The Ryde Business Association (RBA) has written to Isle of Wight council putting them “on formal notice” that the RBA will “immediately seek” to purse legal action if the Isle of Wight council bring in the proposed changes in car parking charges around the Island.
They also say they will “seek a review of the council’s constitution” and explore “by what means we can request/demand the removal of Councillors deemed unfit by the public to hold their elected posts, as well as the removal of council officers whom have been remiss in their actions”.
The RBA believes those officers are “forgetting their job is to best serve the public for which they receive a wage from the public purse”.
Wide-spread concerns over parking
Concerns have been widely expressed from many quarters about the suggested increase in parking charges; the longer chargeable parking hours in some areas until 8pm; and the removal of most free parking across the Island, since the Council first floated the idea.
The threat of the Judicial Review is based on the legal advice provided to the RBA that the council’s desire to gain more income from parking charges than the council spends on running and staffing their car parking operations, is contrary to the law.
Loss of rates feared
The RBA also voiced concerns at possible future lost income from rates currently paid by small local shops for the council, if, as the RBA fears, parking charges are imposed, shoppers will take their cars and trade to out of town shops. With reduced trade, those local shops could go out of business, so stop paying their rates.
The letter in full
We write further to the Council’s forthcoming decision to extend the current hours of charging for parking in all areas of the Island from 6.00 pm to 8.00pm and other novel parking measures.
As we are sure you are aware following the decision in Attfield, R (on the application of) v London Borough of Barnet  EWHC 2089, local council’s cannot draw revenue from parking charges/fines to use for anything other than running the parking schemes themselves. To do otherwise would be unlawful and contravene the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
If the Council is not implementing these measures to swell its coffers, then we must assume that there is a need for these new parking charges to be put in place. Would the Council be so kind as to explain why it is felt that parking at these times in certain areas is problematic. If there is no such evidence then the imposition of these parking restrictions would be unreasonable.
We understand that 4 parking wardens are to be made redundant. We therefore assume that these extra parking enforcement duties would be undertaken by remaining staff on an overtime basis. Moreover, the council also seem to have completely overlooked the knock on effect of implementing these measures on the revenue it obtains from its non-domestic rates.
Increased parking charges/extended times are likely to lead to consumers avoiding the towns in favour of ‘free out of town’ parking venues and businesses. This in turn could lead to the closure of local businesses due to the down turn in custom, which would in turn lead to empty shops, especially buildings that are without a mortgage or loan attached.
Buildings which are ‘listed’ would pay no rates. The owners of unlisted buildings would have the option of either renting to charitable organisations (charities, I understand pay no business rates) or removing sufficient internal fittings/fixtures in order to have the building de-rated, thus no rates are payable. These actions would cause a considerable loss of revenue to the local authority.
In the absence of evidence to the contrary the proposed parking charges are unnecessary and potentially damaging to the local economy. We therefore wish to put the Council on formal notice that should it make the decision to implement these new charges we will immediately seek judicial review of said decision and at the very first opportunity request an interim injunction to put the charges on hold pending the outcome of the judicial review. We would also seek a review of the councils constitution and by what means we can request/demand the removal of councillors deemed unfit by the public to hold their elected posts as well as the removal of council officers whom have been remiss in their actions, forgetting their job is to best serve the public for which they receive a wage from the public purse. It would do them all well to remember they are civil servants, the clue is in the title!
We look forward to hearing from you in respect of how you intend to proceed with these new measures.
Ryde Business Association