Have your say on Labour’s parking charge increases
The council has reopened its consultation on introducing “emissions-based charging” to streets around the borough. Concerns have been raised about the impact on local businesses at a time when the council should be doing everything in its power to support traders.
From January 2021, the Labour Council plans to introduce a sliding scale of parking charges on streets and parking bays across Croydon. Ostensibly, the scheme is designed to penalise cars with higher emissions.
The consultation also proposes to remove 30 minute and one-hour free parking bays, despite clear oppositions from local businesses.
A number of concerns with the scheme have been identified:
- Detrimental for local businesses, at a time when the council should be doing everything to support traders – not only will this discourage people to shop local, it could encourage people to jump in the car and drive to shopping districts in neighbouring boroughs. This will be detrimental to local traders and, ironically, worse for local air quality. The removal of free parking bays could seriously harm attempts by businesses to get back on their feet.
- Discriminates against low earners – this policy disadvantages those who lack the cash to change car quickly.
- Unlikely to deliver improvements in air quality – mileage is not considered in the new charging scheme. Many people will be penalised by this scheme despite being responsible for only minimal emissions.
- No way to measure success or failure – it’s very unclear what difference these changes will make to air quality and the council has no mechanism for measuring whether it’s had any impact.
- Conflicting aims of the scheme - the council has cited this policy as one which will help them recover from their financial crisis by raising an extra £1m. This suggests they do not really expect behaviour change to result from it. Questions have been raised as to whether it’s really been designed to raise money.
Cllr Gareth Streeter, Conservative spokesperson for Transport, Environment and Regeneration says, “Labour has bankrupted Croydon and hopes to cream off an extra £1million from motorists as a result of these changes. Despite this being a consultation, the revenue they hope to raise has already been written into the budget. As such, it’s hard for residents to trust that their objections are going to be taken seriously. Nevertheless, we encourage people to take this chance to state their views.
“We welcome the aim of improving air quality but it’s very unclear how this scheme will contribute to that objective. Croydon does not exist in a bubble and the most likely outcome is that local traders will see business disappear to nearby boroughs. Labour is failing to support local enterprises at a time when they really need the council to be on their side.”