May 19 2015

Jeremy Says: Leisure Centre Parking Charges – a “Stealth Agenda”

jeremy_zeidA few weeks ago I wrote that Labour’s foolhardy and short-sighted imposition of parking charges at the Leisure Centre, to gain “revenue”, because of “the cuts” (although the “cuts” didn’t extend to iPads for Councillors, tarting  up the Civic Centre and re-employing a Chief Exec at a salary greater than the Prime Minister), would have a wholly negative impact; they have, spectacularly so.

Not only has the Leisure Centre seen the predicted drop in custom, it has  started to affect the hiring of halls for functions and is causing huge difficulties for one of Harrow’s biggest employers “Bakkavor”, who had an arrangement for their workers many on shifts, to park in an allocated area.
When stupid Councils start squeezing employers, the latter have a habit of upping-sticks to more conducive climes, while the taxpayer picks up the bill.

A consequence of the Labour “led” Council’s obsession with “revenue” and charging for everything but the air we breathe has been that workers now park in the side streets, and who can blame them, while causing absolute chaos for residents.

This fiasco is entirely the Council’s fault, pure and simple; nothing at all to do with “the cuts”. If, as Harrow Council states, that it is “business friendly”, it is now incumbent on said “business friendly” Council to make arrangements with Bakkavor, who provide hundreds of jobs, to accommodate the
workers. This is definitely NOT an “opportunity” for the Council to use this as a smokescreen to rip off already over-taxed residents by the imposition of CPZs, Permits, Curfews and Penalties outside our properties where none were needed beforehand and that have a worrying tendency to expand.

We do not need any expensive “consultations”, no “road shows”, no “workshops”, no tax-funded propaganda to give the illusion of activity, as the problems are obvious, completely predictable and are easily resolvable.

It would be interesting to know how much the “consultations” signage and parking machines need to recoup to cover the initial costs. And as the footfall drops at the Leisure Centre, I ask again, is there a “stealth agenda” to close it and sell it off for yet more rat-hole, future-slum, flats while Labour again blame the “cuts”?

This was all wholly predictable and this is a warning shot across the bows of the Council and its well remunerated bureaucrats, just in case they get any ideas, that we residents know your little game.

Jeremy Zeid

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  1. Concerned Harrovian

    Leaflets have been posted through letter boxes advertising the new gym coming to Wealdstone in June. The prices charged are much less than the Leisure Centres prices so there will probably be cancellation of Leisure Centre membership.

    I agree with Jeremy Zeid it is not wise for the Leisure Centre to use its members as cash cows and annoy them. People will vote with their feet/wheels.

  2. S.Karia

    Cannot understand Jeremy Zeid’s comments, clearly looks like he does not use the Leisure Centre because the first 3 hours are free. Three hours are enough for anyone who uses the Leisure Centre for its intended purpose, that of being a sports complex. Most employees, including Council employees (unless they have a pass) do not have the luxury of a car park near to their work place so why should one group of workers have this facility. Of course Bakkavor can negotiate with the Leisure Centre and make a contribution so they are allocated dedicated parking spaces BUT as this will involve a cost, I doubt if Bakkavor will do this. There is also the Peel Road car park which people can use but as they have to pay, I doubt if many will park there. Concerned Harrovian mentions the new gym in Wealdstone and as far as I know, there is no parking, at least Harrow Leisure Centre provides the first 3 hrs free !!

  3. Jeremy Zeid

    S.Karia. You miss the point. Bakkavor contributes a fortune into the tax pot. Leaving aside NI, income tax, vat, corporation tax, energy taxes, climate cage levy etc. they pay a fortune in business rates and for all of this they receive nothing, they don’t even get their waste cleared, that costs extra, a hell of a lot of money before they pay salaries, buy stock, pay creditors or earn a penny for themselves. Meanwhile the grasping Council who seem to be very free and easy with our money spending on junk as opposed to looking after the infrastructure seem to almost enjoy piling ever more costs and restrictions on residents, customers and businesses. Harrow is in serious decline and it’s nothing to do the “cuts” and everything to do with a bunch of ideologues who are more interested in power and personal glory by bribing us with other people’s money. Take a walk into central Harrow and tell me how healthy the area is. High charges, rents etc. Only a raving lunatic opens a shop in Harrow, contrast Hillingdon which is thriving. The Council blew two million quid tarting up St Ann’s Road and then dug it all up again putting tarmac patches in the new paving. They should have left it and used the money to cut parking charges for customers. What these blundering morons have done is that the very sight of a machine puts punters off as is amply illustrated by the gradual death of Hatch End.

  4. Marcello Borgese

    Spot on JZ. In the last year or so machines have appeared on Stanmore Hill and Canons Park Parade and the very sight of the machines has made me by drive straight past instead of stopping which I used to do. It was some time later I was informed that the first 20 minutes are free so now I do stop occasionally but for no longer than 20 minutes – I refuse to pay for parking if I’m going to buy goods. So undoubtedly shops are losing business due to these wretched machines.

    I have also stopped going into Harrow town centre since I was caught by a camera for which there was no sign nearby (against ICO guidelines).

    Last week our grass verges were cut and they left the cut grass on top of the growing grass. I contacted our councillor who told me it’s now Labour policy to cut and drop the grass. This is an absolute disgrace as it makes the grass messy and affects the growing grass underneath.

    Labour’s election result this month was even worse than when Gordon Brown was leader. Labour just don’t ‘get’ business, they don’t ‘get’ people and now they don’t get ‘grass’. What they do get, however, is taking more money off us and paying themselves more in allowances. Labour councils cost you more and give you less. QED.

  5. Sarah

    I don’t think S. Karia missed the point at all. Think more about Hatch End, North Harrow etc. where small businesses are struggling to survive instead of worrying about poor ol’ Bakkavor who, with a turnover of over £1 billion a year, are more than capable of funding parking arrangements for their workers if they wish to.
    Bakkavor contributes a fortune into the tax pot because they EARN A FORTUNE. “They don’t even get their waste cleared” ?! Why would a multi-million pound company get their waste cleared for free when every single tiny little business on the high street has to pay to get their tiny little wheelie bin emptied?
    Let Bakkovor contribute something towards business parking – after all, the Council want all of its high street workers to pay over £600 a year each for a parking permit.
    I agree that Harrow Council are blowing our money away left right and centre, shutting our libraries while revamping their own offices, but Bakkavor is not where Jeremy’s attentions should be focused.

  6. j hobbs

    I moved just over a year ago to a town in Buckinham as i could not get a place to remain in Harrow after living there 40+ years , my new town has one hour free parking on one side in the whole High St ,free after 5.00pm there is also a very large car park 50 yards off the High St half way along , this is FREE yes FREE all day and night the next town has similar parking the most costly 50p for three hours most of the shops are individual Butchers Bakers Greengrocers in fact all one needs mostly owned and run by local people not one Eastern European shop they all seem to be doing well , the smallest shop is a tiny betting shop just the one you can only get four people in at a time a half shop in fact . The local Council is so helpful and a delight to deal with the only thing i miss is my Harrovian friends , Why cant Harrow give them a fair deal ? its like lhe best of the 1950s .

  7. j hobbs

    I just found out there is a second free car park just off the High street with an imaculately kept toilet wash room , well done AVDC .

    1. j hobbs

      Free including pee .

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