Barnet Council are to increase Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) charges from 18th April this year. A residents’ car permit would increase from £40 per year to £100 (for the first car). Visitors’ vouchers would increase from £1 each to £4 each. The impact of the proposed visitor voucher charges will be particularly harsh on CPZ residents in East Finchley with all day restrictions. For example, a daily child-minder or carer alone will amount to over £1000 in visitors voucher charges per annum.
The aim of the new charges is to increase revenue from CPZ residents to help pay for road maintenance across the borough of Barnet. As most people in Barnet do not live in CPZs, this means East Finchley CPZ residents are being targeted to fund road repairs across the borough.
Despite strong local opposition to the charges at the Barnet Council Cabinet Meeting on 14th February, the charges were approved by the committee. Subsequently the story received media attention, including BBC London Regional news and various newspapers and radio shows. As a result, residents havey formed a new committee, the Barnet CPZ Action Group.
The first public meeting was held on 9th March and got off to a flying start with approximately 60 residents attending. Over £2000 was raised to start the legal proceedings and everyone offered either their expertise and support take the legal action forward. David Attfield, a solicitorm is acting as Chairman and said; “we have tried all other avenues and have been left with no alternative other than to legally challenge the new charges in the High Court. We have sought independent advice from a barrister and believe we have a good case to apply for Judicial Review”.
Treasurer Nigel Linton also explained; “the increases in charges are driven by the need to raise revenue and not by the need to regulate parking. This is not what CPZs have been established for and we have the evidence and the law to prove this”.
Local resident Philippa Worke adds; “if these new charges are approved it will set a very bad precedent for CPZ residents all over the country. We have a race against time now”.
The Barnet CPZ Action Group are fundraising with some urgency given that the court rules mean that, by the time you read this, the claim will have had to be issued. In total £15,000 needs to be raised if there is to be a good chance of successfully taking this case through to trial. The action group are calling on all residents who are affected, and those who see that this should be fought on principle, to give generously or to act as fundraiser along their road.
If the case is a success the action group expect to return the bulk of money donated. Cheques made payable to ‘Barnet CPZ Action’ can be sent to 88 Summerlee Avenue, East Finchley, London N2 9QH.