Tuesday, 20 December 2011


ACT NOW - London Borough of Barnet Civic Awards AND Petition to Reverse Parking Charges
Many of you may be aware that the annual Barnet Civic Awards nomination deadline of December 31st is fast approaching.  Nominees for these awards are people resident or working within the borough and who have provided a significant contribution to the local community in 2011.   Barnet CPZ Action committee would like to recommend you nominate the following individuals for these awards:

- David Attfield, who, as you all know, has led the Barnet CPZ Action legal fight for the benefit of thousands of households in the borough.

- Derek Dishman, aka Mr Mustard, for extensively monitoring and keeping his website followers well informed on Barnet Council decisions and actions (for more information please visit  http://lbbspending.blogspot.com), and who has also been extremely supportive to the Barnet CPZ Action campaign.

We hope you will share our feelings towards the above individuals and spare a moment to fill in the attached form that we have downloaded from the following web-link: http://www.barnet.gov.uk/civic-awards-2012.pdf

We believe that these Awards can represent a great opportunity for those of us who feel strongly about the democratic process and perhaps deliver another wake-up call to some of our Barnet councillors, so please ACT NOW AS THE DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS IS 31st DECEMBER 2011. 

The address for delivery of nomination forms is:

The Mayor’s Office,
Civic Awards, London Borough of Barnet
Oakleigh Road South
London N11 1PN

Should you require David Attfield's contact information, please do not hesitate to contact us at barnetcpz@gmail.com.

*************************

You will probably share our enthusiasm for the signing of this new petition started by Labour Councillors regarding the parking situation in the borough.  If you have not seen it, please check out the link below.


Labour Group e-petition to reverse parking charges is now online  
The aim is to get 7,000 signatures by March next year, which by law would force a council debate on the issue.
2,000 signatures would result in an officer review of the policy.
Please circulate the petition to friends, family and supporters and ask them to sign.
The text of Labour's parking petition is:
"We the undersigned, request Barnet Council to reverse the parking charge increases implemented in 2011 that are having such a damaging impact on our local town centres and residents at a time when they can least afford it. We need action now to help small businesses and relieve residents. We believe that reversing the parking charges will increase the number of shoppers in our town centres, giving struggling local businesses and traders a much needed boost and helping our hard-pressed residents in these difficult economic times."

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Rip Off Britain broadcast

The BBC series Rip Off Britain has today included coverage of our campaign.

The broadcast  includes an extended interview with a campaign member, active campaign supporters Janis and Ken, various other Barnet residents as well as local builders, all of whom are severely impacted by the rise in Barnet parking charges for visitors and residents. Also appearing in the broadcast was Paul Watters from the AA who characterises the unfairness of the parking charges as blatant profiteering.

Barnet council were asked to respond via interview, they chose only to respond in writing essentially saying that the residents asked for the CPZ and can now ask for its removal.  The council did not respond to Rip Off Britain on the essential point of unwarranted price rises except the same old same old 'in line with other boroughs'.

To view the broadcast click this LINK and scroll to 31½ minutes.

UPDATE
The Rip Off Britain excerpt now appears on youtube:

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Barnet CPZ Action feature on BBC Inside Out and BBC London 94.9

Our campaign to overturn Barnet's outrageous CPZ charges has been featured in two recent BBC programmes.  You can access them below if you missed them.

Inside Out is an investigative current affairs programme for London. They looked at parking charges in a number of boroughs but even in this rogue's gallery, the £4 cost of a visitor voucher in Barnet stands out.




The same day, BBC London interviewed two of our supporters on its Drivetime programme, who spoke powerfully about the impact of the charges on the elderly and young families in particular.   The presenter begins by commenting that, in some boroughs, charges over the past three have gone up by 50% but that in Barnet "they have gone up by much, much more".   



The actual interview done by Anna O'Neill of BBC London News is also served on the Audio Boo website as below.


