Westminster accused of ignoring consultation by hiking parking charges

By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Service

Westminster City council has been accused of ignoring residents after hiking parking charges.

The borough’s Conservatives said the Labour-run administration introduced the hikes just days before the results from a public consultation was released.

The survey showed 91.9 per cent of respondents expressed concerns or opposed the plans, while only four per cent said they were “largely supportive” of them.

Ed Pitt Ford, the Tories’ sustainable transport spokesman, accused the council of ignoring respondents.

The Pimlico North councillor said: “The Labour administration argued that this is not a referendum on parking charges. I would argue that when you are ignoring 90 per cent of people responding, this is no longer a democracy.”

Tim Barnes, parliamentary candidate for Cities of London and Westminster, said: “If you ask people and nine out of ten say don’t do it, you shouldn’t just do it anyway. Labour put the prices up before the consultation results came out to try and hide from listening to what local people had to say”.

Westminster City council said the new scheme will support the growth of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the borough, while keeping charges fair, proportionate and as low as possible. The council has described the previous EV charging scheme, which started at 8p, as “unsustainable”.

In a report, the council said cheapest charges in each of Westminster’s parking zones will be lower than those charges by surrounding local authorities. They said for pay-to-park charges on EV and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the increase is “virtually nominal” citing charges of 8p an hour in Paddington to 24p an hour in the West End.

Among the changes is a new charge for resident permits on EVs, which were previously exempt. The council is also dropping the number of vehicles covered by a residents’ permit from two to one meaning residents will now have to pay £50 to register a second vehicle and an additional £100 to register a third.

One in four said the new charges would make it less likely they would have an electric vehicle.

A Westminster City council spokesman said: “To meet our Net Zero commitments and to keep up with the increasing demand for EVs, the council has moved to an emissions-based charging system for parking.

“The new scheme will support the growth of electric vehicles in the city while keeping charges fair, proportionate, and as low as possible. Under the new scheme, the cost of parking an EV in Westminster will remain much lower than driving a diesel or petrol car.”

Pictured top: An EV vehicle charging. Even they will be subject to some price hikes for parking in Westminster (Picture): Wikimedia Commons/Ogidya


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