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Parking Charges

From Helen Tipping

Friday, 21 December 2012

A few years back Calderdale Council suggested that residents should pay for parking permits. We mounted a campaign and the proposals were retracted. Only to be brought in by the back door and without informing us for this year.

We were rather surprised to receive a notification that our parking permit would cost £25 to renew - well we don't have much choice as we have to park on-street given we all live in terraced houses with no room for parking.

Thanks Calderdale Council - more charges that people can ill afford at a time when we're being battered from all sides by redundancies, removal of benefits etc, increasing costs for heating & food. Why not grab more money from us where we have no choice but to pay? A nice little earner for you.

I am pretty disgusted, and can assure our sneaky councillors that they won't be getting my vote next year.

From David J

Saturday, 22 December 2012

The answer is for everyone affected to begin by taking it up as a formal complaint with Calderdale Council. Also, contact the local councillors and complain to them. People with disabilities or on a low income are getting clobbered again, by Calderdale Council this time.

From Anthony Rae

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Let me make sure I've understood this correctly:

stage 1: Some residents in a street go out and buy motor vehicles and then leave them on somebody else's property (because the highways are owned by the local authority, which also incurs the consequential expenditure) for many hours a day, every day, without paying any charge or rent at all. Not sure how these schemes apply to unadopted streets so I'll ignore that complication.

stage 2: So many residents do this that, combined with other motorists from outside the area who come in and also leave their vehicles, they collectively create a problem for the entire street and community – for example, impeded access for delivery and refuse collection vehicles, and emergency services - which they are not able to solve themselves.

stage 3: The Council steps in and voluntarily (because it's not a statutory responsibility) diagnoses the problem, designs a scheme to solve it, implements it on the ground and operates it, including the promotion and administration of the necessary permits, and finally some degree of enforcement - thus (we hope) resolving the problem.

stage 4: As a result those residents on the street who have a vehicle now receive a benefit in the form of more reliable access to a parking space, which thereby saves them a great deal of trouble and personal inconvenience having to find another space further away in which they can leave their 'big metal box'.

stage 5: The Council, which didn't create the problem but did solve it, and thereby incurred the resultant costs, charges a small sum - 7 pence a day - to each vehicle owner in respect of these costs and benefits. This also means that Council tax-paying residents on the street who don't own a problem-creating vehicle aren't subsidising the others.

stage 6: Some of these vehicle owners (but I suspect not all of them, because the others can recognise a bargain when they see one) then complain loudly that the Council has done a 'very bad thing' by seeking to charge them 7 pence a day – for solving the problem that they themselves created - and that presumably other essential services including care for the vulnerable elderly and children should be cut instead by a local authority confronting astonishing income and expenditure reductions.

Mmmmm - Interesting.

From Paul Clarke

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Friend of the Earth Anthony Rae may have a point re: the cost per day of parking charges but his sneering comments about 'big metal boxes' do him a disservice.

To link this to children's service is also a pretty lame argument as those services are under threat the result of a massive cuts ordered by a useless coalition government determined to smash local services. Revenue from a few parking permits will not fill the gaps caused by cuts supported by Cllr Battye's party.

I have a car and I'm not ashamed of it. I actually like the convenience of having a car especially with a young child.

I also pay through the nose for that convenience in road tax, insurance and petrol duty. My choice and if Anthony wishes to be a luddite that is his choice. The sad fact it is cheaper to use your car to got to Asda than use expensive public transport.

I think Helen's point was people opposed the charges and won that battle. Then they get a notice telling them they have to pay with no consultation . . . hardly democratic. Or does Anthony only support people power when it comes to planning applications.

So once again I'm challenging our three paid councillors to give us their views. They don't normally bother but as there seems to be votes in it this time maybe they will. Mind you. I'm not holding my breath.

From David J

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Anthony Rae, you are not accquanted with the facts. The scheme applies equally to unadopted roads. This means that home owners who own and maintain the space outside their home have to pay for the privilege of parking there.

Also, households with a person who has a disability and needs to park near to their home are equally affected. Also affected are those living on means-tested benefit who are already feeling the effects of the government's welfare reform programme and who face cuts to their benefits in the coming year.

