slogan appeared on Bexley council’s website yesterday afternoon. Councillor Craske
claims in the associated text he is “pleased to announce that we are extending free
parking over the festive period to now include Christmas Eve. Not only does Bexley
have the largest number of parking spaces in the area, we have some of the best
shops and shopping centres too”. The weasel words we have come to expect from the
weasel. There is no extension to free parking, this is the first announcement of any free parking
other than on Christmas Day when enforcement staff all want the day off and
nobody goes shopping.
Councillor Linda Bailey’s press comment heralding free Christmas parking came to nothing and the use of the word “extension” is typical of Craske’s antipathy to the whole truth. Last weekend the best offer shown on Bexley’s website was the opening - at usual charges - of the Civic Centre car park usually available only to the privileged few.
To confuse motorists not all council car parks are to be free, my nearest is not on the list. All the usual restrictions and charges will continue for street parking (but see below). If councillor Craske was serious about “wants to help local businesses and residents during the current financial climate” the announcement would have been made weeks ago before most of the shopping was done. Neighbouring boroughs got that right and were far more generous than Craske. This looks like cynical manoeuvrings forced upon Craske at the last minute by circumstances. As if to prove it was a last minute panic reaction the new documentation on the council site was prepared yesterday and the dates for free parking shown on it are not the same as on the source web page. There was no time to organise things properly.
Click either image above to view the council’s belated announcement or click here to see something entirely different.
Which of these is to be believed for Boxing Day? It would appear that the plan was for Christmas Day to be free of all restrictions because not unnaturally NSL staff wanted the day off. Then, probably, there were not enough volunteers for the 24th and 26th so less enforcement was possible. Craske then bowed to the inevitable but claimed it to be an extension to the original plan. Who else but Craske would regard no charges on Christmas Day as some sort of gift to the populace and suggest that his latest announcement is an extension of the original one? The man is Scrooge personified and we are still left to guess which of his two web pages is correct. Park in Bexley at your peril!