Barnet CPZ Action campaign group vows to fight on in their bid to bring Barnet Council to the High Court over parking charges. (mp3)

Monday, 21 November 2011

NEWSLETTER NO 9

Many of you will have heard that a deputy High Court judge last week refused David Attfield permission to take his case all the way to trial.  The reason given by the deputy judge was that David's application was similar to another challenge mounted by a Barnet resident over the summer, which was thrown out.  However, that resident did not have any legal representation and, in our opinion, did not raise a clear legal argument to address Barnet's case that the charges are permitted by the relevant legislation.  It appears that last week, the deputy judge may simply have decided to follow that earlier decision, and did not fully consider whether the arguments we raised were different.

David's barrister (Martin Westgate QC, one of the country's leading public law barristers) has reconfirmed his advice that the case is strong and that we should press ahead.  He is confident because Barnet are simply unable to address the issue at the heart of the case that high parking charges are only lawful to address a traffic management need.  At an oral hearing before a different High Court judge we will have more opportunity to convey our argument clearly.

Fortunately, thanks to your generosity, we are financially in a position to pursue the action further and we will not actively seek more donations until the case is back on track.

In the meantime, it is more important than ever that you continue to show your opposition to the charges because they remain far higher than other London boroughs and have such a terrible impact on so many people:

·      Britain's best selling family car is the Ford Focus 1.6. The £100 cost of a permit for this car in Barnet is one the highest in the whole of London.   Even Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea are cheaper.  The £100 cost in Barnet is considerably higher than in any neighbouring borough where a permit costs between £30 and £76.10.

·      The £4 cost of visitor vouchers far exceeds charges in comparable boroughs.  Most outer London boroughs charge a flat rate of around £1 for a visitor voucher.  A number of boroughs charge by the hour or half hour, meaning that a one hour visit costs as little as 30p.  Inviting eight guests to a child’s birthday party costs £32 in Barnet.  In adjoining CPZs in neighbouring boroughs (Haringey, Enfield, Brent, Harrow and Camden), that cost would be between £4.80 and £13.20.

These are facts!!!  Yet the Council continues to ignore them and their press response to last week's court ruling was: "People who live in a CPZ enjoy considerable benefits and therefore it is reasonable that they make some financial contribution. Our charges are in now line with other London boroughs" (Councilor Brian Coleman).


In addition, we understand that further increases in CPZ charges are planned for early next year, adding to the absurdly high cost.  The threat of CPZ residents being held to ransom year after year is too important and our arguments, both legal and moral, are too strong for us to give up. We fight on! 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Legal challenge encounters set back


Legal Action Update: Bad news from the Court but the fight goes on

On Monday we learned that a High Court judge had turned down David Attfield’s initial application for permission to pursue his legal challenge all the way to trial. In a short note of his reasons, the Judge claimed that the challenge was similar to another legal challenge mounted by a Barnet resident which was dismissed back in the summer.

This is undoubtedly a set back. We had expected to be given the green light based on two High Court precedents which establish that high parking charges need to be justified by the need to control parking or traffic in the areas concerned. Simply saying, as Barnet do, that more money is needed to pay for the Freedom Pass for the over 60s and to fix potholes across the borough is not enough (compare Barnet’s stance to that of Westminster who are bending over backwards to demonstrate that evening and Sunday parking charges are needed to control supposedly out of control demand for parking). However, we clearly failed to convey this point to the Judge.

We will also need to explain why the earlier challenge to Barnet’s CPZ charges is not a safe precedent. The resident in the earlier challenge had no legal representation and failed to advance a detailed legal argument. We need to explain why that poorly resourced legal challenge should in no way be regarded as confirming the legality of Barnet’s charges.   

This is not the end of the road.  Yesterday’s decision was made by a deputy judge who considered the matter on paper. We will have an opportunity in the New Year to present our case to a more senior judge orally at a hearing. This is not strictly an appeal but more of a right to a second, more considered, opinion.  The legal team will of course need to think carefully about why the case was initially turned down. We will need to make the case sound compelling to an over-worked High Court judge who, even if just sub-consciously, would welcome reducing the workload of the courts by turning some litigants away.  

