Council pledges parking reforms

Digital cameras will record offences after numerous complaints

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Following his damning report on local parking services, Lib Dem Transport Spokeperson Councillor Gary Malcolm, has received an encouraging response from Ealing Council's Director of Street Environment Joe Tavernier.

Mr Tavernier was responding to the many complaints that Cllr Malcolm had highlighted on behalf of local residents. 

Recently released Government figures show that Ealing Council received revenue totalling £15.1m from parking fines in the twelve months ending April last year.

According to Mr Tavernier's letter to Cllr Malcolm, the council will in future:

  1. Publish a Code of Practice so that parking attendants know more clearly when to ticket a vehicle;
  2. Will be using digital cameras to record offences which should mean that Parking Attendants should make less mistakes;
  3. Agree that they will refund visitors parking vouchers used (until the paid for permits arrived during the CPZ renewal process) for the CPZ Zone B problems which many in Southfield suffered last year.
  4. Improve the waiting time and response for those contacting Parking Services;
    Are to review the format of letters so residents are told in plain English so more people understand the rule or why they have received a ticket

One of the grievances that Cllr Malcolm highlighted was that when it came to suspensions of the Council’s CPZ zones (e.g. because the council has ‘rented out’ a street for filming a TV show for example) that the Council should do more than the law states to inform residents as many people are caught when on holiday etc. and return to have received many CPZ fines.

However one resident got more than a fine after he failed to spot a notice for a 'suspended bay' to allow a removal van to park.  He said "My wife’s car was parked with a valid permit on our street but she was away in Africa at the time. After several days I went out to place a new tax disc in the car but the car had vanished. Thinking that it had been stolen I went to Chiswick Police station where I was advised to contact Ealing car compound which was where I finally found my car and was forced to pay £240 to reclaim it. I was informed (at the compound) that the car had been removed the previous week by Ealing Council, for being parked in a �suspended bay�."

He continued "Obviously I was not aware of any ‘suspended bay’ coming into force so after coming to terms with the realization that the car had not been stolen and that it was in fact the Council who ‘removed’ it, I began to wonder if there had been any warning sign. It was then that I observed that the nearest pole on the footpath near where the car had been parked was over 15 metres (and three house frontages) away from where our car was towed."

This is just one of a long list of parking grievances aired by residents of this particular area.  Last year many drivers did not receive their parking permits for Zone B in time and some were given PCN's even though it was a council error.  However, the offer of a refund for visitors parking vouchers used (until the paid for permits arrived during the CPZ renewal process) will go a little way to making up for the distress caused.

Cllr Gary Malcolm said “Lib Dems in Southfield have for a long time received many complaints from residents about parking issues. I am glad that many points of our investigation have been accepted. It is encouraging that parking attendants in the future will use digital cameras to record offences. This should reduce errors made by parking attendants.“


May 11, 2006