Parkingstein–Son of Frankenstein

Recently during a periodic social telephone call with friends living in East London, I was able to advise them of a forthcoming visit to London affording me of the opportunity to visit them at the same time. I was quite surprised, in fact taken aback to be informed I needed a permit to visit them. It transpired the local authority where they live have been introducing ever-increasing controlled parking zones throughout their borough faster than the spread of the ash tree disease about to ravage our country.

Being the inquisitive sort of person I am, a quick Google search revealed not only details of this visitors parking permit but what also seemingly gave me, the impression of what in due course, could be the start of a blossoming list of implied liberty curtailing measures.

The list included

  • Resident parking permits
  • Resident access permits
  • Resident visitor parking permits
  • Business parking permits
  • Business access permits
  • Disable resident parking permits
  • School visitor parking permits
  • Carer parking permits
  • Trade parking permits
  • Courtesy vehicle parking permits

It would be fair to say charges did not apply to all these permits with a mixture of either free, permit allowance or charges applied. However, unless I am reading things wrong, this list does seem to imply that permits will be required to drive through given areas let alone additional permits to park there. It does all seem a bit oppressive. Who knows, perhaps cars with even bigger windscreens will be required in future to display all these permits.

I live in a rural area not well catered for by public transport. My village attracts only two buses per week, other villages get none at all. While all the surrounding market towns do have parking charges in central shopping areas, all the large stores and supermarkets provide large toll free car parks for customers. Without private transport the rural economy would simply cease to exist. This is probably one of the reasons I found this list of permits such an anathema. Any local authority attempting to introduce such controls in rural areas know they would be proverbially hung, drawn and quartered by the electorate, irrespective of political colour thus allowing a deeper wisdom on this subject to prevail.

It was not just this one London borough in isolation introducing what I find oppressive parking controls, most of them seem to be at it in one way or another. I cannot but help feeling all these controls are creating a monster in the land of Parkingstein. I lived in London close to a large street market before I moved to Somerset over 20 years ago, where a degree of controlled parking became necessary. It was all introduced on the basis it would be free to residents, however we all now know the in the world of politics, even pledges mean nothing nowadays as most fee paying university students will testify. The free parking outside my old home now attracts an annual fee of £150 to residents with the original promise of a free scheme forgotten somewhere in the mists of time. Once introduced, parking controls inevitably attract fees in time, and once fees are introduced, the only route for them is to increase in price. Up… and up….. and up.

Taxation of vehicles now accounts for about 7% of the national economy with road fund licences and various forms of fuel taxation raising about £36 billion in 2009. Without this vital economic prop, draconian increases in taxation would be needed elsewhere. Many people, particularly in non-metropolitan areas,  do not use public transport as it either does not effectively exist in some parts of the country, it is too expensive, or it simply is inconvenient in meeting peoples travelling requirements. Without private transport much of the country would grind to a halt both physically and economically.

I always have a simple question I put to any politician be they national or local when they start spouting about the curse of the motor car, Why do you keep biting the hand that feeds you? Few politicians ever attempt a reply.

One Response

  1. Hi Mick,

    Where we live in Plymouth they introduced a parking fee of £500 per year lat year with no guaranteed spot to park. And our visitors have to pay £16 a day to stay which is not very fair.


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