It's not about subsidising the selfish car drivers, it's about fairness.

From Roger N

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Mr Rae wonders if he had understood this topic correctly. I don't think he has.

Stage 1: If I park my big tin box with four bits of rubber on a public highway, what exactly is the 'consequential expenditure' the Council incurs? I may try it tonight. Rather than park on my driveway, I may park on the road. What additional cost will the Council incur if I do this?

Stage 2: Surely if cars cause problems for delivery and emergency vehicles, there is legislation to deal with such problems? I don't think this has anything to do with Helen Tipping's concerns.

Stage 3: So the problem is solved by the Council by allowing those who can afford it to carry on parking, and to hell with those that can't. And if everyone carries on paying then , quite simply, the problem is exactly the same and the Council run off with a bit more of the residents' money.

Stage 4: Do you really think that there's more likelihood that you'll be able to park outside your house? Are there any guarantees by the Council to this effect? What benefits does the 7p give residents?

Stage 5: Is the problem really solved? I think you'll find it most certainly is not. All that will happen is that the Council will pocket 7 pence a day, and things will stay the same.

Stage 6: Hang on a second! What's the 'bargain'? What am I getting for my 7p that I wasn't getting before? How does paying Calderdale Council 'solve the problem'? And to be honest, to bring the 'vulnerable elderly and children' into this argument, is somewhat emotive. Pay a parking fee and save a child? Pah!

From Myra James

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Anthony Rae makes some very good points. Perhaps there are things wrong with the system as it operates - for example, some kind of dispensation for people with disabilities would probably be reasonable, and I agree that it hardly seems fair in the case of unadopted roads.

However, the fact remains that none of us owns the (adopted) road outside our house, so why should one be able to store one's property there free of charge? If I wished to store a sofa or other item of furniture outside my house I would expect to incur some kind of charge or penalty, or at least attract strong complaints. Why special arrangements for these particular pieces of personal property?

Parked cars in a residential street cause a number of difficulties, impeding delivery or emergency vehicles, preventing snow/leaf clearance to the edge of the street/pavement, and (as far as my own street is concerned anyway), shielding the pavement from the benefit of street lights. Yes, car ownership makes life a lot more convenient. Yes, it's a costly convenience. But a few extra pence to park your property on public land seems reasonable enough to me.

From Anthony Rae

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Just immediately on some points of accuracy; I'll come back in due course on the substance of the points being made on this thread:

Paul Clarke: I wasn't representing the views of Friends of the Earth (otherwise I would have said so); I wasn't sneering when I referred to 'big metal boxes' (I'm not in a habit of doing so; it was simply descriptive, and referring to the fact that empty parked cars - nearly 29m in GB - take up a lot of scarce urban space); and I'm not being a luddite because I wasn't arguing that people shouldn't have or use cars. Paul ought not read into my words what I didn't write.

David J: I quite deliberately wrote 'Not sure how these schemes apply to unadopted streets so I'll ignore that complication', but it doesn't change the argument, which is about how to ration limited or contested public space. Whilst frontagers in unadopted streets may own the land on which the highway is built and have a responsibility to maintain the section outside their house, they can't claim it as theirs as it's now 'public highway', which is why the Highway Authority is legally able to introduce the scheme.

Roger N: has misread my point on stage 1, which is simply that councils are the lawful owners of the public highway, have the expenditure and liabilities associated with ownership, but are also entitled to charge for its use in particular circumstances.

I seem to have a prodded a stick into a hive of 'angry motorists'.

From David J

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Anthony Rae, the problem with the scheme is that it is introduced without sufficient thought to individuals' circumstances. 'Ignoring complications' is exactly what our local authority have done in intoducing the sheme.

It would be interesting to get the comment of a local councillor.

From Allen Keep

Sunday, 23 December 2012

I think what Anthony has done is uncovered the general level of frustration and anger that many people feel at the moment as one way or another, sometimes open, sometimes hidden, (as Marx might have put it) we are all made to pay for the economic mess we didn't create.
Unfortunately, that frustration can sometimes lead to us quarelling and blaming each other like people fighting over an unexpectedly high restaurant bill.

