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Stop Canterbury Council charging residents extortionate amounts for parking

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Canterbury Council recently voted to raise Whitstable/Herne Bay & Canterbury parking permits over the next three years. By 2019, they have agreed a fee of £700 for a Residents Off Street Parking Permit. To get a permit, you must be a local resident and proved to be paying Council Tax.

 New Permits are based on Flawed Research

The Council based this fee on research that has proved to be flawed. The research was presented in the table which were described thus:

“The following tables compare the current annual cost of Residents’ Off-Street Permits in Canterbury, Herne Bay & Whitstable with the current costs in other historic cities/regional towns and seaside towns.”

However, a more thorough investigation of the figures given show that many of the far higher rates charged by Councils in other towns and cites does not refer to “Residents’ Off Street Permits” but to season tickets that can be purchased by anyone. This includes those who do not live nor pay Council Tax in that area. They are designed for those who commute to work.

This table is flawed, and yet has been used as justification for the incredibly high permit price which does not take into account the fact that Residents are using these permits for private parking, rather than for work, and must be paying Council Tax.

Council has a duty to ensure that Research that informs Policy Decisions is credible

As the table has proved to be flawed, the Council must review these charges, and make a fairer comparison in order to arrive at a charge which is equitable with other “Residents Off Street Parking” not Season tickets.

Unlike Season tickets, which are enable those in employment to park closer to work, CCC Residents Permits are used by a wider demographic simply to enable them to have their car parked within reasonable walking distance to their homes. This includes the elderly, who can’t necessarily find £700 for a Residents Permit.

I moved to central Whitstable in 2014 and paid an annual fee of £115 for parking.  In 2015 this rose to £250 and this year it is £350 and I have now been told this will rise to £500 in 2018 and £700 in 2019.  I work in the area and have a young family and the fact that these costs are rising at such a rate, makes it impossible for me to budget my already stretched income.

I realise that parking is a problem in Whitstable and surrounds and solutions need to be found, but I do not understand how charging outrageous prices with resolve this.

I am inviting the Councillors to:

-      Interrogate the research presented to them, and confirm if the information is in fact for Season Tickets rather than Residents Permits

-      If the research is incorrect, then commission new research to make a true comparison

-      Review the parking permit prices in light of this new research

-       Explain how the increased revenue will benefit those who has raised it

-      Detail other activities done to reduce the parking in Whitstable and surrounds, such as car share schemes or park and ride

Leader of the Council must ensure the integrity of the Council’s Activities

I am also calling on the Leader of the Council to state an opinion on whether he is happy that this policy has been properly researched, and if not, what steps can be taken to ensure all research that informs policy is properly interrogated.

Raising Council funds Equitably

Councillor Brian Barker said on a public forum:

“think about which services you like to see cut to produce enough income to do the things the Council currently do, bearing in mind these would affect everyone, including car owners and the less fortunate in our community.”

While it is true that Councils are struggling to balance the books, targeting a small number of Residents (who have no parking alternatives available to them) with a parking fee based on factually wrong research is not the best way to raise funds for the Council as a whole.

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