The Scoop

Westminster parking fiasco - the view that's not being heard

Darryl Chamberlain | Thursday 19 January, 2012 12:57

Followers of the Evening Standard’s increasingly surreal take on London life can’t have failed to have noticed it has a slight problem with the current leader of Westminster Council.

But for simply deciding that the council could raise a few pounds to help serve its residents by charging motorists more to park in streets that are served by the capital’s best public transport network, Colin Barrow has paid a heavy political price.

After the Standard led a hysterical campaign against any threat to Mayfair drivers’ freedom to clog up our roads, Cllr Barrow ended up having to backtrack and resign.

According to the Standard, being charged to park in the West End on a Saturday night was a “nightlife tax”, while adding double yellow lines to crowded city streets was beyond the pale.

But, a reasonable observer might ask, who was making the case for charging car drivers and promoting the use of the bus and the Tube?

Ken Livingstone, who introduced the congestion charge in 2003, branded the charges a parking rip-off.

Even Green candidate Jenny Jones attacked the charges, calling them “an exercise in increasing council revenues”. Heaven forbid!

So it was down to local blog Fitzrovia News to argue the point.

“All sorts of excuses have been used by those defending the right of motorists to have free parking in central London. But the motoring lobby are the real “something for nothing” group. In real terms the cost of motoring has gone down. While public transport costs have gone up, car drivers have enjoyed a relative holiday.

“Despite the media furore about Westminster City Council’s parking changes they are at least actually doing something to address the problem of pollution and congestion. Unlike all the candidates for Mayor of London, none of whom have any real proposals to tackle the problem. And it is the Mayor’s and Transport for London’s job to sort out any inadequacies in public transport, not Westminster City Council.”

Read more. Because Fitzrovia News seems to be the only voice defending central London against increased congestion at the moment. They don’t fancy standing for mayor, do they?

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Darryl Chamberlain

About this writer

Darryl Chamberlain

Darryl writes Greenwich's 853 Blog and contributes to the Charlton Champion.

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