Parking charge increases are 'disturbing' - plus new facts
Your article More car parking pain on the way - including Sunday and public holiday charges makes for very disturbing and irritating reading. I offer the following points:
I understand that a ‘consultation’ is the dialogue between two (or more) parties - dialogue being the operative word. Wiltshire Council have heard what the ratepayers (those who pay for Councillors to have a job serving us) and also our local councillors have to say on the subject. And then not listened to one word of it.
And to have further consultations "during March and April" and then they "become operational in August” is not a consultation - as clearly a decision has already been made on the subject, when they will be implemented, and the price increase.
It will be interesting to see if the Post Office, who currently pay Wiltshire Council £12,000 a year for 17 (yes 17) spaces at Hyde Lane car park, will continue to take up the same number of spaces when the exorbitant price increase for Parking Permits kicks in.
An article by Dr Paul Field (30.6.16) - Solicitor & Deputy Monitoring Officer at Thurrock Borough Council - makes for interesting reading . He discusses the Legal Governance of Council consultations following the private action brought against Haringey Council in 2014 about their ’Null and Void’ consultation. Their findings show, what THE SUPREME COURT - the Highest court in the land - now expects where there is a requirement for consultation. It includes this paragraph:
"So if a person is likely to lose something or be worse off, then they should be specifically identified and consulted. In Haringey all those affected were written to and the letters were hand delivered. This is considered to be sound practice. So if you know that an individual or household will be adversely affected an attempt must be made to contact them by preferably personal calling and hand delivered letters or by phone call and this be re-enforced by press releases and street and notice poster media. Twitter 'tweets' or council web pages augmented with Survey Monkey are not good enough on their own.”
I have not been personally pro-actively contacted by Wiltshire Council. Nor am I aware of any individual who will be affected by this consultation, who has been contacted about it by Wiltshire Council.
Wiltshire Councillors are given Parking Permits which allow them free parking, in any Wiltshire controlled car park, for up to two cars, for a year, whilst on council business. The number of active permits held by staff within a year is as follows:
▪ 2017 – 5580
▪ 2016 – 4364
▪ 2015 – 1974
It looks like this perk is much sought after, as the number of Parking Permits is rising almost as alarmingly as their price increase for our Parking Permits.
Under a Freedom of Information request, Wiltshire Council were asked “Please provide the calculated lost revenue (per year) from spaces that these car parking permits take - as you have to have records where each car is parked, and when, using this permit. Their response "This information is not held as there is no calculated lost revenue from the spaces that these car parking permits take.”
I still have not had a reply to my written question to Wiltshire Council, asking how lower paid shop staff will afford to pay for their Parking Permits, once the 80% price increases are imposed?
Why have I asked this? Because they will now have to pay a higher rate at other car parks in the town, as the bus service that they used to rely on (and we’re told is highly subsidised by the Council) has now degraded to such a state that with few buses running, at irregular intervals, they are forced to use their cars, to be able to get to work at the start of their shifts. The reverse is then true whilst trying to get back home.