David Attfield is asking his barrister, Martin Westgate QC, to assess again the prospects of success in light of this development and we will update you on this to the extent we can (some advice will need to be kept confidential in order not to inform Barnet of our thinking).  We believe the advice will still be positive because the basic facts have not changed:
  • Barnet do not attempt to argue that there is a need to control parking demand and traffic in its CPZs.
  • Its charges are far out of line with those in other boroughs. Inviting 8 guests to a toddler's birthday party costs £32 in Barnet but £4.80 in Haringey and £8 in Enfield. Even in Islington the cost would be just £12.80.
  • Plus there is the obvious unfairness of the tiny minority of residents in CPZs paying for services for the whole borough. The effect is that CPZ residents have to pay £9 to ensure that the non-CPZ residents can avoid paying £1.    
The need to ensure that CPZ residents are not held to ransom year after year is too important for us to give up now. And the arguments (both legal and moral) are too strong. We fight on!

 

Click here and here for latest media coverage on this matter.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Quiz Night Goes Down a Storm

Our Quiz and Auction on 12 November was a huge success
Thank you to everyone who took part

There is absolutely no sign of anger over Barnet's outrageous CPZ charges dying down. On Saturday night, 90 Barnet residents packed into the East Finchley Constitutional Club to show their support for the legal challenge and to enjoy an evening of fun and trivia.

We attach below some photos of this sell out event. Sorry to those who missed out on tickets.

Our congratulations go to the Grumpy Old Couples who were comfortable winners of the quiz and to all the winners in our raffle and auction. Thanks to everyone's generosity,  we raised over £1,500.

If you weren't able to attend, you can still make a donation to support our legal challenge online. Just click the "Donate" button on the homepage of our website.






Click on the pictures for the higher resolution versions.




 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


QUIZ NIGHT 
SOLD OUT


We are very sorry for any disappointment.

If you would still like to participate in the auction and/or  would like to be put on a waiting list for cancellations, please email us at mailto:barnetcpz@gmail.com


Monday, 7 November 2011

Hurry hurry hurry

Tickets are going fast so get yours quickly to avoid disappointment.

Help us fight the battle against these outrageous increases we are all being forced to pay.
We need YOU!

As yet we have no teams from Finchley, Temple Fortune, Hendon, or Golders Green

We are also holding a Raffle with great prizes, including:

Meal for Two at the Bald Faced Stag Gastro Pub in East Finchley
Phoenix Cinema Tickets for two
Half case of wine
Waitrose Christmas Hamper
And more…..

Click here http://barnetcpz.blogspot.com to take you directly to our blogsite for tickets

Promises Auction

·     Snacks by the Lazy Sally Café and licensed bar!

Join us on 12 November!
Tear your hair out with our quiz!
Win some great prizes!
Barnet CPZ Action needs your support!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Quiz and Auction Night 12 November

Quiz Night and Auction 
12 November
Thanks to your generous support, we're well on the way to riasing the money we need to take our legal action all the way to trial. 

But the fact is that we still need more. 

So we've arranged a packed evening of trivia and fun on Saturday,12 November to raise much needed funds:

·  Trivia quiz with picture, music and local knowledge rounds
·     A truly awesome auction conducted by local celebrity auctioneers: win a week in a Majorcan holiday cottage; tickets to Lords; a garden consultation; dog grooming; hypnotherapy session; children’s photo shoot and more!  (click here for full catalogue).
·     A stellar raffle: Win a meal at the Bald Faced Stag; a Waitrose Christmas hamper or a half case of wine!
·     Snacks by the Lazy Sally Café and licensed bar!

Join us on 12 November!
Tear your hair out with our quiz!
Win some great prizes!
Barnet CPZ Action needs your support!

