Labour backs down on CPZ voucher silliness

Yesterday Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, who is responsible for parking in the borough, backed down from his ludicrous proposal to make CPZ visitors festoon their car with dozens of 50p an hour vouchers in order to park outside their friends and relatives houses when they came to visit for a day or two. They have now introduced the idea of a £3.50 a day voucher – still horribly expensive, but a small victory for common sense. The current fee is £1 a day. Mahfouz wrote as follows to councillors yesterday:

Dear Cllr Shital Manro,

Re: New parking charges for 2011

As you know, at its meeting in September, Cabinet approved changes to parking charges including the range of permits for controlled parking zones. The level of charges was based upon reducing the current financial subsidy of controlled parking zones, estimated to be £750,000 a year.

At the last meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee I was grateful for the unanimous support across all parties for the proposals that were called in. Your committee did resolve that I look again at the cost of visitor vouchers within controlled parking zones with long operating hours.

I can inform you that we were already looking at introducing a cap or daily maximum charge for such vouchers and am grateful for the views of OSC.

Ahead of next week’s meeting I wanted to feedback to yourself and the committee on the outcome of the work that has been conducted in this area.

I am pleased to be able to inform you that the maximum daily visitor voucher charge will be capped at £3.50 per day. The cap and other changes to parking charges and services such as the introduction of direct debit will commence in January 2011.

It will be of interest to yourself and the panel that the CPZ Scrutiny Panel will be looking at options for other annual permits such as for carer’s at their next meeting.

I hope you will not mind but given the interest in this issue and for the benefit of openness and transparency, I am sending a copy of this letter to all other councillors within the authority.

Should you have any questions then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Bassam Mahfouz
Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment

There is a good deal of BS in this note, especially the line: “At the last meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee I was grateful for the unanimous support across all parties for the proposals that were called in.” Mahfouz got a good kicking from the Tories on the committee and the opposition spokesman Will Brooks scored some good points. In particular I suggested that the proposed scheme would make the borough a laughing stock and I proposed the retention of a daily voucher. The committee did see the sense of this proposal and it accepted the proposals with the proviso that this issue be addressed. The minutes say:

Upon Councillor Mahfouz leaving the room, a further short discussion took place amongst Members, during which Councillor Young proposed, and it was unanimously agreed, that the Committee uphold the original Cabinet decision, subject to the Cabinet portfolio holder giving further consideration to the proposed visitor vouchers charge, in particular the likely resulting impact on residents within Controlled Parking Zones with long operating hours.

The Conservative group don’t agree with ramping up parking charges but by opposing effectively we have managed to make Labour change one of the stupider aspects of their policy.

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4 Responses to Labour backs down on CPZ voucher silliness

  1. Jeff says:

    You would think that Councillor Mafia-ouze would realise that his electors actually live in these CPZs. I can think of no surer way of losing my vote then requiring my son to pay £3.50 a day to park outside my home when he visits me from university.

    One can but wonder what strange and twisted thinking brought up this vote winner in the Trades Union Club in Acton over the urinals at half-past-midnight. Labour clearly shows itself not to be thinking things through. No doubt a Oui-Ja Board and Karl Marx’s spirit was involved in this one!

  2. Jeff says:

    As I pointed out on the Ealing Today Forum perhaps there are some judicial paths that could be taken here especialy as the council does appear to have not consulted the CPZ residents as promised in earlier agreements. I suggested a High Court Injunction of Ealing Council against this rise followed by a complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman as to why CPZ residents were not consulted. Are there not some measures that can be taken against Councillor Mafia-Ouze regarding his professional conduct in not consulting the CPZ residents?
    Any thoughts Councillor Taylor?
    JB.

  3. Robert Darke says:

    Its obvious that Labour`s Cllr.Mahfouz hasn`t an inkling of the intense physical pressures generated by CPZ`s particularly for those on the edges and to add increased revenue on this scale will bring much friction and a series of half-baked fudges.
    For instance how is a carer defined? Many carers are family and friends helping and caring at many different levels and would be very difficult to grade properly – and needless to say any concession would end up being widely abused like blue badges. Agency carers would actually avoid any parking charges in the 2-hour daily zone and a very limited number would only benefit at lunch-times in a 9-to-6 zone but will no doubt be given preference!
    Also noticed there aren`t any CPZs in Northolt West End represented by you`ve guessed – Cllr Mahfouz!

  4. Jon W says:

    Another way to reduce the “financial subsidy of controlled parking zones” is to review, consult & remove the CPZ entirely. There seemed too much zeal for CPZs in the past 10 years I’ve lived in Northfields (though personally I’ve avoided getting clobbered). There should be a right built into any CPZ that if the fees go up, the residents of the area (for whom it is supposedly a benefit) can re-determine whether to keep it & pay the higher charges or to scrap it.

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