Hove MP raises parking concerns after High Court ruling

Posted On 23 Aug 2013 at 4:02 pm

The Conservative MP for Hove Mike Weatherley has raised concerns about parking charges after a recent High Court ruling on the subject.

Mr Weatherley has written to Penny Thompson, the chief executive of Brighton and Hove City Council.

He said: “Quite understandably residents are concerned that controlled parking may be introduced into their area simply because council employees see their roads as paved with gold.

“I have written to the chief executive of Brighton and Hove City Council for clarification on the matter but if this turns out to be the case then it is totally unacceptable.”

In his letter Mr Weatherley said: “Following the recent High Court ruling against Barnet Council, I understand that there are significant implications for local authorities that make profit from parking schemes.

Mike Weatherley

Mike Weatherley

“Quite understandably, I have been contacted by a number of residents who have raised with me their concerns over the decisions that are being made when introducing new parking restrictions.

“I should be extremely grateful to know how much consideration is being given to profit that would be generated for the council when deciding whether or not to roll-out restrictions into a new area.”

His letter follows the High Court ruling that struck down Barnet’s charging structure for resident permits and is expected to cost the London borough £750,000 in lost revenue.

Mrs Justice Beverley Lang’s judgment said that charges were contrary to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, with implications for councils across the country.

Mr Weatherley said that motorists welcomed the ruling, hoping that it would stop councils from arbitrarily targeting drivers for extra funding.

Ian Davey, the council’s lead member for transport and a Green councillor, said recently: “Any surplus income from parking in Brighton and Hove is invested back into transport for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors.

“Specifically the surplus was used to subsidise free bus travel for older people (£9.2 million) which is expected to rise to over £10 million this year, as well as capital investment for transport infrastructure, road safety and public transport improvements.

“We have also invested £4.2 million on refurbishing our car parks.

“Parking enforcement is crucial to managing the availability of spaces, for keeping traffic moving, improving air quality and road safety and the parking budget is set to ensure the operation is self-financing.

“Over the years the number of penalty charge notices issued has fallen from 168,000 in 2005 to 116,000 in 2011-12 despite new residents’ parking zones coming on stream.

“We expect that figure to reduce further as people become familiar with the parking schemes.

“We will not know the final parking surplus for 2012-13 until October when it will be published in the Parking Annual Report.”

The judgment against Barnet Council can be read here.

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