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Bikers’ requests for information are seen as vexatious by Westminster Council

September 25, 2009

We have been visiting the public FOI submission website and noted that, on an increasing number of occasions, Westminster City Council have advised that some information requests, or the correspondence associated to them, are vexatious. Is this a new tactic of the Council to avoid replying to Freedom of Information requests, especially when the requestor digs in to find out the truth which, if revealed, could turn out to be quite embarrassing for the Council?

 

30th Sep flyerAs we pointed out before, by looking at the type of FOI requests made on the website, it appears that the vast majority of them are parking related, and more precisely, motorcycle parking related. Should Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley had not introduced a stealth tax on motorcycle parking and should he had been answering the emails and letters he received from his own residents who he’s been elected to serve, the hundreds of FOI requests we have come across would most likely not have been submitted. How annoying, and indeed vexatious, it must be for the Westminster knowledge and information department to have to cope with such a high volume of FOI requests, because of one Councillor who made the mistake to introduce a highly unpopular and illegal stealth tax on motorcycle parking. And how annoying, and indeed vexatious, it must be to see the same Councillor refusing to admit his own mistake, when thousands of motorcyclists and their supporters have been demonstrating their opposition to his stealth tax, that may turn out to be illegal under EU law.

 

We have come across an annotation to one of the few FOI requests regarded by Westminster City Council as vexatious. This annotation has indeed drawn our attention because it summarises very well how vexatious the Council’s latest attitude has been to motorcyclists. Perhaps, if the Council came across as less vexatious to the motorcyclist community, some FOI requests would in turn be less vaxatious to the Council. Below is the annotation in question:-

 

“I see now the FOI team are using the word vexatious in more than one of their replies.

May I remind the Council that it is quite vexatious to introduce an illegal tax on PTW [Powered Two Wheeler] parking in the first place.

It is quite vexatious to learn how much the tendering and award of contracts have been covered up and are not open to public scrutiny.

It is quite vexatious to learn that your ward councillors do not hold surgeries to meet with residents or even wish to reply to them (Cllr Chalkley).

It is quite vexatious to issue PCN’s [Penalty Charge Notices] to PTW’s [Powered Two Wheelers] when no reminders to renew a permit have been sent.

It is quite vexatious to see a Council officer (Mr Fitsall) actively encourage opposition to a legal protest and deliberately giving misleading statements to the BBC, and using our money to do so.

It is quite vexatious for councillors to be rude, sexist and ignorant towards the public (Cllr Burbridge).

It is quite vexatious to brand a legal campaign group opposing to your policy as rogues and bully boys.

So when you are asked for the number of letters which approve your illegal parking tax, you have the bare faced cheek to say you may consider this vexatious. Kevin Goad seemed to know the answer to this question on 31st March 2009, could it be you do not want to admit that you cannot produce not one single letter of support for this illegal tax, yes that’s it you have not one letter of support?

Just remember who pays your wages, we do, and your threats certainly put you in the frame as a co-conspirator in this whole dirty cover-up”.

 

Are Westminster City Council also considering FOI requests designed to reveal how the pay by phone parking system has been introduced and the resulting contract awarded to Verrus UK Limited without tender, vexatious? In our opinion, breaching the EU Directive 2004/18/EC is a lot more than just vexatious, but let’s see how long the Council will take to answer these two FOI requests, “tender process re pay by phone parking system” and “Verrus pay by phone contract”. Let’s also see how long it will take the Council’s Chief Executive, Mike More, to acknowledge receipt of the letter sent to him by Warren Djanogly, Chairman of the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign, advising him of the Council’s breach of the above EU Directive.

 Rozette.jepg

Source (click to view):-

FOI request with annotation

 

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/

 

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