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Westminster have finally published their motorcycle report!

October 4, 2009

Westminster City Council have finally published their toilet paper report on motorcycle parking, a report that should have been published in early August 2009, and which took almost two months for them to finalise.

Word copy or a pdf copy of the report is available to download.

 

Our overall opinion is that, once again, the report fails to address the real issue, which is that of raising substantial revenue in a view to selling the scheme to other councils, through the Partners in Parking (PiP) arrangements, lead by Westminster City Council. Councillor Chalkley has never been so desparate to make a scheme permanent to boost his career, so we wouldn’t be surprised if he had instructed his officers to make sure that the report’s recommendations were to make the bike parking tax permanent.

We believe that there is absolutely nothing in the report that can back up a potential decision to make the scheme permanent.

 

The Council claims to have received 2,634 objections by 18th February 2009 (net of duplicates) and another 2,919 by 3rd July 2009 (again net of duplicates), giving rise to a net increase of 285 objections. Assuming these figures are correct, this is not enough for Kieran Fitsall (parking officer at Westminster Council) to stop the scheme becoming permanent. This doesn’t really come as a surprise to us, given that a demonstration comprised of 3,000+ people and a campaign supported by 6,000+ individuals are nothing that he hasn’t seen before, although the Metropolitan Police confirmed, in their response to a Freedom of Information request, that the largest demonstration ever seen in Westminster was precisely one protesting at parking charges for motorbikes and scooters.

The report continues referring to the consultation that was carried out prior to introducing this ludicrous bike parking scheme.  We note from the report that “the July 2008 decision to introduce motorcycle parking charges was made after dialogue with major motorcycle groups; Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) and Motorcycle Parking”. But have these groups not advised that they had either not been consulted at all on the issue, or the Westminster’s so called consultation was limited to a very short meeting? Have these groups not  expressed in writing their opposition to charging for motorcycle parking? Yes they have indeed, and you can download below the joint letter sent to all Westminster Councillors by BMF & MAG, and the statement made by motorcycleparking.com.

Joint letter sent to Westminster Councillors by the BMF and MAG

Statement made by motorcycleparking.com

 

If Westminster parking services had conducted proper consultation and listened to these three groups straight from day one, they would have abandoned their plans to stealth tax motorcyclists for parking. But instead, they decided to go ahead and ignore the legal principles of democracy and statutory consultation.

 

The report advises that “at the Committee meeting, those in opposition to the scheme made a joint presentation to the Committee setting out their main objections to the scheme”. This is what we would call in French “la cerise sur le gâteau”. Were those in opposition to the scheme really given any consideration, when all Conservative Councillors present at the meeting voted in favour of maintaining the motorcycle parking tax? Or perhaps, they listened to sexist Councillor Susie Burbridge instead, who made laughable statements during the meeting such as “motorcycles, even small ones, pollute more than Hummers”, blaming the French Government for making this non-sense statement. Or they might have followed Councillor Angela Hooper’s advice who thinks that “when it comes to guidance on policy, residents have that opportunity every four years, so in the meantime, you lot, shut up! This is called democracy, isn’t it?

 

Mr Fitsall has no problems with recommending that the bike parking tax becomes permanent, on the basis that those who are not happy to pay for parking, can go and park their motorcycles off-street for free. We hadn’t actually realised that there was a Westminster run underground car park within walking distance to all shops, offices and department stores. What’s the better option, park your bike in a car park for free and walk back to your office for half an hour, or park it in an on-street bay, pay the tax and walk for one minute maximum to your office? Off-street car parks are such a great alternative, thanks Mr Fitsall, we’ll remember that, especially when your boss has already transferred two of them into private hands!

 

“The City Council does not have the ability to implement charging for cyclists”. Is this not what the Council said four years ago when they didn’t have the technology to charge motorcyclists for parking? Be warned, pushies, you are next on the agenda!

 

So what will Chalkley’s decision be? Will he scrap his bike parking tax and finally take into consideration the massive opposition to it, or will he carry on ignoring the thousands of motorcyclists and their supporters, who are deeply opposed to the scheme? The report fails to mention the intentions of the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign to take legal action against Westminster City Council, should Councillor Chalkley decide to make his bike parking tax permanent. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the Council has chosen to ignore public opinion, a choice that they may well regret later on.

 

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/

 

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