Labour-run Greenwich Council has decided to push through a rise in charges in car parks and for parking permits by 7%, using an urgency procedure to make sure it cannot be challenged by opposition Councillors. According to the BBC general prices are currently rising by 0.4%, which means that the proposed increase in charges is a massive 17.5 times the rate of inflation and will hit Greenwich residents and businesses.
The ‘Review of Parking Permit and Pay and Display Charges’ aims to raise the cost of:
· Parking permits for businesses, residents and visitors
· On street parking
· Off street parking (like car parks)
The decision means that residents in all day Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) will face a charge of £107pa for parking outside their own home while businesses located in the same area will pay £428 to park. Even in shorter duration CPZs, businesses will be forced to pay £214pa.
On top of this there are a number of issues which suggest that Labour Councillors don’t even understand what they are doing:-
· A review of parking charges should take place at least every two years, but this deadline has been missed, leading to a massive rise in charges in 2021.
· The proposal to push up charges by so much (according to report with this decision) ‘support and are consistent with’ the objectives of Greenwich Council’s “Kerbside and Parking Management Strategy” but this document has yet to be written.
· The report which accompanies this decision states that “Legislation requires that any proposals relating to parking must be driven by transport (parking) policy considerations and not by a desire to generate income” however,Greenwich generated a £3.45m surplus on parking in 2019/20 with this decision likely to add a further quarter of a million pounds.
Eltham Councillor Spencer Drury commented “I judge Greenwich Council on its actions not its words. The Labour Council leadership is quick to say they are supporting businesses, but then it hits them with massively increased charges in an area where it is already making millions of pounds.
“There are so many questions about this decision. One of the most important questions is that at a time we know is really tough for so many residents and businesses, why is Greenwich Council increasing charges by so much? If it is just to rake in more money it is completely unjustified.
“We need a proper discussion about this decision but the Council leadership is unwilling to let anyone question their actions. After 50 years in charge of the Council, the Labour Party has clearly stopped listening to Greenwich Borough residents.
“From missing deadlines through to basing decisions on non-existent strategies, this is a Council which is making it up as it goes along. We should be supporting businesses and residents not making life harder for them”.