When: 8pm, Saturday 12 November
Where: The East Finchley Constitutional Club, The Walks, off Oakridge Drive, East Finchley N2 8DE
Cost: Just £5
To purchase click on the Donate button (upper right) marking your payment 'Quiz Night'.  Your tickets will be sent via email within 24 hours. Or send a cheque payable to “Barnet CPZ Action” to 88 Summerlee Avenue, London N2 9QH




Friday, 28 October 2011

BBC Filming

A big thank you to everyone who responded and/or offered their help with our recent request for participants in the recent BBC filming featuring our Campaign. Details of those of you who were available on the dates were given to the researchers and we hope that many of you were contacted.

Filming was carried out on Wednesday and Friday of last week and we all had a very busy and exciting time of it.  We hope the outcome will be fruitful and promote our cause in the best possible way.

The producers will let us know when the programmes are due to be screened which should be approximately mid to the end of November, but when we have firm dates we will let you know.

Many thanks again for your support.

Barnet CPZ Action



Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Quiz Night and Auction

Join us on 12 November for an evening of trivia and fun, 
and help raise much needed money 
to support the ongoing legal action


Tickets cost £5. To purchase tickets, please use the "Donate" button opposite, ensuring you quote Quiz Night in the comments box.  Tickets will be sent to your email address within 24 hours.  Or send a cheque payable to "Barnet CPZ Action" to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Please click here for the auction catalogue.





Please click here for the auction catalogue

Sunday, 9 October 2011

We're in the Sunday Times (9 October)! But rather than address the issue, Barnet choose to lie.

Those of you who read the Sunday Times may have seen a 2 page article in the In Gear section (© The Sunday Times) looking at how councils have been increasing parking charges. The article focuses on Barnet in particular and the case of a family (the Parkers) who had to spend £32 on parking vouchers to hold a party at home for their 3 year old daughter is featured prominently.

Its a great way of illustrating how the charges impact on everyday activities. The only disappointment is that Barnet Council are quoted as saying the following: "We have held down the prices of residents' parking for several years but circumstances dictate that we have to bring them into line with other London boroughs"

Its hard to have a debate with the Council when they resort to this sort of nonsense. The statement that charges in Barnet have been brought "in line with other London boroughs" is simply not true.  Barnet Council must know the facts yet they misinform perhaps 1 million readers in order to save themselves from embarrassment. Barnet Council well know that if the Parkers had held their daughter's party in the adjacent Haringey street, they would have spent  £4.80 on parking, not the £32 they spent in Barnet.

The Mail on Sunday also picked up on the story, highlighting the absurd £32 cost of inviting 8 toddlers to a birthday party.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Barnet CPZ Action Quiz Night and Promises Auction


We're organising a 
Quiz Night and Promises Auction 
to raise money to support the legal action


To be held in November (date to be confirmed) at the East Finchley Constitutional Club, N2



We hope you can join us for a fun evening of trivia, food and drink. 
The Lazy Sally Cafe will be providing some of their great snacks  and you can bid to win some fantastic (and generously donated) prizes in our auction:
  • A week in the beautiful Majorcan village of Fornalutz (pictures coming soon)
  • Tickets for Lords
  • Dinner for 2 at the Bald Faced Stag
  • Portrait photography
  • Hypnotherapy 
  • Garden consultation
  • Tickets to the Phoenix Cinema
Might you also be able to offer a prize our the auction? Dog walking, gardening, sport or theatre tickets you don't need or even use of a holiday home? If so, we'd love to hear from you: barnetcpz@gmail.com   
      
    It will be a great night and, of course, you'll be supporting the legal fight to overturn Barnet council's unfair parking charges for CPZ residents.

    Friday, 23 September 2011

    How much is each Visitor Voucher? £4? £4.80? Even the Council don't seem to know!

    The numerically challenged folk at Barnet Council mess up again!

    You may remember that back in March Barnet Council wasted taxpayers' money advertising incorrect parking permit charges in the local press. To comply with the law, they had to re-advertise using the correct charges after we pointed out their mistake. This resulted in the introduction of the new charges being delayed by a month, giving hundreds of people the chance to renew their permits at the old rates.

