Charge For Parking Permits Slammed

Councillor angry at plan to charge for on-the-day service


Cllr John Todd

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A Chiswick councillor has criticised a plan by Hounslow Council to bring in a £20 administrative charge for residents who want to purchase parking permits on the day from the Civic Centre.

Cllr John Todd is angry at the new charge which will start on October 1st and has called for the plan to be withdrawn.

Hounslow Council claims it was forced to close all the cash office counters at the Civic Centre last year because of cutbacks and that only 21 people a week turn up to buy permits as the majority of applicants do it online by email, or by post.

But Councillor Todd, who represents the Homefield ward in Chiswick rejects this and says;

"Cuts backs are proffered as a reason for a reduced service. The LBH  Parking Revenue Account is healthy and can easily absorb any perceived additional costs."

Cllr Ed Mayne

Councillor Ed Mayne, cabinet member with responsibility for parking, said the charge reflects the administative cost of issuing the permit while people wait. He said it was not designed to act as a punitive measure for those who have genuine reasons for not applying or re-applying on time. Staff could use their discretion in these cases.

"Residents are able to purchase parking permits through the Council website, by email and by post at no extra charge. Residents may also submit their application at the Civic Centre in person and receive the permit by post at no extra cost," he said.

He added that other Councils have increased the price of a first residents parking permit while Hounslow Council has frozen it at £60 since Labour took control of the Council in 2010.

In a statement Councillor Todd said;

"Cllr Mayne without any overt consultation unilaterally decides to impose an additional charge of £20 per transaction to those  residents who for diverse reasons travel to Hounslow Civic Centre to obtain or renew a CPZ Permit. To charge an additional £20 on top of the Permit cost of £60 is excessive and unnecessary.

Others have made representations to him  highlighting  a number of reasons that his report is flawed.

 He apparently still insists on signing the Delegated Decision Document ( which becomes effective in October 2012. He says he will look at the suggestions and may amend the Decision document but after he has signed it next week. This is unacceptable."

Councillor Todd said all the CPZ schemes have differing times of operation. Visitors have to ask for the forms at the Civic Centre as they are not readily available.

"The LBH website says in respect of CPZ renewal/new applications 'allow 10 days for postal applications' so I can readily understand those who have, by way of example just moved into LBH, or those elderly and not internet users going to the Civic Centre. Also, LBH still ask for Vehicle Insurance Certificates. Ealing don't."

Councillor Todd pointed out that a Temporary Permit currently cost £32.50 per month and perhaps an additional £20 now if collected in person.

"Many find this application process stressful and time consuming. Cuts backs are proffered as a reason for a reduced service. The LBH  Parking Revenue Account is healthy and can easily absorb any perceived additional costs. 

Given the recent  improper issue by his staff of 510 PCN's to motorists using the LBH RingGo system, the reluctance  of LBH to repair parking machines in Chiswick and elsewhere, Cllr Mayne should withdraw this Delegated Decision and reflect on what public service really means. The continued threat of an inflexible and hostile enforcement process should  be his main aim not costing -out service, " he said.  

July 6, 2012

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