Skip to content

Is Westminster’s Danny Chalkley in a cul-de-sac with his bike parking tax?

September 7, 2009

In August 2008, Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley introduced a stealth tax on motorcycle parking in the Central London Borough of Westminster. Although a few local politicians, such as Chalkley, had also thought of introducing such a piece of anti-bike legislation, no one had actually done so before, whether in the United Kingdom or, more widely, in the European Union. When some European politicians tried to impose a tax on motorcycle parking before, they quickly realised the huge amount of opposition there was to it and gave up almost immediately.

Danny Chalkley of Westminster City Council is the only local politician who decided to ignore the public, including his own residents who elected him to serve their needs and wants, and went ahead with stealth taxing motorcyclists to park their bike.

One year later, Chalkley’s bike parking tax is still here, on an experimental basis, despite:-

 1. the thousands of motorcyclists, and their supporters, who have been demonstrating in the streets of Westminster for the past twelve months.

2. the thousands of objections to the bike parking tax that Chalkley received, whether from motorcyclists, motorists, cyclists and other members of the public, by 18th February 2009 and again on 1st July 2009.

3. the deluge of Freedom of Information requests that Westminster City Council has been under with regards to motorcycle parking and other issues related to it (hundreds of FOI requests have been submitted) because Chalkley, together with his fellow Conservative Councillors (including Burbridge, Harvey, Barrow and Floru), and his parking servants (including Kevin Goad and Kieran Fitsall), have delibarately refused to answer emails and letters sent to them by the public.

4. all the dirt that has been revealed and published as a result of these FOI requests (including free parking discreetly granted to Councillors, not a penny spent on motorcycle parking from the revenue generated by the tax, after having said that the charge was to fund the installation of security devices and implement additional parking spaces for bikes).

5. certain Conservative Councillors, such as Susie Burbridge, who made ludicrous statements in public, including “motorcycles, even small ones, pollute more than Hummers” (without being able to substantiate her findings), or Jean-Paul Floru, who lied to the public by saying that he didn’t have a free parking permit, when an FOI request revealed that he indeed had one, and Danny Chalkley who dared to treat honest and peaceful motorcyclists as rogue protestors.

6. having advertised the motorcycle parking charge as revenue-neutral, to then admit on national TV that it has been generating an income.

7. not having carried out proper consultation, particularly with the motorcyclist community, and after having lied to the public by saying that extensive consultation was carried out with major motorcycle organisations such as BMF, MAG and motorcycleparking.com (click here to view the joint letter sent by the BMF and MAG to Westminster Councillors with regards to motorcycle parking consultation, and here to view the statement made by motorcycleparking.com).

8. offering only one practical method of payment to motorcyclists, through the unreliable and unfriendly Verrus pay by phone system, and discriminating against bikers who don’t have a mobile phone or credit/debit card.

9. not recognising the magnitude of the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign for months, and having delibarately ignored the size and impact of their demonstrations.

10. introducing a stealth tax that contradicts the policies of the Conservative Party. In a Conservative policy document titled “Reconstruction – Plan for a strong economy“, it is stated “we will create a simpler, greener and more transparent tax system. A wholly new approach to the making of tax law with proper scrutiny and an Office of Tax Simplification to deliver a simpler tax code and an end to stealth taxes(see page 4). So UKFRANCE.org ask why a Councillor, who pretends to be a member of the Conservative Party, has precisely introduced a stealth tax on motorcycle parking. Is this not a breach of the policies of his own political party? Can we rely on the Conservatives to deliver their promises? Why has David Cameron not instructed Councillor Danny Chalkley to either scrap his motorcycle parking tax or leave the Conservative Party, if the Tories are to put an end to stealth taxes?

And the list could go on…

 

If Councillor Chalkley had listened to and properly consulted the motorcyclist community, he would have scrapped his bike parking tax by now, but instead, he made a few changes to it a couple of months ago, in the hope that the huge opposition would go away, or at least reduce considerably. The reality is that the vast majority of motorcyclists are still demonstrating their opposition to the parking tax, making it still highly unpopular.

One of the changes that Chalkley made to his bike tax was to allow free motorcycle parking in Council owned car parks, which is a complete non-sense, as car parks are expensive to run. But why would Chalkley be worried about losing income from motorcycle parking in car parks, since it was his intention to lease at least two of them to private companies later in the year? 170 underground motorcycle parking spaces are no longer going to be managed by Westminster City Council, so we now understand why Chalkley didn’t mind trying to compromise with motorcyclists by using the excuse of car parks. Is this the beginning of a leasing strategy, where motorcyclists will lose the very few free parking spots left in Westminster?

One thing is for sure, Chalkley has parked himself in a cul-de-sac with regards to motorcycle parking, from which there is only one possible exit – SCRAP THE BIKE PARKING TAX. But how long will it take him to understand this? Will Westminster City Council have to be taken to court by the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign for Chalkley to realise his huge mistake? The campaign is about to sue Westminster City Council for having introduced a parking tax on motorcyclists illegally.

Oh dear, the next Westminster council elections are less than eight months away, and the longer Councillor Chalkley drags on with his bike parking tax, the more he exposes himself to losing the elections. A court order, together with repetitive massive demonstrations and very bad press, make a lot of bad noise, Mr Chalkley! Not a good position to be in, is it? Especially when you are parked in a cul-de-sac, with only one way out, which you can’t avoid.

 

Please join and support the legal fight to get the bike parking tax in Westminster scrapped before it spreads all over the UK and the European Union. The next demonstration is on 30th September 2009, don’t miss it! For further details, visit  http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Soutenez et participez au proces dont le but est de forcer la mairie de Westminster a supprimer la taxe de stationnement des deux-roues avant que le concept ne se propage a travers le Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. La prochaine manifestation aura lieu le 30 septembre 2009, ne la ratez pas! Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

If you have a story you would like to see published on UKFRANCE.org, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UKFRANCE.org, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

Advertisements
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: