Cllr RABINA KHAN has condemned as “misleading and disingenuous” a consultation which Tower Hamlets Mayor John Bigg has launched on parking in the east of the Borough.
Biggs has made no formal statement about why parking should change in the Bow and Mile End areas (parking zones B1, B2 and B4). The Council consultation claims that there have been “a number of complaints/requests from the local communities” – without giving away whether that “number” is ten or 10,000. It says that the complaints centre around how difficult it is to park outside the controlled hours.
John Biggs’s answer is a “one size fits all” decision to make the controlled hours longer. That will reduce the time in which most complaints are made – so it will reduce the number of complaints – yes?
No. If residents can’t find space to park in the evenings and at weekends, it’s because there’s not enough parking spaces for people who live in the area (not necessarily surprising, given all the development going on). So if you extend the controlled hours, you actually increase the number of complaints – because residents who work during the week can’t park when they come home or over the weekend, and their visitors will find it harder to park over the weekend too.
You would hope that residents would be able to point out to John Biggs that his logic is more appropriate for Homer Simpson than the Mayor of Tower Hamlets – but that’s where Cllr Rabina Khan’s criticism of the consultation process comes in.
•First, the consultation is going out to all residents of the B1, B2 and B4 areas which means:
·residents without cars who have no parking problems have as much say as drivers;
·drivers who don’t live in those areas but regularly visit relatives who do (perhaps to help care for them) have no say. With the Council now charging for Adult Social Care, there will be far more people popping in to support older relatives. If controlled hours are extended they won’t be able to drop in each evening or drop off some shopping at the weekend.
•Second, there is no option on the consultation for residents to opt to keep the current times and charges. The Council has already decided to impose longer controlled hours, making life more inconvenient for residents and upping the charges paid by visitors. Locals feel this is not a consultation – it’s a money making scheme the Council has dreamed up, and by choosing between three slightly different variations, the Council is trying to get the public to endorse the whole approach.
Cllr Rabina Khan believes that the absence of any option on the consultation to keep the current times operating has turned the New Parking Consultation into a farce, in which residents do not have a fair say on what they want.
Cllr Abdul Asad, Chair of PATH Group, who represents Whitechapel ward, said, “The John Biggs Administration is not only incompetent but is one that forgets to consult with residents properly.”
Cllr Rabina Khan, Leader of the PATH Group of Tower Hamlets Councillors, flagged up problems with the consultation when the details were published. She said, “This farce of a consultation is part of a repeated pattern of misleading consultation and statements to Tower Hamlets residents by Mayor John Biggs. The Council Tax reduction scheme is an example, and the Careers Centre Consultation is another. Residents have the right to say whether or not they want to keep current parking times or opt for alternative times. I’ll be raising this in my next face to face meeting with Tower Hamlets Council’s Chief Executive.”