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Bonkers Blog June 2013

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25 June (Part 1) - Public Realm report : Round 3

Parking ReviewIf Cheryl Bacon had not chosen to take Bexley council down the road to ridicule again the public would have learned what her husband’s Strategic Parking Review had come up with. However, as is far too often the case, Bexley council decided to break the law by holding a public meeting in what Cheryl called ’closed session’. She refused to allow any member of the public to attend it, not even reporters, i.e. me.

In law she has to rerun the meeting, but don’t hold your breath. Upholding the law of the land is not what Bexley council generally does. In the circumstances, if Bexley’s residents are to learn anything of what may be in store by way of a new parking regime, the only way forward is to report some of the highlights of what was in the Agenda here.

A sub-Committee had been set up consisting of councillors Brian Beckwith, Munir Malik, Howard Marriner, June Slaughter, Michael Tarrant and chaired by John Waters. A strange mixture of the wise and the slightly mad. Their aim was to “further the economic prosperity of the borough” and representatives of both Richmond and Westminster councils’ parking departments attended some of their meetings; what one might call the good and the ugly extremes of enforcement.

The sub-group’s final recommendations were as follows…

• Clear consistent signage.
• Priority for Bexley residents in an attempt to exclude Kent commuters.
• Retain phone parking (the report referred to its unpopularity) and retain cash and credit card payments in car parks.
• The 10 pence surcharge for phone parking should be scrapped but recouped through increased SMS and extension charges.
• The weakness of the local economy should be considered when setting charges near shopping areas.
• Short parking, e.g. 10 minutes, should be allowed in marked bays for low or zero charge close to shops.
• A ‘finer grained’ payment structure should be considered near shops.
• CPZ boundaries near stations should be reviewed.
• A residents’ parking payment card should be actively pursued.
• The council should continue to operate the car parks.
• Civil Enforcement Officers should be trained in sympathy and consistency.
• Any Free Parking at Christmas should be notified in advance.
• Disabled bays in car parks to remain free.
• Residents’ bay operation times should align with nearby car parks to avoid displacement from one to the other.

What the Scrutiny Committee thought of that may never be known thanks to councillor Bacon’s law breaking. It is interesting to note that councillor Craske’s policy of absolutely no change to CPZs may be looked at again. It may also be interesting to Craske watchers that the Review begins with the words “The council has a statutory responsibility to provide adequate parking for Bexley residents”. Only the evening before the purple pygmy told the Finance Committee that there was no legal obligation to provide car parks. Purple prat?

There is no Agenda reference that I can find to what the public may have said in the Consultation, but Bexley never takes any notice of them so why waste the paper and ink?

Public Realm report : Round 1
Public Realm report : Round 2


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