    Now we learn that Barnet Council is informing residents who try to buy visitor vouchers online that they cost £48 for 10 vouchers (Current application form is on this webpage). So that's £4.80 each. The law is crystal clear that Barnet can only charge £4 per voucher because this is the price stated in the statutory Notice that brought in the increase.  

    Is this just another example of Council incompetence and only a mistake on the form? Or has the Council actually charged anyone £4.80 for a voucher of £48 for 10? If so, its a very serious matter as this would be unlawful. If  you have been charged this, please let us know.

    Now Barnet, repeat after me: One times four is four; two times four is.....

    UPDATE

    A resident has just forwarded the following email exchange with the Council. Unbelievably, the Council are not able to say how much residents are being charged for parking vouchers!


    Date: 23 September 2011 11:20:37 GMT+01:00
    To: <>
    Subject: RE: FW: Parking Costs


    Dear XXXXX
    Thank you for your email dated 20/09/2011 passed to this team for a response. We write to inform you that due to the nature of the investigation that is being undertaken, it is not possible to provide a full response at this time.
    We anticipate completing the investigation and issuing a full response within 5 to 10 working days, however, if this is not possible, we will keep you informed of the progress of the investigation.
    We would like to thank you for your patience whilst we attempt to resolve this matter.
    We hope this letter has been of some assistance to you.

    Yours sincerely
    Parking Quality and Customer Service
    London Borough of Barnet Council
    Planning, Environment & Regeneration
    North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South London N11 1NP


    Original Text
    From:Parking@barnet.gov.uk
    To:First.Contact@barnet.gov.uk
    CC:
    Sent:20.09.11 14:51:46
    Subject:FW: Parking Costs



    -----Original Message-----
    From: XXXX
    Sent: 19 September 2011 20:26
    To: Parking
    Subject: Parking Costs

    Where can I find correct information about residents parking permit
    increased costs that came into effect this year. I do not have any
    correspondence from the council, nor have I seen any official paperwork
    on this matter.

    I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.


    XXXXXXX

      

    Saturday, 13 August 2011

    Barnet CPZ Action Update - Saturday 13 August 2011

    Legal Proceedings


    The legal action continues to progress, albeit slowly. The latest news is that Barnet Council have now submitted in their response to the claim.  It contains no surprises, although it does contain one new (or rather modified) argument.  Barnet have consistently pointed out that the profitability of the parking service has in recent years declined.  However, one thing that they seem reluctant to admit to is that in the last year (2010-2011), the profitability is forecast to increase substantially NB:  this is before the new charges came into force).  So, Barnet have raised a new argument to get around this inconvenient fact: according to Barnet, it's not that parking revenue is now declining, it's that the cost of highway repairs (and other services that are subsidised with parking money) are getting more expensive.  Barnet says that the cost of these other services has increased from £12.6 to £13.6 million and that this justifies raising CPZ charges to raise an additional £1.4 million.  But, whereas the increase in the cost other services is around 8%, the CPZ increases are up to 300%.  The simple truth is inescapable:  a bigger slice than ever before of the cost of road repairs is being paid for by CPZ residents.      

    Barnet agrees that what we are arguing over is whether it is lawful for a Council to use its powers to set parking charges under the Road Traffic Regulation Act in order to raise money to pay for concessionary fares and road repairs.  Barnet says that because the Act lets them spend any parking surplus on concessionary fares and road repairs, it can hike parking charges which are already generating a big surplus in order to have more money to spend on those Borough-wide services.

    We say that this is not lawful and that increased parking charges must be justified by a genuine parking related need.  For example, an increase in the charges at a car park might be warranted if it is often full with cars queueing up to get in.  If that then leads to a profit being generated, you can use that money to fill potholes elsewhere in the borough.  But you can't raise charges on a half empty car park because there are potholes that need filling.  That must be paid for by the Council Tax.
                
