Westminster Council remove over 1700 parking spaces from the West End

Westminster Council’s Cabinet Member for Parking and Transportation Lee Rowley’s justification for the extended Sunday and weekday evening parking charges was to allow motorists coming into the West End a better chance of finding a parking space. Rowley spouted on BBC Breakfast “There’s something like 2000 more cars parking in the centre of London on a Sunday afternoon than there is during the week”. He also pointed out that the Council has over 200 pages of evidence to back up his claims. Yet when Nutsville asked him to back up his claims he fell silent, unwilling or unable to dispute our claims that this is simply a revenue raising exercise to fill an £8M deficit.

Yesterday Nutsville learnt the true existent of the damage Cllr Rowley is about to inflict on the residents, church goers, theatre audiences, shoppers, musicians and casino workers in the West End.

Council officer Rosemarie MacQueen who recommended the new enforcement measures revealed that 8,601 metres of single yellow lines which had previously been free to park on will now be subject to strict enforcement rules. This equates to over 1700 free car parking spaces lost, supposedly all in an effort to ‘help’ motorists find a place to park.

Controlled Parking Zone Total length of single yellow lines in metres Equivalent number of spaces (5 metres car)
E 3,818 763
G 1,726 345
F3 2,986 597
F6 71 14

Leader of Westminster Council’s Labour Group Cllr Paul Dimoldernberg said “The Council plans to lose 1,700 parking spaces on single yellow lines after 6.30pm and on Sunday afternoons. How will this help people coming to the West End to find a parking space? How will this help West End residents? Why are musicians, people working in restaurants and theatres, as well as West End churchgoers being asked to pay more?

It certainly makes no sense to actually decrease the number of available parking spaces claiming this will help motorists to park.

One recent announcement from the Council that will not help motorists either is the recent admission that the hourly parking rate is to be increased.

For example the cost of Sunday parking in Zone E is set to rise from £3.30p an hour to £4.80p an hour – a whopping 45% increase set to start on the 1st December. Rather tellingly the Council could give no other reason for the swinging tax increases other than they were needed because they hadn’t put the prices up for a couple of years.

Cllr Lee Rowley

Cllr Lee Rowley

Cllr Rowley is also prepared to stab residents in the back having sneakily tweaked the hours for those with residents parking permits who are allowed to use the pay-by-phone bays.

From 1st December residents holding a Residents’ Parking Permit will only be able to park for free on ‘pay and display’ parking bays from 8.30am – 9.30am and from 11.00pm – midnight from Monday – Saturday, and on Sundays between 1.00pm – 2.00pm and from 5.00pm – 6.00pm. Rowley made this alteration without any public consultation, even leaving his own officer MacQueen out in the cold.

According to Rosemarie Macqueen, the Council’s Strategic Director of Built Environment the changes “are materially different from those recommended by the Strategic Director Built Environment……..The Cabinet Member for Parking & Transportation, who tabled these changes on the night of the Cabinet meeting of 1 August, will be able to explain why he felt it appropriate to recommend these changes“.

Residents displaying a valid parking permit who are currently allowed to park free of charge in paid for bays for the first and last hours of control will see no change in the charge free morning period between 8:30am and 9:30am, but there will be a change in the charge free evening period, which will change from between 5:30 pm and 6:30pm, Monday to Saturday to between 11 pm and midnight, Monday to Saturday.  The officers’ recommendation would have meant that local residents displaying a valid parking permit could have parked free of charge between 8:30am and 9:30am and between 5:30 pm and midnight, Monday to Saturday.

The Council face a demonstration tonight outside City Hall whilst a delegation of 20 concerned stakeholders meet with Rowley inside.


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SForemanSeptember 30th, 2011 at 12:47 am

City centre residents lost their one day of respite from noise and air pollution when Sunday shopping was introduced. Pollution levels are above the WHO health guideline levels all week, all round the year, damaging health. Weekends are usually the worst days of the week for traffic and parking in the residential side streets, and if these changes reduce the high numbers of cars coming into the West End on Sundays, so much the better.

davy gravySeptember 30th, 2011 at 8:12 am

Slightly misleading headline there. They’re not removing the spaces. they’re just going to charge for them on Sundays. Whichis probably fine, for those of us who get the bus into town….

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