Ealing's Parking Charges - An Illegal 'Cash Cow'?

CPZ price hikes may be breaking the law says Councillor

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A Conservative Councillor believes Ealing could be breaking the law over CPZ price rises.

Northfield ward representative, Councillor Phil Taylor, has been looking into the charges following a recent high court ruling about another local authority.

In July a judge ruled that Barnet council had acted unlawfully when it increased the cost of residents' parking permits and visitor vouchers in controlled parking zones (CPZs) to raise revenue.

In one year Barnet parking permits went from £40 to £100 and visitors’ vouchers went from £1 to £4 for an hour.

Over the last three years parking permits in Ealing have gone from £25 to £50 and £45 to £80. Visitors’ vouchers went up from 40p to 60p for some people but they went from 3 hours for 40p - to one hour for 60p - a rise of 350%, for others.

In 2009/10 the council had a CPZ income of £1.39 million.  Last year it was £3.24 million, a rise of £1.85 million or 133%, more than double. 

Cllr Phil Taylor, Opposition Spokesman for Transport and Environment, said:

“I believe that Ealing is breaking the law in the same way as Barnet and using CPZs as a cash cow. 

“On 13th August I wrote to the chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) and asked him to look at this. I followed this up with a request in person at the last meeting of the committee on 15th August where it was agreed to look at this matter.  Labour needs to come clean on this.   The numbers should be published and the debate should to be heard in a public forum.  OSC is the place for that.”

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment, said Councillor Taylor is wrong and the Council is not breaking the law:

''Our figures show that, even when taking into account the most recent increase, the cost of administering residential parking is still more that the income generated. The difference is subsidised by council tax payers, many of whom don’t even own a car or live in a CPZ.

“It is rich for the Conservatives to criticise our record on parking. We inherited a parking department that had to refund £1m of yellow box fines and did midnight swoops on residents. Under Labour the parking department is independently ranked as the best in the country.”

“The recent Barnet decision has reconfirmed the pre-existing legal position, that councils cannot increase CPZ charges to raise revenues for other transport services.  The council has always complied with the law whenever increases have been made to CPZ permits and vouchers.”



4th September 2013