‘Vague’ Parking Strategy aims to raise £2m

After months of waiting Greenwich Council has finally chosen to publish a ‘Parking Strategy’ which is so vague that it gives residents and businesses no reassurance at all that the Labour-run Council will not introduce parking charges on High Streets or residential roads at will.

 

In fact the Parking Strategy contains a number of clauses which will give local residents cause to worry, including:-

 

·         The fact parking charges can be imposed on residents against their wishes.  (“In general, new controlled parking zones (CPZs) or extensions to existing CPZs will not be progressed in the absence of local support for new controls.” Page 7)

·         The statement that the parking strategy will be used to discourage people from using their cars (Parking Stratgey – strategic objectives, item 7 - “Encouraging a shift from private cars to more sustainable means of transport” Page 5)

·         The Council does not intend to consult existing parking permit holders about the strategy (sub-section 5, 8.4 in the main report).

 

Further than that, the Strategy contains no mention of specific areas and refuses to make a commitment to maintain free parking along Eltham High Street which is something local Conservative Councillors have campaigned for over the last four years. 

Leader of Greenwich Conservative Councillors and Parliamentary Candidate for Eltham Cllr Spencer Drury said “This is a deeply troubling document which seems to provide a fig leaf to cover the Council’s intention to raise parking charges so that they can increase their income.  When reading this, it is important to remember that the Council is more than £2m short of its income target for car parking so this vague document which as far as I can see, contains no commitments, can be used to justify any policy that the Council wants in the future.”

 

“Even more worrying is the statement that the car parking strategy should be used to discourage the use of cars and that parking charges may be imposed on residents against their wishes.  Having fought off pay by mobile phone only parking charges being imposed on Eltham High Street for the last three years, I am anxious that Labour will return to this particular treasure (as their Deputy Leader described it) as soon as the elections are out of the way.”

 

The Cabinet Member responsible member responsible confirmed to Spencer in October that a new Head of Parking Services had been employed at a cost of £50,000 and the Parking Strategy would be completed in the autumn.  This makes the Strategy expensive and late.