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The City of Westminster has 18 parking ghosts

October 3, 2009

Free parking signLast month, we published a post titled “Are 18 Westminster Conservative Councillors in breach of their own parking regulations?“, where we explained that of the 31 Conservative Councillors who hold a free official parking permit, only 13 of them have purchased a Resident Parking Permit to park their polluting and congesting four wheeled vehicle outside their official hours of duty. We say only 13, because this represents less than half of the 31 Councillors involved. So 18 Westminster Conservative Councillors have not bothered purchasing a Resident Parking Permit to park their car outside their working hours, which represents 58% of them.

While reading the instructions attached to the Councillor application form for a free official parking permit, we noted the following:-

 

“An official parking permit does not remove the need to purchase a Residents Parking Permit for the Member’s zone of residence (where applicable), which must be displayed when the vehicle is parked near the Member’s home. Members who need to purchase a Residents Parking Permit for their own private use, should therefore continue to display the permit in the normal fashion”.

“The official Parking Permit should be removed from the windscreen when the vehicle is not being used on Official City Council business and kept safe”.

 

Right, so on what basis have these 18 Conservative Councillors been parking their car outside their official hours, given that they haven’t purchased a Resident Parking Permit, which they are required to display when their vehicle is parked near their home? Could it be that they all are non-Westminster residents, hence don’t need to buy a Westminster Resident Parking Permit? No, they’re all Westminster Residents, as per a separate Freedom of Information (FOI) request (click here to view the details). Could it then be that all 18 of them benefit from off-street parking at home?

 

Free parking sign 2We spotted another FOI request asking how many Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) were issued to these 18 Conservative Councillors since 1st January 2009 for failing to show/hold a resident parking permit that entitles them to park their car in the streets of Westminster, outside their official working hours. The answer was NONE, as “none was found to be in contravention”, according to the Council. Since holding a free Official Parking Permit does not remove the right to purchase a Residents Parking Permit for use outside of Council business hours, we can only assume that these 18 (dishonest) Conservative Councillors have been using their Official Parking Permit to park their vehicle, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since they have not received a single PCN for failing to show a Residents Parking Permit outside their hours of official duty. What Parking Permit have they been displaying outside their official hours to park their vehicle near their home, while going shopping or visiting friends and family, eh? Unless perhaps they all have off-street parking at home, never go shopping, never go out and never visit friends and family?

 

What has made us be angry and laugh at the same time was the following statement in the Council’s response to the FOI request:-

“Councillors are aware of their responsibility to ensure that permits are only used for official business, and if misused, this affects the integrity of the Council”.

 

Ohhh touchy, so the integrity of the Council must be very badly damaged indeed. And we wouldn’t be surprised if, within the 18 Conservative Councillors, who can’t be bothered purchasing a Residents Parking Permit and using the crappy Verrus pay by phone system, which keeps breaking down and causes misery to hundreds of motorists and motorcyclists every day, there are the ones who voted in favour of stealth taxing bikers for parking during the 31st March 2009 scrutiny committee meeting.

 

Oh, but wait a minute. Why would we expect these 18 dishonest Tory Councillors to purchase a Resident Parking Permit, given that the Council has no controls in place to ensure that their Councillors don’t misuse their Official Parking Permit? After all, cheating saves money, doesn’t it, especially when for Councillor Barrow, every penny counts.

 

We now leave you with a final quote from Westminster Council:-

“Members are fully aware of the rules relating to the use of these [official parking] permits and any misuse is likely to be regarded as a breach of the Members Code of Conduct”.

Who is submitting an FOI request to Westminster Council to find out how many of these 18 Conservative Councillors have been subject to disciplinary action for misuse of their free Official Parking Permit? Will the answer be none again?

 

Sources (click to view):-

Free Official Parking Permit Application form and guidelines

FOI request 1

FOI request 2

 

Campaign logoPlease 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 31st October 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 31 octobre 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.

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