set up a single trestle table in Bexleyheath on 22nd September 2012 to consult shoppers
hurrying by about parking in the borough. Similar low key events were held
in Crayford, Erith, Sidcup and Welling and either there or on line a total of
646 people had their say. Nicholas Dowling wrote
a fulsome report on the subject.
His report is lengthy but worth a read, highlighting as it does the ignorance of the parking staff and the misinformation being passed out to the public. I had half forgotten it but last week a copy of Bexley’s Press Release on their Draft Parking Strategy was brought to my attention by one of my council sources. The link to the relevant document was broken which delayed comment but a copy is now available on the council’s website enabling a first look at it. It is a massive 24 pages and crammed full of information, a lot of it irrelevant in that it covers ideas which will not be pursued.
The original 2012 consultation paper was illustrated with a photograph of Bexleyheath Sainsbury’s car park which was presumably meant to illustrate the council’s suggestion that it should get out of the off-street parking business and hand it to private enterprise as it has with most other services. However this idea does not make it through to the final proposals.
The proposal which 24 pages are supposed to hide, is that charges, already generally higher in Bexley than elsewhere in South East London (you didn’t fall for the electoral lies did you?), are set to rise again. You get to the 94th paragraph out of 123 before the question of charges crops up.
The Tories always jack up parking charges immediately after an election so no surprise there. Residents’ Permits and Season Tickets will probably remain at their present unjustifiably high level.
There is no reference to any free very short term parking period that was touted in election leaflets and by the leader herself at the Boris Johnson Roadshow in July 2011.
You have until the 17th July to read the proposals and make comments. There may be a lot of minor fiddling around the edges such as a drift towards more short stay spaces and fewer long, and a universal season ticket in addition to Car Park specific tickets but they cannot hide the fact that two years of consultation will result in more of the same; higher charges and more hardship for local businesses who will see more of their trade migrating to Bluewater. Plus ça change.