Tonight council leader Julian Bell was pleased to use the opportunity of a question from a member of the council to announce that the new Labour administration wants to spend £5.5 million on a car park in Southall. No doubt this will be popular in Southall. The rest of the borough, the rest of London indeed, will look askance. Town centre regeneration 1970s style.
I had the chance to ask a question of my own and I asked Cllr Bell how many parking places he would get for his £5.5 million (well yours actually). He didn’t know. I shouted across the chamber to ask if he knew how many parking places the council provided in Southall already. He didn’t know that either. The answer is 451.
So, Cllr Bell is pleased to spend £5.5 million buying an indeterminate number of parking places to solve a problem he hasn’t quantified already. I don’t know who thinks that the answer to congestion is to provide more parking places in a town centre.
Local councils have very little flexibility right now to set their own priorities. Ealing Labour’s are dead weird I have to say and it is absolutely shocking that Cllr Bell has no conception of the problem he is trying to solve. I can’t wait to see the business case for this car park. It is going to be pure fantasy.