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What’s the delay in making the bike parking tax “permanent” all about, Westminster?

September 23, 2009

Back in June 2009, Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley announced his intentions to make his motorcycle parking tax permanent, despite the thousands of bikers and their supporters who had expressed their deep opposition to the scheme, since August 2008. In the hope that the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign would fade away, Danny Chalkley stupidly followed his fellow colleagues’ recommendations to reduce the tax to £1 a day or £100 per annum, and allowed bikers to park for free in the few council owned car parks, in dedicated motorcycle bays.

Rozette.jepgUnfortunately for Chalkley, the campaign has not gone away at all. In fact, it has been attracting more and more support from the motorcyclist community and beyond. The campaign is more determined than ever to not only see the bike parking tax scrapped once for good, but also see Councillor Danny Chalkley out of Westminster City Council by no later than May 2010, when the next Westminster local elections are to take place. Last week, we published a post titled “CHALKLEY, CHALKLEY, CHALKLEY… OUT, OUT, OUT“, where we explained the campaign’s intentions to expose its findings to the High Court, as a result of Westminster City Council bypassing the European rules for tendering, and thus avoiding full and fair competition, in accordance to the European Directive 2004/18/EC.

A timetable was published on the Council’s website to advise Chalkley’s decision to make the bike parking tax permanent by no later than 7th August 2009. After having received in excess of 3,000 written objections during the 1st July 2009 demonstration, and the campaign’s committee opening a fighting fund for bikers and their supporters to donate towards the cost of taking Westminster City Council to court, Chalkley’s timetable was unsurprisingly amended to advise that a decision regarding the permanence of the motorcycle parking tax would be made from “August 2009 onwards“.

Objection form

Objection form completed by 3,000+ angry bikers on 1st July 2009

 

A Freedom of Information request was subsequently submitted to the Council to find out the exact reason(s) for the delay in making a decision. The Council advised that “the reason for the delay in the Motorcycle Report is that the Council is committed to considering all the objections received individually, and this has delayed the release of the informal report”. While we were quite happy to hear that the Council was considering all 3,000+ objections individually (which is something they’ve never done before), we were slightly suprised to hear that it was taking them so long to do so, given that the objections received on 1st July 2009 were submitted in the same format, a standard form that bikers completed and dropped in a box. Therefore, once one objection had been read and considered, all objections had been read and considered. There was definitely something else going on.

 

demo 1st july 6

Protestors dropping the objection form into a box

 

 

About a month later, and after having advised that a report would be published within the next few days following the Council’s first response, the same person submitted another Freedom of Information request asking exactly the same question. Below is an extract of the Council’s response:-

“As stated to you previously, the City Council is committed to considering all the objections received regarding the motorcycle report. The City Council is scrutinising all objections individually and was hoping to have the details finalised in August as suggested; however, this is taking longer than expected”.

 

30th Sep flyerOh, so the City Council is taking over two and a half months to scrutinise one standard small objection form submitted by 3,000+ people! That’s how efficient the parking department of Westminster City Council is. Could it be that they’re also busy answering the hundreds of other FOI requests submitted by angry motorcyclists? Or could the delay be due to the fear of being taken to the High Court by the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign for having breached the European Directive 2004/18/EC and having awarded a contract to Verrus UK Limited without tender?

We believe that the existing experimental traffic order, under which the bike parking scheme is currently operating, is due to expire on 4th February 2010. Will Chalkley give the campaign the opportunity to take the Council to the High Court by making his bike parking tax “permanent”, or will he scrap it before 4th February 2010? In the meantime, the campaign is determined to make sure that this man is out of Westminster City Council sooner rather than later, before he continues to cash in millions of pounds per annum from innocent bikers, keen to reduce road congestion and air pollution in Central London.

 

Sources (click to view):-

FOI request submitted on 13th August 2009

FOI request submitted on 10th September 2009

 

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.

Paul Mark Andrew

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