    It sounds like a simple legal point but it is being hotly disputed and Barnet are fielding on the leading public law QCs in the country, James Goudie QC.  Its great news therefore than another leading QC, Martin Westgate QC, is acting for David Attfield on a "no win, no fee" basis.

    Although David now has solicitors and barristers acting for him under "no win, no fee" agreements, there is still a huge amount to do in terms of fundraising if there is to be sufficient money available to meet Barnet's legal costs should he lose.  If you haven't yet done so, please donate what you can either online through our website or by sending a cheque payable to Barnet CPZ Action.  If you have made a donation, please consider whether you can give some more.   

    Another CPZ legal challenge

    You may have heard that Barnet recently succeeded in defending another legal challenge to the CPZ increases.  That challenge was brought by an individual without the benefit of legal advice. Unfortunately, he failed to make the key point that according to the relevant cases, a hike in parking charges must be justified by a parking related need.

    What Mike Freer MP won't tell you

    A number of our supporters have received letters from Mike Freer MP about the CPZ charges.  In this letter, he tries to reassure his constituents that the new charges are not too bad after all (though he does state that he considers the visitor voucher increase on top of the resident's permit increase to be "too much").

    First, Mr Freer confirms that the parking service was in profit before the increases but claims that the surplus "was on a downward trend".  He supports this by highlighting an extract from the Council's 2009-2010 budget.  But this information is out of date.  Barnet Council's current budget (2011-2012) which is on the Council's website shows that the profitability of the parking service is expected to leap by over 50% when the accounts for 2010-2011 are finalised.  In other words, the downward trend had been reversed even before the increases.

    Mr Freer also points out that the owner of a 1.6 litre petrol Ford Focus pays more for a permit in Westminster and Camden and pays the same in Brent as in Barnet.  But he's comparing apples and pears because all three of those local authorities base the cost of a permit on a vehicle's emissions/engine size whereas Barnet charges a flat rate whatever car you have.  Substitute a car with lower emissions (a Ford Focus 1.6 Diesel for example) and Barnet is more expensive that Camden or Brent.    

    In any event, Mr Freer's data is already out of date.  The latest 1.6 petrol Ford Focus is more economical than its predecessor meaning that, using Mr Freer's examples, two of the three boroughs are cheaper than Barnet.

    Mr Freer then looks at the cost of visitor vouchers and assesses the cost of visitor parking in Barnet with Mayfair of all places.  Yes, that's how hard Mr Freer had to look in order to find somewhere in London which is more expensive than Barnet!

    Materials:
    David Attfield's claim
    Barnet Council's response


    Sunday, 3 July 2011

    Barnet CPZ Action Update

    We've great news to report! 


    • A leading QC (Martin Westgate QC) has agreed to represent David Attfield in the legal action on a "no win, no fee"basis.  This means that Martin will only be paid if we win the court case. 
    • A firm of specialist solicitors (Anthony Gold Solicitors) has also agreed to act in the case on a "no win, no fee" basis.
    • The means that David Attfield has managed to secure first rate legal representation at no cost to him or the campaign because, if David wins, the fees of the QC and the solicitors will be paid by Barnet. 
    • This is a huge boost because funding the litigation was our biggest challenge. Whilst much fundraising still needs to be done (to ensure we can pay Barnet's legal costs should David lose the court case), we are confident that we will now be able to pursue the case all the way to trial. 
    • David Attfield
    • We are still at a very early stage in the legal action and it will be several months at least before the case comes to trial. We will continue to update you as the case develops.  

    Monday, 20 June 2011

    Barnet CPZ Action Update

    • Thank you to everyone who visited our stalls at the East Finchley and the High Barnet Festivals on Sunday. We met dozens of supporters new and old and raised over £300 towards the campaign.


    • The legal proceedings are in a quiet phase at the moment. We are finalising arrangements for a firm of solicitors to take over the running of the case on a "no win, no fee" basis. 

