Nov 05 2013

Thaya Says: Cabinet Makes Wrong Decision About Free Parking Scheme

thaya_idaikkadarPress Release from Thaya Idiakkadar, Leader of the Harrow Independent Labour Group:

I believe the administration has made a profoundly wrong decision for the following reasons:

It would appear that there was a desperate attempt to show a negative outcome of the free 20 minutes parking trial results in Rayner’s Lane. It is absurd to say that Tories are not against free parking schemes per se without providing immediate and credible alternative or supporting the scheme in front of us which was proposed by me under previous administration. I am afraid it seems Tories are out of touch with the harsh realities of the cost of living crisis as well as the difficulties for small businesses in Harrow.

Whilst an extraordinary attempt was made to include printing costs and machine maintenance on the ticketing machines there was no attempt made to show the saving made on PCN issuing machine maintenance and printing costs of PCNs.

[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]Bizarrely, there was no attempt to talk to traders and local residents to get feedback…[/pullquote]Loss of income should not have been taken into account at all. We must never issue PCNs to increase the Council income but to keep the traffic flowing smoothly.

Again information in the report is based on estimates. There was no study taken place to take into account general trend of PCN numbers. There was no attempt to compare the PCN issued in the previous year on a week by week basis. This comparison would have helped to understand the variation on holiday periods.

PCN and parking income should not be cash cow for the Council’s administration. Despite the claim and lip service, the administration do not actually seem to have any regard for the local shops and traders who are suffering immensely due to adverse economic conditions.

Bizarrely, there was no attempt to talk to traders and local residents to get feedback.

It is insulting to the local traders to suggest that 2% increase is negligible. I do not think the 2% increase in footfall for local shops is negligible at all whose livelihood depends on the businesses in the Borough. For example, a shop with turnover of £25,000, if the turnover increases by 2% that is £500 per week which may make a difference of making a profit or loss – a critical difference between keeping the small business afloat or shutting the shop, which will have terrible consequences on the livelihood of people as well as local economy. Notably, there was no attempt to canvass the traders to understand the impact on their turnover. This is vital to all businesses.

Given that Harrow Council keeps 30% of Business Rates paid by the traders, when a shop closes it has an impact on our budget. Whilst acknowledging it is difficult to estimate as to how many shops may close down and what contributory factor the Council’s removal of free parking may have, it was even more strange that there was no attempt to estimate this loss.

It is understood that if 20 minute free parking goes ahead North Harrow will lose one hour free parking but will benefit from 20 minute free parking instead. How much income this would have yielded? Why no calculations were made and incorporated into the final figures.

There is no mention about analysing the surrounding area. We all have witnessed drivers parking in some one else’s driveway, engine running whilst their friends, partners do the quick shopping, banking or pay a short visit to shops for any reason. With 20 minutes parking people may stop doing this. This has huge benefit on the environment and peace of the residents nearby.

It would appear to me the decision was made even before the report was prepared considering the comments made by the leadership in the previous Cabinets.

Week ending September there was a huge drop in the PCNs issued. No investigation was made to understand this fluctuation. Was it due to holiday period or was it due to traffic wardens not available on that week or something else. Similarly, no explanation was sought regarding week ending 15 September 2013. These two weeks figures has a huge impact on the reduction of PCNs issued.

According to the papers attached Rayners Lane had the highest vacancy rate in Harrow.

This decision may prove to be the last nail in the Rayners Lane’s coffin.

The Cabinet has ignored the pleading and desperate voice of traders, shopkeepers and the residents. This is vital for the wellbeing of Harrow. I firmly believe such an important issue must be discussed by the full Council and every Member of the Council should have a say.

This is what democracy is about – serving and helping people.

Cllr Thaya Idaikkadar
Leader – Independent Labour Group

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    harrow council should think again about this system
    All they say is we are losing money from machines
    The public say there is limted parking and some people stay for 2 hrs …Majority of the public want the 20 min free system for the many quick visits call to deliver or collect to premises banks,, estate agents , post office drop people to station and dentist. pay for i hr to visit the shops for shopping . with 20 min system 4 times more people can shop to help the traders.
    As for council losing money/ stop to use cash machine at post office or tesco (2 mins) and the traffic camera will give you a £100 fine .( As many shoppers and visitors will confirm this
    THE tesco machine is issuing tickets 7 days week as many shoppers will confirm ,so yr sunday visit to collect £20 will sting you £100 Just tell us how much these 2 cameras are taking every day SUSAN its not rocket sience.
    SO Harrow council consentrate on helping the shoppers and traders to survive and the cameras to be used for traffic offenses

  2. Harrow Dude

    I was agreeing with you until your rant about using the cash machines. If you want to use the cash machine at Tesco guess what? Park in the car park and hey presto no £100 fine.If you choose to park in the bus stop or stop on the yellow line to use the one at the post office then more fool you. I’ve lived in Harrow Since 1975 I got my last parking ticket about 25 years ago long before the introduction of the cameras, because I was illegally parked.So it’s simply really don’t park on yellow lines because you can’t be arsed to walk a few yards.
    Free parking YES Bitching about getting a ticket for parking ilegally NO.

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