The London Borough of Bromley have published proposals to raise parking charges and scrap all “pay and display” parking machines. It will be discussed at a Committee Meeting on the 22nd November. These are some of the key points:
- Significant rises in both off and on street parking charges are proposed. For example for on-street parking charges might rise from 60p per hour to 80p per hour, a 33% increase. Charges do vary between locations and can be considerably more than that. The increase is to offset the reduction in the usage of parking no doubt because of the pandemic and increase in internet shopping. Parking charges were last reviewed four years ago so some increase may be justified to cope with inflation.
- The increase in permit parking charges is very substantial – up from £50 to £80 for a resident’s permit – a 60% increase
- Note that on-street parking and permit charges should not be used as a revenue raising measure as firmly established in legal precedents which the Council seems to be ignoring. These increases will result in substantial and unjustified surplus income over administration and enforcement costs. This paragraph from the report makes the motive clear: “In summary the various changes on this paper can potentially bring about savings/income of approx. £967k by 2024/25 to the Council which currently has significant budget pressures and a budget gap to fund in 2023/24 onwards”.
- It is also proposed to remove all pay and display machines. The only way to pay for parking will be using the RingGo service via a smartphone. The justification for this is that the cash machines are subject to vandalism and also use a 3G sim card which will cease working in 2023 and replacement is costly. Also the machines are unreliable and reaching the end of their useful lives so need replacing which would be very expensive. A number of other London councils already have “digital only” parking and 90% of people have a smartphone. You can see therefore there is some justification for this change but it will also raise parking costs. The minimum fee for one hour parking via RingGo is £1 while a cash payment is 60p – a 66% higher fee at present. I suggest some pay and display machines be retained and replaced by new models. Most of them have already been removed much to the inconvenience of residents.
In summary the Council should not be trying to fill its budget shortfall by raising parking charges and making payment less convenient. If car park usage is falling then raising charges will reduce usage even more so that is not a sensible answer to the problem of reduced income.
The Council is even proposing to introduce charges for the Sundridge Park car park which is currently free. The last time this was done the commuters who parked there promptly moved to the surrounding roads to the great annoyance of local residents and resulting in a financially unviable car park. Council employees seem to have short memories.
You can read the complete policy in Agenda Item 13h of the meeting (see link below). Parking provision should be a service for residents, not be used as a cash cow. This is unfortunately a spreading problem in all London Councils which should be condemned.
Environment and Community Services Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee: https://cds.bromley.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=7373&x=1
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