Saturday, 3 December 2011

Parking and the Idiocracy running Barnet Council

So I've just returned from watching my son perform at Finchley Music Centre for the end of term concert. Very good it was too. More of that later. The problems started when we got home. Now I live in Millway, just off Mill Hill Broadway. As you will probably know if you are a regular reader or a resident of Barnet, the council recently abolished pay and display parking. So what effect has this had? Well now the minimum charge is £1 and you have to either pay by phone or locate a shop which has the paypoint system. How is it working?

Well there are certainly loads of spaces in the Broadway now. You see people aren't stupid, they don't like being mugged. So where are they going? Traders say there has been a huge drop off in sales. The ones who are parking, seem to be finding spaces in sidestreets where you don't have to pay a penny. Today was the first time I'd really seen this in action. In our road, there is nowhere to park for residents. Saturday was never great, but cars are driving round and round looking for spaces, sometimes just stopping in the road and waiting. I had a very interesting conversation with the bloke from OCADO dropping off the groceries about the parking. He spends his day driving around Barnet. His verdict -  "mayhem".

As reported here yesterday, we have a Leader who is a statue - he "listens but can do nothing". We have a head of parking in Brian Coleman, who won't answer his emails and clearly doesn't give a stuff about the traders (a rather stupid move as many are natural Conservatives). Not only that, but we're seeing a huge drop in parking revenues, as people park where it's free and walk a bit further or don't park at all. Sooner or later, they'll have to make up this shortfall and introduce even more stealth taxes. The whole situation is out of hand.

In short we have a new form of local government - an Idiocracy. Don't Call Me Dave published a blog when Mike Freer quit as Leader of Barnet Council, to be replaced by Lynne Hillan. He stated that bad as Freer was, he wouldn't be the worst ever leader of Barnet Council, because this would be Lynne Hillan. I wonder if he'd care to update his opinion today?

Don't forget, you will have your opportunity to tell Barnet Council what you think of their parking scheme at the GLA elections in May, when Brian Coleman, the man who has brought the changes in, stands again for his £50,000 a year part time job. Democracy isn't perfect, but it does offer the odd opportunity such as this to let these idiots know what we think of them and to hit the, in the pocket. Don't waste this opportunity


Mr Mustard said...

Very well said Roger. An idiocracy - I like that. What Barnet Council are finding out is the convenience cost for motorists; parking prices are elastic. The more they go up the less people want to pay them. If one can walk from the edge of the zone in less than 5 minutes then at some price point, in this case inconvenience, people will walk instead.

Everywhere I go I park on the edge of a zone and walk in. It is rarely more thna 10 minutes and it helps one to keep fit. Barnet resident's health will improve and Barnet Council will doubtless claim credit for that. When it is quicker to walk from the edge of the zone than to find a paypoint shop then you might as well walk.

Scooters can park for free in council car parks ( they have to use a car space! ) and in residents' bays. Chinese made scooters can be bought for less than £1,000 (amazing I know; I though I had gone back to the 60's at the motorbike show 2 weeks ago ) and so sales of 2 wheelers will also probably go up in Barnet as they did when the congestion zone was introduced.

Laws of unintended consequences are operating.

I feel sorry for the shopkeepers who are being placed ina very difficult position. Putting the Community first? Paff!

baarnett said...

I've seen articles that say (from memory) possibly 25% of shops in the country are "effectively surplus to requirements".

This is as a new age takes hold, particularly for the young, of internet shopping and large shopping centres (presumably that includes Brent Cross, but more Westfield I expect).

That doesn't mean that 25% of shops will necessarily close down permanently, and particularly not in the wealthy south-east and London. But it does mean they are in a very fragile market. The least Barnet shop-keepers might expect is support from their local council.

With Taxi-man Coleman, the opposite is the case.

There is a minor and strange straw in the wind though.

I see that Ginger and Squify have made it down, despite their landing gear shot to pieces (that's not a euphemism, Mrs A) at the RAF Museum. The Museum is advertising:

"Barnet's Finest - RAF Museum London Event"

7-8 July 2012

A weekend of events, dedicated the best that the London Borough of Barnet has to offer the local community, in terms of businesses, advice and entertainment.

Details are currently being finalised, but activities will include concerts, family fun, plus seminars for business owners or members of the local community looking to set up their own businesses.

With the current council leadership, some of those "looking to set up their own businesses" will be shop-owners who have had to close down, thanks to the very same London Borough of Barnet.

baarnett said...

"Who can take parking policy, sprinkle it with dew
Cover it with choc'late and a miracle or two
The Taxi Man, oh the Taxi Man can
The Taxi Man can 'cause he mixes it with mobile phones and makes the income stream taste good

Who can take a yellow line, wrap it in a sigh
Soak it in the sun and make a groovy lemon pie
The Taxi Man, the Taxi Man can
The Taxi Man can 'cause he mixes it with PayPoint and makes the income stream taste good

The Taxi Man makes all things he touches satisfying and delicious
Now you talk about your town centres, you know Brian hasn't any mentors

Oh, who can take tomorrow, dip it in a dream
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
The Taxi Man, oh the Taxi Man can
The Taxi Man can 'cause he mixes it with scratch-cards and makes the income stream taste good."

Vicki Morris aka Citizen Barnet said...

Baarnett, you hum it, I'll play it. That inspired ditty deserves a YouTube video, but I don't know how.

baarnett said...

"Just back from New York, darling. Glad you love it, Vicky darling." (Hic.)

"Stylistically, darling, I see it as a cross between 'New Romanticism' and 'Springtime for Hitler'."

ainelivia said...

Does this mean the traffic wardens will be out of a job? From the conversations i've had, a lot of people who would normally drive to the Broadway and park are reluctant not just because of pricing, but because they cannot get to grips with the automated system. M&S will get a lot more custom because if you park in their car-park and pop into the store and shop, parking is refunded. There are noticeably more spaces on the Broadway, and yes people are finding that parking outside the pay zone and walking in is beneficial to health and pocket.