Monday, 22 October 2012

The Long Wait

We have important news (both good and bad) about our legal action to overturn last year's unfair CPZ rises.  Also, please see the end of this post for details of an interesting film being premiered tonight (22 October)

The good news is that, after a slow Summer during which Barnet consistently missed Court deadlines for filing their evidence, all evidence has now been served and the Court have given us a date for the final trial.

The bad news is that the trial will not be until the middle of next year - the 2nd of July 2013.  It seems that the Courts are simply swamped at the moment, particularly with housing and immigration cases. With so much urgent work before the Courts, we, unfortunately, simply have to wait our turn.

When our turn does come, we will be confident of success because Barnet have raised no new arguments for why the increases were lawful.  They simply say, as they have said throughout, that they wanted the Parking Service to generate profits of £5 million a year and hiked the CPZ charges for residents by whatever they thought was needed to achieve this.  In setting the CPZ charges at exorbitant levels, Barnet ignored the advice of their consultants, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, who Barnet had asked to review parking charges and who had proposed far smaller rises.  Barnet also rejected an alternative proposal to spread the rises more evenly across Barnet's road users, preferring to saddle the 10% of residents in CPZs with increases of up to 300%.  Raising revenue is unpopular, after all, so why upset more people than necessary when CPZ residents are such easy targets?

During the long wait till the trial, we will keep our website updated and will also report back on what we have achieved so far.

In the meantime, if you are interested in some of the broader issues affecting the borough (in particular the One Barnet outsourcing initiative), you may be interested in a film being premiered tonight at 6pm at the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley.  "Barnet - The Billion Dollar Gamble" is made by film maker Charles Honderick who last year made the thought provoking "A Tale of Two Barnets" which looked, among other things, at the effects of the CPZ rises.

Whatever your views, Charles's new film promises to be powerful and thought provoking stuff.