Skip to content

Campaigners take motorcycle parking tax to the High Court

March 1, 2010

The solicitors acting on behalf of the No To Bike Parking Tax protest group lodged papers at the High Court a couple of days ago to challenge a decision made by Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley to stealth tax motorcyclists for parking in the Central London Borough of Westminster. This tax, strongly believed to have been implemented illegally, was the subject of 3,000+ written objections twice in a row in 2009 during its experimental phase but, despite these objections and the monthly on-street protests organised by campaigners, Councillor Chalkley ignored them all and went ahead with implementing his unwanted motorcycle parking charge regardless.

We remember, back on 1st July 2009, when the Chairman of the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign, Warren Djanogly, during his briefing to protestors at Golden Square, advised that the only way to get this ridiculous tax scrapped was to go legal, since Chalkley had ignored all campaigners’ attempts to peacefully object to the scheme. This was after Chalkley and his Conservative colleagues in Westminster (including Councillors Harvey, Hooper and Burbridge) had already ignored the first round of objections submitted by 18th February 2009 by thousands of motorcyclists. Although the purpose of the 1st July 2009 demonstration was to lodge another 3,000+ objections, we very well knew that whatever the number of objections to the scheme, Chalkley would go ahead with it, as he had a lot more interest in keeping the shareholders of Verrus (the pay-by-phone system provider) and NSL Services (parking enforcers in Westminster) happy and wealthy, as opposed to the residents who elected him in the first place to serve their own interest.

Alastair Gilchrist (former Director of Parking at Westminster Council) and Chalkley both thought that the protest group would go away after a few months, as a result of their objections and demonstrations being continually ignored. The truth is that the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign currently has more than 7,500 people registered on its mailing list and website, and the number is still growing daily, some 19 months after the group was first set up. So are the protestors going away? Not really, to the contrary, their anger at the Westminster Conservatives is growing every day, which is obviously not a good thing in the run-up to the elections, is it? Such a large protest group, the largest ever that Westminster Council has had to deal with, can indeed make a lot of damage to the reputation, credibility and career of the targeted Conservative politicians. But for Chalkley and his Conservative colleagues in Westminster, the public is there to accept whichever piece of legislation is thrown at their face, whether they like it or not. We can only hope that Chalkley will be proved wrong and that he and his colleagues will learn the lessons from this bike parking tax episode to not only realise that Power Two Wheeler (PTW) users represent one of the strongest motorist community and also that it’s never a good idea to mess up with the public.

Chalkley even insulted the people he imposed a parking tax on by calling them ROGUES, simply because they were exercising their legal right to protest at an unwanted piece of legislation of his. He and his parking officers also manipulated figures and facts to show and prove the revenue neutrality of the motorcycle charging scheme to then issue a statement last week, on request from the campaign’s lawyers, that shows a loss-making scheme of almost half a million pounds per annum.

It turns out to be a very expensive and painful tax for the Conservatives. Not only does it seem to generate a massive annual loss, that Westminster residents will have to pay for, but also the process in which it was set up is currently under scrutiny by a number of major UK and European organisations, which could well conclude that this tax is illegal.

* An Investigation into Westminster’s parking affairs is currently being carried out by the European Commission for suspected breach of EU law with regards to the lack of tendering process in the setting up of the Verrus pay-by-phone parking system, leading to the running of the Partnerships in Parking (PiP) scheme, which is entirely driven by Westminster City Council (official case number: SG-CDC-2008A-7695).

* Investigations into Westminster’s parking affairs currently carried out by the Office of Fair Trading, again for suspected breach of the law with regards to the Verrus pay-by-phone parking system (official case number: EPIC/ENQ/E/75795).

* Public inquiry demanded by hundreds of bikers on 7th December 2009 to the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG) into the way more than £600,000 of taxpayers’ money granted to Westminster City Council was used to set up the Partnerships in Parking (PiP) scheme, suspected to be illegal.

* Two Westminster Council senior officers under investigation by the Metropolitan Police for alleged offences under the Fraud Act and Gross Misconduct in Public Office regarding the authority by which NSL Services came to perform the circa £13 million annual parking enforcement contract in March 2007. Under EU law, all contracts worth more than £156,442 must be opened to tender to enable fair competition between businesses and must also be advertised in the EU’s official journal. Because Westminster Council’s parking enforcement contract was worth around £13 million, i.e. a lot more than the minimum threshold of £156,442, it had to be opened to tender, as a result of the United Kingdom being a full member state of the European Union. The crime number for this investigation is 6507270/10.

* And the lawyers of the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign have just lodged papers at the High Court against Westminster’s Conservative motorcycle parking tax, suspected to have been set up illegally.

* There are also more complaints lodged with the District Auditor, the Local Government Ombudsman and the Information Commission.

In short, bikers are not cash cows and will never accept to be called as such. Rule number one – never piss off a motorcyclist or you will be hit back where it really hurts!

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Further reading:-

Parking tax campaigners reach high court

Calls to end motorbike parking fee scheme in Westminster

Legal case lodged in UK Court seeks ruling against Westminster’s Motorbike & Scooter parking tax

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

ANY_CHARACTER_HERE

If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France Bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France Bikers.com, 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: