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Controlled Parking Zones

Residents’ parking permit fees

Controlled parking zone sign

Like most councils, Bexley likes to discourage commuters from parking cars near stations and introduce Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) within which residents have to obtain a permit if they need to park on the road without all the restrictions placed on those who merely want to get to work. It’s what causes people to pave over their front gardens and ruin the ecology just a little bit more, but you can’t expect joined up thinking from any council. Unlike other councils Bexley sees CPZs as profit centres and charges residents as much as it possibly can for a permit to park. This year (2010) they have doubled the charge and plan to do the same again next year. They claim that it costs £783,200 a year to administer their CPZs across the borough and that only 3,000 odd residents have a permit. What! More than £250 to issue each permit! They are either lying or they are the most grossly inefficient council in the country.

Figures obtained from the council state that 3,081 residents buy a permit plus just a tiny number of businesses. A breakdown of the figures shows that staff costs add up to £84 plus £23 for their accommodation and other overheads. On top of that each ticket costs £16 to print and post. Computing puts on another £4 per permit. Then it is said that road marking costs £36,000 a year. Nearly £12 per permit.

If we assume that 3,500 cars have to be accommodated and are allowed a generous 20 feet each then that is just over 13 miles of painted line. If there is more lining than that it is not really part of the CPZ but part of needing to cater for normal parking activity, the casual comings and goings of daily life. Why should residents living inside a CPZ pay for general parking infrastructure when those who live elsewhere don’t pay directly for any yellow line that may pass their home?

Observation shows that lines are repainted at long intervals, definitely more than ten years so not much over a mile of line has to be repainted each year, less if repainted at longer intervals. If that costs £36,000 to paint it works out at absolute minimum of well over £5 a foot. Someone must be on the make with figures like that.

So on Bexley’s own figures every single permit issued costs £139 plus, they say, another £10 for safety measures. What safety measures do you need to issue a slip of paper? Other alleged costs bring the price up to £250 per resident. The whole ridiculous estimate is almost certainly obfuscation on the council’s part and another part of their attempt to prove that they must double (and soon treble) the cost of a permit. All they have actually proved is that they are hopelessly inefficient, incompetent, dishonest and corrupt. An honest and less irresponsible council would be looking into how they can reduce the cost of a few square centimetres of paper below £149 and not immediately expect residents to pay for their inefficiency. But Bexley council and the word honesty are strangers to each other.

September 2010

Follow-up report. The council won’t answer questions. As usual councillor Craske acts like the dictator and megalomaniac he is.

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