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.

Saturday 22 June 2013


Tomorrow, Sunday, the East Finchley Festival will be held in Cherry Tree Woods, opposite East Finchley underground station.

Weather permitting, this promises to be a great family and community event.  The festival has been running for many years and has two performance stages, one at each end of the park, with various acts and live music going on all afternoon.  There are plenty of attractions for children and stalls serving delicious food from around the world and, most importantly for some, there is the "drinks tent"!

The BARNET CPZ ACTION team will be together with our own stall for the last time before our Court day on 2nd July, so do come along and meet us (in case you haven't already) and join in the fun.  There is likely to be a film crew there who are documenting the parking problems generally, so we want to show we are a force to be reckoned with!

We would especially welcome any of our supporters to come along and give us a hand for an hour or so on the stall.  Any help would be very much appreciated, so let us know if you can come and give a hand with our games and lucky dip.

You can find out more about the East Finchley Festival on their Facebook page.

Please note that the Northern Line has planned engineering works in operation, but replacement buses are available.

We hope you can come along.

Thursday 13 June 2013

The Final Push - New Leaflet

We are currently in the process of urgently distributing our new leaflet, reminding people of the trial on 2nd July and making a final appeal for funds.   Barnet CPZs cover a huge area, so in case we don't get to you or your neighbours here's a copy which you may want to print and stick in your window, forward to your Neighbourhood Watch Officer,  Community Group or anyone you know living within a controlled parking zone.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

BBC 1 Documentary Makers Want To Hear From You

The campaign to overturn Barnet's unfair CPZ parking charges will feature prominently in a documentary TV programme being made for BBC 1 about parking.   The programme makers will follow the campaign in its final stages up to the trial of the legal action on 2nd July and want to hear of the experiences and views of Barnet residents.  

They are urgently looking for a number of contributors to appear in the programme.  Perhaps you could explain how you and your family have been affected by the charges?  Or how you have campaigned against them?  The programme is being made over the course of the next few weeks and the makers will be able to meet you at a time and place convenient for you. 

If you might like to appear in the programme, please email us at for more information. 

Sunday 2 June 2013

What We Have Achieved So Far.

The Barnet CPZ Action group has been quite quiet over the past months while we wait for next month's court hearing, so we thought we'd remind you of some of the things we have achieved:

1. It took a long time, but, back in the autumn, the Council made an important concession when they introduced half day visitor vouchers.  Priced at £2.20 each, they are still expensive - some residents in neighboring boroughs pay as little as 60p for visitor parking.  But £2.20 is a lot better that £4.16.  For residents living in zones with 1 hour restrictions, the cost of visitor parking has been nearly halved.

2. The council has also not implemented some additional CPZ increases put forwarded by Councillor Brian Coleman before he lost his cabinet position on the council.  Councillor Coleman wanted to make CPZ residents pay £20 when they changed their car as well as wanting to charge for temporary parking dispensations when, for example, a resident uses a courtesy car for a few days.  Following Brian Coleman's emphatic defeat at the London Assembly elections, the Council realised that these unfair policies risked bringing the council into the disrepute.

3. Anger over Brain Coleman's damaging parking policies (remember he also hiked parking charges on the High Street and removed "pay and display" machines) were a major factor behind his London Assembly defeat.

4. We learnt that the CPZ charges the council introduced were far higher than those recommended by its own consultants who the council had appointed to advise on this very question.

5. Did Barnet Council think that, because CPZs are spread out across disparate parts of the borough, there wouldn't be any effective opposition to the charges?  If so, they were wrong.  Our campaign has united CPZ residents, and many non-CPZ residents, from all corners of the borough.

6. The campaign has featured on national and local TV and radio and in the national and local press. We've helped raise awareness of the problems CPZ residents face through being a captive market.  

7. We've assembled a quality legal team to take the case forward under "no-win, no fee" agreements, reflecting their confidence in the case.  Thanks to a supporter who obtained internal council papers under the Freedom of Information Act, we also learnt that the council are confident WE will win. Council papers record  a Barnet CPZ Action victory at court to be "likely".