Conservatives Criticise bogus consultation

On Friday the Woolwich based Labour Council opened a consultation on introducing parking charges on Eltham High Street, but Conservatives fear that the result is already a forgone conclusion.

 

The proposals are to introduce parking charges to the spaces on and around the High Street which are currently free.  The charges will only be payable using a mobile phone.  Eltham Conservatives, believe that the consultation’s credibility is already questionable as:-

 

  • It has not been sent to residents, only delivered by hand to businesses.
  • The website link given in the consultation letter to businesses and Councillors does not give access to the consultation.  Over the first weekend of the three week consultation period Conservatives could find no mention of the Eltham High Street Parking Charges consultation anywhere on the Council’s website.
  • The very basic display about the parking charges at the Eltham Centre (amounting to 3 A3 sheets blue tacked to a wall in an alcove) has no response sheets available, only a web link, meaning residents without the internet are not going to be able to reply to the consultation. 
  • When asked directly in Council Chamber the Council Leader failed to confirm that this would be a genuine consultation.

 

Conservatives are also concerned as plans presented to Councillors at a briefing on 2nd February stated that parking charges would only be introduced on the High Street not the surrounding roads.  However the consultation documents which went out at the end of last week (Friday) to the shops keepers were substantially different and included charges on Well Hall Road, Elderslie Road and Passey Place  

 

Leader of Greenwich Conservatives and Eltham Councillor Spencer Drury has now written to the Cabinet Member in charge, demanding to know what is going on.  Spencer said “The way this consultation is being handled reflects the Council’s lack of care for the opinions of Eltham’s residents and businesses.  I fear they think the consultation is simply a hoop they have to jump through and I am very concerned that the Council will simply ignore the results.” 

 

“I have written on behalf of Eltham’s Conservative Councillors to the Cabinet Member responsible and the Chairman of the Highways Committee to express my concern at the mishandling of the consultation.  I would have thought this makes the whole process invalid, but when I asked the Council Leader if there was going to be a genuine consultation on the introduction of parking charges, he simply refused to answer the question.”

 

“Eltham Conservatives are going to advertise the consultation as widely as possible, but I would urge people to respond and make clear that we want a thriving High Street in Eltham and these proposals are going to threaten that.  Since the 2010 election, not a single Greenwich Cabinet Member represents a ward in the south of the borough and I think they see Eltham simply as a cash cow which can be milked to support their pet projects in Woolwich or their obsession with yet more banners on lamp posts.”