a few months ago, Eric Pickles the Communities Secretary, lost patience as he is
wont to do with councils abusing their powers. This time it was
sneakily trapping motorists that were in his sights and he decreed that mobile CCTV
could only be used to monitor bus stops and school zig-zags. Elsewhere a ten
minute grace time was proposed before penalty notices are issued. Bexley
council has estimated that these changes might cost it £200,000 a year and
naturally it is not going to take that lying down. It will attack motorists in other ways.
You won‘t need to be told that car parking charges will be raised across the borough and the council may be hoping that that is the only change you will notice, but below the surface they will be far more devious than that.
You may not know it but parking fines come in at different levels depending on the seriousness of the offence and the location. Bexleyheath already attracts the maximum level of fine and this will be extended to Sidcup and Welling and Bexley council expects to fleece motorists for an extra £26,000 a year.
They are going to charge you for parking at Hall Place which means I may have to find another restaurant to use when I have guests. The charge is expected to take another £60,000 out of our pockets each year.
Peter Craske’s idea from three years ago has been resurrected. That is that the council’s Gestapo Wagon cameras which can no longer be used to spy on momentary stops on double yellow lines are to be trained on moving traffic instead. They think that might raise another £42,000 every year. How do they know that? Has someone been out counting red light jumpers and made an estimate? Or is it another example of Bexley council’s illegal target setting in collusion with NSL?
Unlike Peter Craske who in 2011 naively but perhaps honestly suggested that spying on moving traffic would serve to get better value out of their spy cars, councillor Don Massey fibs that the change is wholly to do with “Public Safety”.
Usually when Bexley council embarks on a revenue raising exercise they put up an ‘Aunt Sally’ to attract the criticism and on which they can stand down and show they are not the ogres you might otherwise think. Craske proposed getting rid of school Lolly Pop patrols and last year Massey wanted to dump the borough’s history into a cupboard in Bromley. I’ve not seen any obvious ‘Aunties’ in the current plans but probably the one to cut the number of councillors will suffer all sorts of delays.