    • As a fall back, we have arranged a Court hearing on 15 July at which we will apply again for a financial cap to be placed on Barnet's legal costs.

      Tuesday, 7 June 2011

      Legal Proceedings Update

      A big "thank you" to the 100 people who crowded into the New Local Cafe on 2 June to show their support for the campaign.  It was particularly good to see so many parts of the borough represented.

      Legal Proceedings Update:
      • Our barrister (Lindsay Johnson of Doughty Street Chambers) has looked again at the case, particularly in light of Barnet's response setting out how they will defend the claim.  He has reconfirmed his advice that we have a strong case: 
      "I remain of the view that the challenge has prospects in the region of 65-75%.
      In light of the stance taken by Barnet, I would have thought that the prospects are
      in the upper end of this range"   

      • We also have offers from a number of firms of solicitors willing to act for David Attfield on a "no win, no fee" basis. Lindsay Johnson has also said he would represent David at the trial on a "no win, no fee" basis.
      • However, this still leaves the problem of how David is to pay Barnet's costs if he loses. Barnet have now stated that their costs are likely to be around £50,000, an extra-ordinary amount of money for a staight forward judicial review action which largely turns on a single point of law . The Public Law Project suggest that is should be possible for Barnet to defend the claim for no more than £20,000.     
      • David Attfield
        We are continuing to explore how to protect David Attfield financially should we lose the case. We will also be appealing against the Court's ruling not to set a limit to David's exposure. 
      • In the meantime, please tell the Council, your local councillors and your MP what you think of the CPZ increases. You may know that the council has a new Leader, Councillor Richard Cornelius. He needs to know what the increases mean for you and your family: cllr.r.cornelius@barnet.gov.uk

      A WORD OF WARNING

      A number of  supporters have received incorrect information telling them that the parking service was running at a loss and that CPZs were being subsidised by the council tax. The Council has refused to say who was responsible for this information.

      The information is UNTRUE. Barnet's accounts show that Parking has generated multi-million pound surpluses year in, year out for the Council. Indeed, for the past financial year, the Council has forecast a profit from Parking of well over £4 million. Even before the increases, CPZ residents were contributing  handsomely to road maintenance and other transport services across the borough. 

      In the Court case, Barnet have even admitted that Parking was in profit to the tune of millions of pounds. So Barnet are happy for residents to be mislead, but even they won't mislead the Court.

      Sunday, 29 May 2011

      Invitation to Public Meeting: Thursday 2 June

      Barnet CPZ Action
      Newsletter No. 6
      31 May 2011

      As you may know, as part of our legal case we had asked the Court to set a cap on the amount of costs that David Attfield would have to pay to Barnet Council should the legal action fail.

      Sadly, we heard on Friday that the Court has declined to set a limit to David’s financial exposure.  We also now know that Barnet have retained one of the country’s leading QCs, James Goudie QC, to defend the claim.  

      We are therefore at a critical stage of the legal action and are exploring a number of ideas for how the action can be continued. We want to share these with you and also seek your views. It’s vital that whatever we do, we have your support.

      We are holding a public meeting to discuss the way forward. If you care about CPZ residents (who make up only 10% of the Borough) paying the highest parking charges of any comparable borough, please come!


      URGENT PUBLIC MEETING
      The New Local Café
      42 High Road, N2 9PJ
      Thursday 2 June at 8pm
        
      Barnet CPZ Action

      Wednesday, 11 May 2011

      Get Barnet to sit up and take notice! Write to your MP about Barnet CPZ charges

      Please write to your Member of Parliament and ask them to call on Barnet to reduce the cost of residents' parking permits and visitor vouchers.

      The more letters they get the more likely they are to take up your complaint with the council - so please send your MP a letter or email as soon as you can.

      Writing to your MP is a great way to let them know about how the parking charge increases are affecting you and your neighbours.

      MPs always reply to letters from constituents and we would be really interested to see what they say!

