Six months ago one or two of the more serious newspapers reported on another
nasty trick that had been introduced by unscrupulous councils. They had
contracted one of the crooked thieving parking companies employed by the likes of Lidl and Asda to penalise customers
who shop too slowly. Last December one of my oldest friends who had been working long hours did the whole of her
Christmas shopping in one marathon session in one of these stores and was
rewarded with a big fine. She was let off after creating a big scene in the shop
but she won’t be going back there again.
These dishonest companies, and they are - I once took a long train journey opposite one of their managers shouting into his mobile at new recruits telling them how to trap motorists into being clamped - have been hawking their services around disreputable councils offering to monitor their car parks with number plate recognition technology.
The reason that the subject had got into the newspapers was because the Under Secretary of State at the Department of Transport had written to all councils reminding them in no uncertain terms that in his opinion to enter such a contract with a parking company would be illegal. “My understanding is that a couple of you may be operating your car parking operation through contract law - I would hope this is not the case.”
“I should warn you that … this will more than likely not be approved because the Council will not be operating as an enforcement authority under the Traffic Management Act 2004”.
Good, I thought, that will stop the bunch of civic crooks in their tracks and surely Bexley has already learned the hard way that when they break the law they are being watched?
When will I ever learn? Bexley council is bent, or at least its leadership is which amounts to the same thing. I should not have fallen for the increased number of smiling faces.
Guess who is pushing the private parking company idea forward? The same people who argued with the government’s directive to publish details of all staff earning over £56,000 a year.
Just when you think Bexley council is beginning to clean up its act along comes a bundle of evidence that clean is the last thing they want to be. More on this soon.
Note: Click letter extract to see it all. (256KB PDF)