Friday, 28 June 2013

The Final Countdown and a Final Appeal

The papers are all filed, our arguments have been honed and we are ready to take on Barnet Council in the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand on Tuesday 2 July.

Our case in a nutshell

After two years of legal to-ing and fro-ing, the case has boiled down to on one point arising in one piece of legislation.  Essentially the question is "can a Council deliberately target CPZ residents in order to pay for other transport projects?" 

Our answer is "no!". A parking charge must be set to reflect local parking demand and the cost of administering the parking scheme.  If it happens to make a profit, then that profit can be spent on other projects.  But you can't set charges simply to meet a profit target you have plucked out of the air.  In our case, Barnet found that they had a £1.8 million hole in their budget when they decided at the last minute not to introduce new traffic cameras.  Their answer: Simply hike CPZ charges by whatever amount was needed to fill that gap.

Barnet say that they use parking to raise revenue.  Because a council is allowed to spend parking profits on other  transport projects, Parliament must have intended councils to be able to hike charges deliberately in order to pay for other projects.

The case is likely to have significant repercussions for how parking charges are set in the future since no other council  has been so bold as to argue that parking can be used deliberately as a revenue raiser.

We still need need your donations

A final appeal: we've received hundreds of donations and many thousands of pounds to help ensure that, should the legal action fail, money is available to pay Barnet's  legal costs.  But Barnet have estimated that their costs will be £50,000 and we still have a significant shortfall, leaving David Attfield personally exposed should he lose.

We urge every CPZ resident to make a donation if they can. If David Attfield wins, CPZ households could save hundreds of pounds in future and Barnet have promised to refund people who have paid the inflated charges over the past two years.  Please, make a donation now.

To all our supporters and donors, thank you.  We wouldn't have got this far without you.

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