      If you are happy to copy your MP's reply to us, please send it to Barnet CPZ Action at: BarnetCPZ@gmail.com or by post to:

      The letter below can be used by copying it into an email, or you can copy it into a letter for posting.   Even better, write your own email or letter saying how you are affected or giving your views on the parking charges. Please make sure you include a request for the MP to ask the council to reduce the charges.

      The key requests to make to your MP are that they:

      * state they oppose the increases,
      * work with the council to reduce the charges so that they
      * are more in line with other boroughs
      *ask Barnet to give an explanation for why the increases are necessary and why the charges are so high.

      CLICK HERE TO GET THE FULL LETTER


      Sunday, 8 May 2011

      Barnet Council finally respond, and the gloves come off

      Update on the Legal Action

      If you've been following our campaign, you will know that we have applied to the Court to set a cap on David Attfield's exposure to Barnet's legal costs in the event he loses. Barnet have finally put in their response to this application. Not surprisingly, they oppose there being any cap on their legal costs. In summary, Barnet's response is as follows (you may think some of their points to be a bit cheap):

      1. The case only concerns "a limited number of residents of the Borough of Barnet" and, therefore, is not a case of broad importance. [We of course disagree. In any event, the case concerns everyone in Barnet: i.e it concerns the 90% of residents who are being subsidised and not just the 10% who are doing the subsidising]
         
      2. David is simply opposed to the "extent of spending cuts in Barnet" and his claim is "purely political". His remedy should be the ballot box and not the court.

      3. David's case "is solely based on his desire to avoid incurring extra financial expense to park outside his home".        

      4. Barnet Council have instructed one of the country's leading QCs, James Goudie, despite the fact that they know that David will largely be conducting the action himself.

      The court may now take a few weeks to decide whether to cap Banet's costs and, if so, at what level.   It is vital that we then have a big enough fighting fund to carry on with the action. Please, if you support our action, donate what you can now. You can use the Paypal link or send a cheque made payable to Barnet CPZ Action to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    

      Tuesday, 19 April 2011

      Barnet CPZ Action issues statement over council's false parking charge claim

      Nick Walkley
      Chief Executive
      L B Barnet
      North London Business Park
      Oakleigh Road South
      London N11 1NP
      Monday 18 April 2011
      Dear Mr Walkley

      We were concerned to hear on the ITV London Tonight news (15 April) a statement in the name of Barnet Council saying that the increases in parking charges coming into force today are: "in line with other London boroughs".

      This statement is false and we would like to ask you formally to ensure that any statements issued by the council are consistent with the facts. It is dishonest for the council to mislead residents by trying to justify the increases in parking charges with false statements.

      The statement that Barnet's parking charges are 'in line' with other London boroughs is false whichever way you interpret. the facts. The percentage increase is higher than any other borough. The actual charges are higher than any outer London borough and any borough operating a flat-rate residents permit scheme. They are also higher than for most permits in the inner London boroughs, which offer graduated schemes based on environmental impact.

      For instance even in Westminster, residents permits for cars with engines below 1200c are £83 compared with £100 in Barnet.  Residents permits for smaller engine cars are more expensive in Barnet than in Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Camden and Islington.

      These councils operate price bands designed to influence the use of higher polluting vehicles, so that a Bentley is charged more than a Mini - Barnet is certainly not 'in line' with them and charges gas guzzlers the same as low emission vehicles.

      We are formally asking you to arrange for a public statement to be issued by the council that confirms that the increases and parking permit charges in Barnet are not 'in line' with other London boroughs, and that gives the council's reasons for the increases being imposed today.  No proper explanation has been given to residents so far.

      A price comparison chart showing parking charges in various London Boroughs can be viewed here.

      Yours sincerely,
      Philippa Worke Debbie Linron, Diane Johnson Ana Sanchez-Martin, Chris Price,
      Peter Cox, Nigel Linton, Ray Bussell, Gez Sagar, David Attfield.