore cannot set or increase its charges with the motive of generating income, though the generation of income is legitimate if it is merely incidental to the setting of charges for other reasons such as traffic constraint”

HOWEVER  a briefing note of the minority party budget report dated 12th January which refers to a deficit of £22m of which we believe that £17m is relating to less income from parking. The report says

At the December cabinet meeting officers were asked to go away and look more closely at parking and community safety to find further reductions (or additional income).

It also says

The areas of parking and community safety have been earmarked to contribute the majority of the additional £14m highlighted in the further commissioning savings line ….

This in our opinion could be why these changes are being brought in. In our opinion they have no regard for their residents or business’s or the vulnerable. If this is the case it could be illegal.

We can only hope that one of the trade bodies representing restaurants, shops or theatres will mount a high court challenge.