Barnet’s residents suffered insult after injury when councillor Brian Coleman described them as ‘hysterical’ for protesting against increases in parking permit charges.
The cost of parking in a controlled parking zone in the area is set to rise by up to 150% but what’s really got the residents riled is the way the local authority have dealt with them over the issue. In a move not exactly calculated to win friends and influence people, Brian Coleman said, ‘We will not entertain this sort of nonsense from hysterical, over-the-top residents.’ Seemingly determined to top that, he also stated, ‘I never knowingly undercharge,’ in response to a question about visitor parking permits as well as commenting that a proposed £2m shortfall needs to be made up via increased parking charges which rather goes against the Transport Secretary’s announcement last month that the government were ending the so-called ‘war on the motorist’ by making changes to localized parking regulations.
Department of Transport rules say that it’s illegal for councils to use parking charges as a revenue raiser, but it appears the interpretation of that is somewhat elastic. Last January, Westminster council were accused following a leaked memo of illegally raising revenue to plug a gap in finances through means of parking charges and in November found themselves censured by the European Commission for infringing EU law, despite their statement to the contrary.
The BBC revealed last month that nine of London’s 32 borough councils expect to raise revenue by increasing charges but let’s hope they handle their voting residents a bit better than Barnet.