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!