Westminster Council’s parking policies have made the headlines for all the wrong reasons not least because I’ve recently found myself defending the imposition of a parking fine by them! Proposals to introduce parking restrictions during the evenings and weekends have been met which much hostility by local residents and businesses alike with a meeting this evening by the full council facing an 8000 strong petition against the proposals.
So, not only have I been confronted with this issue in my capacity as a London-wide assembly member, I’ve also been clobbered as a local resident. With my assembly hat firmly on, I was interested to hear what the Mayor of London had to say about the issue of evening and weekend charges which is why I submitted a question to him asking “How does the City of Westminster’s new parking policy affect your policies in central London?”. He gave a muted response against the proposals but his response spoke louder about the impact on local businesses (which is of course very good) but not enough about the impact on local residents. With recent price hikes in the cost of transport and the relentless poor service at weekends, those who may not oridinarily have travelled by car are being lured, some would argue forced back into their car. It would not be too cynical of me to suggest that there is a strong element of revenue raising behind the proposals. Residents have wholeheartedly spoken out against the moves and the proposals are also bad for business. For these reasons, the Mayor should be much bolder and vocal in his response. I hope that my recent question to him will prompt him to speak out for the Londoners most affected.