Staff shortages blamed for permit backlog

But Council unrepentant about Bedford Park CPZ chaos

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Residents of Bedford Park's Controlled Parking zone are accusing Ealing Council of deliberately trying to entrap them into paying parking fines. A large number of residents have permits which expired last Friday (30th September) as it is the anniversary of the setting up of the scheme. However, a significant number of residents have not received new permits despite having applied for them some time ago.

As of 11am on Tueday morning it is understood that there were 97 outstanding permits to be dispatched for Zone B. Staff shortages in parking services are being delayed for the delay, Dave Rumney, a senior manager who had responsibility for this area left the Council two weeks ago.

Local ward Councillor Gary Malcolm has asked whether there is a grace period for residents renewing permits. He was told that there was by the transport services department but the parking services division contradicted this saying that they were only guaranteeing to have renewals back in time if they were received by 10th September. However, even if a resident applied before this time and has not received their permit this is 'tough luck' according to parking services.

Cllr. Malcolm said of the situation, "Council tax keeps on going upwards and yet we have a shortage of staff. The residents of Southfield should not bear the brunt because of staff shortages at Ealing Council's Parking Services. I would like to hear from any resident who applied before the given date and has since received a parking ticket because they are still awaiting their permit."

Although there was a heavy presence of parking attendants in the zone on Monday it is understood that relatively few tickets were issued because neighbours notified each other of the potential danger. In previous years large numbers of tickets have been issued on the annual renewal date. One resident commented, "This has now become an annual ritual and it is so co-ordinate the conclusion that administrative sloth is being used as an instrument of fund-raising is unavoidable."

To avoid these fines residents will have to remember to put an all-day visitors' permit out every day until their new permit arrives. In previous years the Council have not accepted appeals based on the fact that a permit had already been applied for but not yet received. In some cases residents claim that their cheques had been cashed well before the permit had been dispatched and that their proof of residency had been returned to them.

We contacted Ealing Council to ask for a comment on the matter and to say what advice they would give to residents but they have not replied. The official position in previous years has been that residents must send their renewal applications in two weeks before expiry to guarantee that they will receive a new permit in time.

October 6, 2005