Making a last ditch attempt to stop new parking charges targeted at residents in Wimbledon and Raynes Park, Lib Dem lead councillor Anthony Fairclough called on Labour Council bosses to improve their scheme.
Speaking at the Cabinet meeting on 18 January, he called for: full transparency in what the extra cash from charges would be used for; a focus on pollution - not where vehicles are parked; and a re-think of how the charges apply to visitor permits.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Fairclough said:
“There needs to be a sense that this is part of a joined-up plan, that action is being taken to cut pollution from through traffic and that the extra cash raised from these new parking charges will be spent on climate change and air pollution measures.”
“The principle should be ‘polluter pays’ - not ‘postcode pays’. So the targeting of Wimbledon and Raynes Park with higher fees should be stopped, and Council bosses should look at things like a low mileage discount and a longer lead-in time to allow people to switch to more environmentally friendly vehicles if they can.”
“Charging residents differently depending on the vehicle their visitors turn up in is nonsense, and needs to be completely re-thought,” he added, “it’s also risks being in breach of equality laws as no one has looked into whether some older people or people with disabilities are more likely to use the scratch card-style visitor permits, that the highest charges will be applied to, or more likely to need visitors generally”.
“Taken together, these flaws in the scheme reduce public acceptance and trust and make it look like a revenue raising policy. This undermines public support for the whole climate emergency response”
More info on local Lib Dem plans to improve the charges here: https://www.mertonlibdems.org.uk/car_parking_challenge