Barnet Council ask for more time to respond to our Claim
It's not often that Barnet Council and Brian Coleman are lost for words but our letter of claim seems to have stumped them.
We submitted our letter of claim on 11 March and Court rules dictate that Barnet Council should have responded by Friday the 25th. On the 28th, however, they wrote asking for more time. We've agreed that they can put in their response on 1 April.
Are Barnet Council using the time well to address our claim properly or, better still, to reconsider their position? Or will we get a repeat of the nonsense we have had to date: that we are paying a small price for the privilege of living in a CPZ?
We will soon find out. But as much as ever, we need to keep the pressure up. Please:
Write to your councillor
Print off and display our campaign poster (download it at the "Important Links" tab.
Tell your friends and neighbours about our campaign.
And donate what you can.
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Thursday, 17 March 2011
Barnet Council forced to postpone CPZ increases
after we expose defect in legal notice
Yesterday we pointed out to Barnet Council that the legal notice they had published to implement the new CPZ charges was defective.
As a result, the Council have acknowledged that planned increases won't be brought into force on 21 March. Instead the Council have to readvertise the notice and then wait another three weeks (taking us to around 14 April).
Its a small victory of course - the real fight is still to come. But in the meantime, residents have a few more weeks to stock up on vouchers or can renew their permit at the old price if it expires on 1 May.
Monday, 14 March 2011
FIGHT THE RISE IN BARNET PARKING CHARGES
Newsletter No 2.
- Counsel has advised we have a strong legal case
- Sufficient money raised to begin the legal process, but we need more
- Take a look at our great campaign poster: http://imapnet.com/barnetcpz/barnet_cpz_flyer.pdf
- Please donate what you can. Cheques made payable to "Barnet CPZ Action" can be sent to 88 Summerlee Avenue, East Finchley, London N2 9QH
The campaign has got off to a flying start. Nearly 70 people turned up for the first meeting on 9th March and by the end of the meeting nearly £3,000 had been donated to the seed fund.
David Attfield explained the legal process and implications with great clarity and Nigel Linton ran through the potential costs. Volunteers came forward to help with fundraising, PR, lobbying, publicity and to provide witness statements for the case.
The case is being brought over a single legal challenge: that the council is not empowered to increase the parking charges for the express aim of raising revenue - which is exactly what they appear to have done.
A barrister who specialises in judicial reviews in the public sector has given his legal opinion on the grounds for the challenge and he rates our chances of success at between 65 and 75%, which means he considers we have a very good case.
Briefly, the process and related financial implications are as follows:
Stage 1: a formal notice of legal action was issued to Barnet on Friday. This gives them two weeks to respond or withdraw their plans.
Stage 2: an application will be made to the court to limit our liability for Barnet’s costs to £10,000. Estimated costs for this process are £2,000 – all of this seed funding was raised at the meeting.
Stage 3: if the court grants that limitation, with our costs estimated at £5,000 a fund of £15,000 will be needed to take our claim to court. The claim must be issued by the end of March– that is in the next two weeks and the bulk of this money needs to have been raised or pledged before proceedings are started to ensure that
David Attfield is completely financially protected.
120 people donating an average of £100 or 1200 donations of £10 is all we need.
Donations can be made by cheque (payable to “Barnet CPZ Action”) and delivered to No 88 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QH. A Paypal account will soon be available on the website: http://barnetcpz.blogspot.com . Please ensure that the cheques have your name and address so that the funds can be re-distributed if we win the case.
Please get in touch if think you can help in any way.
Saturday, 12 March 2011
Countdown to legal action
At a meeting of residents on 9 March, there was unanimous support for bringing legal proceedings to overturn Barnet Council's new CPZ charges (£4 for each visitor voucher!). You can read more about the meeting here:
Barnet Council has therefore now been notifed that our claim will be issued by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, one of our members has found a really helpful report by the RAC Foundation which sets out clearly what Local Authorities can and cannot when setting parking charges. If you want a clear summary of why Barnet's price hikes are unlawful, read this:
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Is this the most damming evidence yet? Please read
As many of you will know, our legal case turns on showing that the CPZ increases are designed merely to raise revenue, which is not permitted under the Road Traffic Regulation Act.
We have quite a lot of evidence (internal Barnet council emails, letters to residents and internal budget papers) which I believe shows clearly that what Barnet is doing is shifting as much of the costs of road maintenance away from rate payers and on to CPZ residents. In this regard, the following is I think quite shocking:
As part of its budget for next year Barnet have published a list of cuts that they will make to services which are funded from the general rates fund. Buried in this is the surprising fact that £1.5 million is to be cut from the Highways Maintenance Budget. The following is noted against this huge cut:" Could damage highways infrastructure if money is not reintroduced into the base budget".
But the good residents of barnet need not worry! The roads will be repaired next year because, turn over the page and, hey presto, £1.81 million magically reappears courtesy of the increased CPZ charges which Barnet say is earmarked for spending on roads.
So Barnet's modus operandi is as follows:
· Create a crisis in the Highways Budget by cutting it savagely, saving ratepayers £1.5m
· Solve the crisis by jacking up charges in CPZs and transferring the surplus to the Highways Budget.
· End result: The roads are repaired and the rates are kept down. It’s a win-win (unless of course you are in the tiny minority who need parking permits)
If you'd like to be sent a copy of the budget documentation which shows all this, please email email@example.com
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
FIGHT THE RISE IN CPZ PARKING CHARGES
Newsletter No 1:- Invitation to legal action meeting on 9 March
The initial campaign against the increased parking charges was well covered in the media and well supported. E.g. http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/
However, we haven’t yet persuaded the council. Contrary to the impression that may have been given on BBC News, the Council cabinet meeting of 24 February was reconvened and the increased charges were approved. They will therefore be in force by 1st April 2011 – only a legal challenge can now stop this.
Our research suggests that we have a strong legal case, so we have instructed a barrister to provide a written legal opinion before we take it further.
We are holding a meeting at 8pm on Wednesday 9th March 2011 in East Finchley by which time we will have that legal opinion. We will present a plan of action and explain the legal process. A committee will be set up to take it forward and we need you to step forward with your skills and energy. We will also need to establish the level of financial support that we have and plan how to raise funding. If you’d like to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. and we will email the venue to you
Please tell anyone in your neighbourhood or in Barnet who would be interested in our campaign. If they send their email address to us we can include them on the mailing list.
We have a real chance to overturn the parking rises – but we need your support!