Westminster's Labour councillors have launched a new petition to put a permanent end to plans for evening and weekend parking charges.
The charges have already been postponed twice, first in October and then last week over concerns that jobs and revenue of west end businesses would be affected. The council was ordered to delay the charges until after a judicial review in March but the council announced that it would wait until after the Olympics. Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
'Council leader Colin Barrow says that we have to keep listening to public concerns on west end evening and Sunday parking charges. But, so far, the only person he has listened to is High Court judge Mr Justice Collins who ordered the council not to go ahead with the charges in January. I am afraid that Councillor Barrow simply does not get it. He is still planning to introduce charges in September after the Olympics are over.'
The news last week that Westminster had perhaps somewhat prematurely spent around £400,000 on signs to advise motorists of the new charges suggests that the public consultation isn't high on their list of priorities. Colin Barrow said to the BBC;
'We are confident that we will be successful at such a hearing on the strengths of our arguments, the comprehensive consultation and the need to make central London less congested. Westminster council has spent a total of around £400,000 on the changes to hours of parking controls in the west end. Should the scheme be implemented later in 2012, we anticipate recovering all but £25,000 of these costs.'
They must be pretty confident - if they are unsuccessful in their bid to introduce the charges, they'll be £400,000 out of pocket which will mean having to issue over 3000 extra parking tickets to recoup the cost.
The petition can be found on Westminster council's website.