Medway car parking charges – part 2

As a brief epilogue to the Medway Council car parking charges blunder I exposed last week, it was interesting to note that the Special Urgency Decision was attached to the draft minutes on the Council’s website.

You can find the Decision in two parts (the decision and the appendix listing the correct parking fees) by following the link above, but I have included the first part below.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the document (other than the repetitive nature of paragraph 1.1 – yes, they couldn’t even get the correction right!) is the estimation that the cut in parking charges could have lost Medway Council £250,000 – proving beyond doubt that parking fees are an over-inflated, grotesque tax on motorists from Medway and beyond.

It is also worth noting that the Decision was made and signed off not by one of the 55 councillors you elected to serve you, but by a senior unelected bureaucrat.

Local democracy in action…

Medway car parking charges cut (sort of)

Medway Council’s annual budget meeting descended into farce on Thursday with over one quarter of councillors refusing to vote.

The Finance Portfolio Holder, Cllr Alan Jarrett had presented last-minute amendments to the budget which included incorrect figures that had to be corrected during the meeting.

Despite assurances from both the Chief Executive Neil Davies and the Monitoring Officer Perry Holmes that the verbal corrections were acceptable, the Labour Group claimed that the budget was illegal and refused to vote.

But the embarrassment for the Conservative administration didn’t end when the meeting closed.

Those following my live tweets from the meeting will have seen that, from the public gallery, I picked up an error over the car parking charges in Medway:

In the 2012/2013 budget, parking charges across Medway were increased for the first time in years:

Fast-forward to Thursday night, and the proposed prices for 2013/2014 reflected the pre-2012 prices as both the existing and proposed prices:

When the Council (or, more correctly, the Conservative councillors) approved the budget, they bound the council to every measure and proposal contained within it – including the pre-2012 parking prices.

In a panic, the Cabinet had to use the Special Urgency Decisions provision contained within the Constitution to increase the parking prices back to current levels before they are required to introduce the prices approved in the budget in April.

This means that, once again, there is no happy ending for Medway’s motorists and visitors.

Medway Messenger letter: Friday, 2 September 2011

New ticket machines but no street lights!

I SUPPORT any short-term cost that saves money in the long-term. However, Medway Council have sold residents and visitors short on buying new meters for its car parks.

Whilst it has replaced the ticket machines, the new ones still do not give change, which can only be seen as a cynical move to gain more revenue than they are entitled to at the expense of residents and visitors.

In addition, while they saw fit to replace the ticket machines in Riverside car park in Chatham, they put residents and visitors at risk by not replacing street lights outside the Royal Air Forces Association Club for weeks; a club frequented by the elderly and disabled.

When Medway Council seeks to make improvements to, and spend money in, the Medway area in future, perhaps they could consider the residents whom they serve first.

Alan W Collins, Ombersley Road, Birmingham

Dangerous college parking poses serious risk to safety, says leading Medway blogger

A leading Medway blogger has attacked parking arrangements at the new Mid Kent College campus in Gillingham.

Alan Collins, who runs local news and opinion site AlanWCollins, has described the way in which students are parking as being “very likely to cause a major accident, very soon”.

Mr Collins commented, “I was driving up Prince Arthur Road at around 9am – when most students are making their way into the campus.

“Aside from the expected hoardes of students flocking in on foot, several insist on parking directly opposite the campus – dangerously parked half on the road and half on the pavement.

“This poses a significant and serious risk to the safety of the students and other road users.

“Something needs to be done … and quickly … about this parking situation, otherwise it is very likely to cause a major accident, very soon.”

But Mr Collins, whose blog was recently voted into the Total Politics Top 100 Conservative Blogs for the second year in a row, does not believe that it is the students themselves who are at fault.

“Let’s be clear, this is not a problem of the students’ own making. Mid Kent College seems to expect students to use alternative forms of transport, without giving them a clear choice.

“The roads around the campus are mostly residential, so, as a result, students are being forced into a corner, and are thus parking dangerously, decreasing the visibility up and down the road for drivers and pedestrians alike.

“Something needs to been done now, to avoid a serious incident in the near future.”