Everybody associated with the Zone J Parking Campaign knows how desperate many Zone J residents are about parking. The displacement of parking – from Zone JJ to Zone J – caused by the 2016 parking scheme, has made life difficult for everybody.
What the Council did in 2016 was unlawful and when they were legally challenged about it, they quickly withdrew. In early 2017, as part of the settlement they promised to set up an Advisory Group to agree what should be offered in a new consultation.
The Council originally said the consultation would take place in the Autumn of 2017, but they allowed it to drag on until June 2019.
So why a new legal challenge and further delay?
The Council agreed a consultation document with the Advisory Group which would have been fair and impartial – but then changed it so that it strongly favoured the Council’s preferred (and revenue maximising) extended hours.
That was wrong. And needs to be challenged.
“Whatever you think about parking” says Robbin Pierce, chair of the Zone J Parking Campaign, “we do have to care about dishonesty in local government and challenge it if we can.”
“We are not seeking to impose our views of parking controls on others. If, in a fair and impartial consultation, residents choose such hours, then that’s fine. It would be wrong though, to allow the Council to manipulate us into accepting such long control hours.”
It is worth mentioning that the parking hours the Council wants to introduce are just about the longest in central London: 24 hours a week longer than in the streets around Piccadilly and Oxford Street or in Soho, Knightsbridge or Mayfair.
Despite this, they may still not properly protect residents, particularly those living close to the Uxbridge Road.
“I am concerned that extra hours on their own will be insufficient to protect the parking needs of residents” says Helen Patterson, secretary of the Zone J Parking Zone.
“The problem is that as people get used to having to pay to park, many more are likely to do so and naturally they’ll want to park as close to the Uxbridge Road as they can." (According to one Zone JJ resident, it’s already happening – see below: 'Extended hours – not necessarily the answer.’
The alternative scheme – which the Council so misrepresented in the consultation document – calls on it to provide sufficient ‘resident-only’ bays, in the right places, to allow all residents to park reasonably close to their home. As time goes by, it could be the only way to provide residents with the protection they need.
Alongside ‘shared-bays’ with much shorter control hours, it is also a scheme which could help everybody, including local places of worship. It works well elsewhere in central London. There is no reason to think it would not work here. It’s worth trying. If we still need longer control hours for the shared-bays, we can be sure the Council will be happy to provide them.
So, it seems worth holding out for an honest consultation about it all.
One Zone JJ resident has written to the Campaign as follows:
As a resident living close to the Uxbridge Road the imposition of seven-day extended parking is now having little or no beneficial effect.
Visitors now accustomed to pay, stay and stay. On Friday evenings, all day and evening at weekends and match days, I drive several circuits to find space near where I live or must make repeat trips carrying heavy items some distance to my house.
Every visitor wants to park closest to their destination, especially if they’re paying. Hard luck if you happen to live there.