Westminster sell off all of its remaining car parks, further lies exposed.

Council leader Colin Barrow

Yesterday (6th July 2010) Westminster City Councillor Lee Rowley & Councillor Melvyn Caplan, issued a statement of decision to sell off the remaining 12 operational car parks plus Broadley and Church Street car parks as outlined in a confidential report sent out to Councillors on the 30th June 2010 (view here). The report has been kept confidential as the Council says it “concerns information relating to the financial or business affairs of the authority”

Nutsville wrote a post in September 2009 explaining that the Council has leased off its Chiltern Street and Leicester Square car parks. Fears were voiced back then that the free parking for motorcycles would not stay free for long. It seemed illogical to many that the Council were offering free parking in its CCTV monitored and manned car parks, yet still insisted on making a charge for the exposed cramped on-street parking bays. Many thought that by offering free parking in the car parks the council would still keep the lucrative on street enforcement and at the same time mitigate against claims that the whole motorcycle charging scheme was socially exclusive.

Through a Freedom of information request the Council were asked if they could assure those concerned that despite the sell off, M/C parking would remain free.

The Council replied “This will be entirely up to the new operator – Titan parking.

Even as recently as last months High Court case Westminster Councils barrister tried to draw attention to the free parking in the remaining Council run car parks. It was also mentioned that the Council would not be providing any further on-street bays whilst there was still plenty of spaces left unused in its car parks.  However, it’s quite bewildering how a PTW rider would even know of the alternative free option when they arrived at any one of the Councils on-street M/C bays.

At the Councils Scrutiny Committee meeting in March 2009 it was recommended by the committee that the Council actually put up signs on the bays advising motorcyclists of the alternative free option. But just like the security devices, nothing ever happened. Perhaps now we can see why the Council would not want to put up signs if they knew they would not be managing the car parks for much longer. Plus they would lose the revenue from the parking tax and the fines.

You might be thinking that a Council which was once held in such high respect simply did not know that it would be selling off its car parks back in 2009. Even if that were true, surely the Council knew by the time it got to the High Court didn’t they? But did the Council know about the plan at the time of the sham Scrutiny Committee meeting in March 2009. Well not according to this Freedom of Information request answered in November 2009. Where we see the Council asked a very simple question:

“Are there any more plans to move Westminster Council owned properties (parking or otherwise) to private companies and could you provide the plan?”

The Council replied:

At present, I can confirm that there are no plans for transferring the ownership of any other City Council car parks to private hands.” (View source)

Nutsville believes that the sell off of the car parks has been planned for years, in fact we will prove it. We also think that even from the first day the Council suggested offering free parking in its car parks, it knew all along of the plans for the sell off. This was one of the most cynical and deceitful examples of Westminster Council spin, which was often swallowed up and regurgitated by some of the more lazy members of the media. The Council had little honesty when they attempted to portray themselves as the Council which tried to bend over backwards to please those greedy over  inquisitive bikers.

So here’s why the Council simply lied in its November 2009 Freedom of Information answer, as we see in Item 2 of the Work Programme-5 document dated 29th june 2009 at para. 3.4.1 presented before the Councils Audit and Performance Committee we see the Council say:

“The working group also received an update on the Cark Park portfolio with clarification that individual car parks were being leased to maximise income over the coming months, pending the agreement of a formal strategy for the portfolio.” (view source)

But talk of selling off the car parks goes back even further, with a mention in this draft January 2008 document ‘ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN AND PROPERTY STRATEGY” where it says:

The City Council has a policy of developing above-ground car parks which have become unviable as a result of Congestion Charging. This applies to car parks at Rochester Row and Chiltern Street which are being sold. Other under-performing car parks are being let to commercial operators.

“Chiltern Street Car Park has been marketed and is expected to be sold during 2008.  Church Street, Bell Street and Cleveland Street have been let to private operators.“ (view source)

So if Westminster Council cannot tell the truth even when the law demands it, why would Westminster City Council expect the public, which the Council are supposed to be serving, to blindly accept whatever they say without scrutinising and demanding to see solid evidence first.

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Jason KetteridgeJuly 8th, 2010 at 10:02 am

In the face of this evidence, if the council won’t police themselves and the law won’t police them then what recourse does the public have? It seems that if Westminster Council just attempt to follow process then it’s deemed good enough.

The public shouldn’t have to put up with being lied to and manipulated, but we are sheep, we allow it. In a way, it is OUR fault we are being lied to and our pockets emptied.

LibertyJuly 9th, 2010 at 7:27 am

This is surely proof that ‘parking’ is, indeed, all about the money, NOT about providing a service!

Besides, the introduction of parking meters in the 1950s by Westminster Council was supposed to be to “pay for the car parks”, yet now ‘poor’ Westminster (with a mere ~£40m/year income from parking) are wringing their hands that those car parks, supposedly paid for by on-street parking, are not, independently making a PROFIT.

However, like all things ‘parking’ and Westminster City Council, these days, it’s really only about the money. Want to know WHY your car parks are UNDER used, WCC? Because you charge too much and do not publicise them enough.

CassaNDRAJuly 10th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

The truth is that Westminster have lost any credibility with their residents or indeed anyone else who cares to even bother observing them anymore.

The Councillors representing the citizens are simply needy sycophants with little time for their electors and less respect for themselves.

A more desperate collection of useless idiots who fail to even manage to agree on who opens a window at their Council meetings it would be hard to find.

The residents simply ignore them for the useless, vain idiots they are – though in reality being Frixos or Burbridge it would be hard to see any redeeming feature in their figures: one an ark waiting for a flood and the other with hair that could really do with some product in it.
I won’t even mention Johnny Glanz who has all the charisma of a damp Sainsbury’s sandwich past its sell by date. He really does put the ‘Wimp’ into Wimpole Street.
Here is a tip to the challenged Councillors of Wastemonster:
“whistle hard enough with your hands over your ears and you won’t hear the thunder”
I’m astonished I even am moved to comment about the current UK entry for ‘Team Wastrels’. Come 2012, if there was a Gold Medal for incompetents then Westminster Councillors would get it hands down!

And I can’t understand why the men are all so short. Even in flats, Burbridge is only slightly higher than Rowley.


Glen "Frosty" LittleJuly 14th, 2010 at 9:56 pm


Cassy, you hit the nail on the hammer.

I came across this site in the States and it looks like you brits have a problem!

Unlike Houston, your problem is your Council (is that the right term?)

I tried to look at the information about your elected councillors and I could not find any. Here, in the US we are pretty much open and councillors are open to scrutiny.

Not much info on short trousers Rowley, “varicose vains” Burbridge, tubby Frixos, or the abhorrent Ascot wearing Glanz.

Is it really true they trough a free parking permit simply because they are insecure wastrels with small cocks (except Burbridge of course who has a MASSIVE poisonality)

Gee guys, get a grip. You have a self-centred council dictating stupid ordinaces with no thought for who they actually represent.

They should go to Texas where they really know how to do things.


BanditJuly 16th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

The expression on Colon’s face up there – is he trying to squeeze one out?

[...] council announced a couple of months ago that all remaining car parks were to be sold to third parties (in the private sector) in the coming months. Oh dear, this means that motorcycle [...]

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