Maybe we need to take a lesson from the Luddites disappointingly disparaged by Paul. A bit of forceful and collective direct action would do us all a bit of good.

Perhaps we should occupy the square after the carol concert? Just a thought. Happy Christmas.

From Chistopher Reason

Sunday, 23 December 2012

I'd like to give Anthony Rae some moral support.

Motoring and parking seem to bring out the worst in people. It's as though to suggest that cars aren't necessarily an unambiguous benefit to mankind is to make a personal attack on their drivers' rights to life and liberty.

I gave up owning a car six years ago. One of the best decisions I ever made. I'm more prosperous and a great deal less stressed. I'd recommend it heartily to anyone who's within walking distance of the shops or a bus stop. And you can read and work on a train.

Oh and happy Xmas!

From David J

Monday, 24 December 2012

I understand that such schemes are in place so that locals will have somewhere to park their cars when the town is busy with tourists and shoppers.To me, this doesn't seem unreasonable. Individual spaced are not designated for specific cars nor are they guaranteed but surely those who choose to have cars should be able to park them close to their homes.

I expect the council is now strapped for cash as it is unable to raise council tax and the Government is withdrawing funds. So, it has decided that the motorist is an easy target. The only way to attempt to resolve this is to do something collectively. It may also be useful to find out how the council has reached the figure of £25 - is this a figure picked randomly or does it actually represent the cost of running the scheme. You can guarantee that if the council gets away with introducing this charge, it will be £50 next year.


From Mick Coughlan

Monday, 24 December 2012

First I should disclose that I am not a Hebden resident, I live in Copley.

We too have received these demands. I was aware that at some point this would happen from visits to the Skircoat Ward Forum by a Highways officer who was actually addressing concerns regarding parking in Skircoat caused by patients, visitors and staff to the Calderdale Royal Hospital. This was being seen as a pilot scheme that would "eventually" be rolled out to the rest of Calderdale, it seems CMBC's cabinet have jumped the gun and seen a way to tax residents not fortunate enough to have off road parking.

The major problems with this are the lack of consultation and warning that this bill, up to £75 per household would pop through our letter boxes in the run up to Christmas. Also the issue of payment, currently there is no way to pay this in instalments which would alleviate some of the pressures on the less wealthy.

I read Anthony's comments with interest. Make no mistake though, none of CMBC's intentions are to do with Anthony's lofty ideals. Instead they are purely an income stream. They are trying to balance keeping any Council Tax rise below 2% with the fact that money from Central Gov't is decreasing. Nothing else.

I mentioned the visit of a Highways Oficer to the Skircoat Ward Forum. A chilling, ethically bereft phrase from him sticks in my mind. He referred to patients, visitors and staff at the hospital as an "un-tapped resource". Nothing to do with alleviating parking issues caused by CMBC's approval for planning permission to amalgamate 3 hospitals on one site in a residential area by an already busy major road junction, just a way to raise money.

My car is parked in a layby on Wakefield Road. We do not have reserved spaces. Were we not to have a permit scheme the spaces would be filled by staff at Lloyds Data Centre, another spin off from CMBC's poor decisions in planning, not to take into account sufficient parking. (some time soon to made worse when the Sowerby Bridge/Copley Valley Scheme is built with 40% of the maximum planning spaces provided). Yesterday we enjoyed a bus every 2 hours. A car is not a luxury for most of us and so I and my neighbours view this as just a further tax.

One further thought if I may. Anthony may think he has no need to pay for a parking permit, not being a car owner. However if he envisages having friends around, plumbers, electricians etc requiring access to via a "big metal box" then he will need to pay £25 for at least one visitor's permit. Unless he has a drive of course!

Happy Christmas

From Andy M

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

They are trying to balance keeping any Council Tax rise below 2% with the fact that money from Central Gov't is decreasing. Nothing else.. .

I can't see a problem there!

From Sue Fenton

Monday, 7 January 2013

I live in Midgehole. There is no bus service. The residents' parking bay is not big enough for each household to have one space. Charging for something we can't necessarily have does not strike me as a fair exchange. Once the principle of charging is established will the charges rise year on year?