Council could face legal action over car parking increases

If the proposed changes to parking charges go ahead, legal action, as well the possible removal of Councillors and Officers, will be explored say Ryde Business Association (RBA)

Parking in Union Street Ryde

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

Dear Sirs

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 [2013] 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.

Yours faithfully

Ryde Business Association

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below must comply with the Commenting 'House Rules' and are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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56 Comments on "Council could face legal action over car parking increases"

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Cllr Chris Whitehouse (Newport West)
Well done to Ryde Business Association for standing up for the rights of Island businesses and residents. Cllr Steve Stubbings was determined to force through these charges at the budget setting meeting of the Isle of Wight council. Indeed, when Conservatives asked the Council Leader to think again he personally intervened to argue that there should be no more concessions to the opposition groups. Instead, Stubbings should… Read more »
Mark Nagle
Congratulations To who I have been quoting this and more to the council since day one…!!!!!!!!!and try this little taster.. In the context of the 1984 Act, the High Court has stated that the purpose of the Act is: “the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of traffic and the provision of suitable and adequate parking facilities on and off the highway” (R v London Borough of Camden… Read more »
political balls
Cllr Whitehouse – some questions for you. Would the current administration have had to increase council tax and parking charges by this amount if the previous tory administration had not kept these charges artificially low in an attempt to gain votes? Also, would this administration need to make these charge increases if a coalition governement dominated by the tory party had not slashed council spending, resulting in… Read more »
tryme

Just want to register that this is a post by PB I thoroughly enjoyed, and had a laugh at the last line!

Steve Goodman
CW; More stone throwing by glass house residents will not help to resolve this. Heck, we got used to the Conservative style of hypocrisy & disgraceful behavior alright! After last year’s election many of us welcomed the signs at County Hall of openness & co-operation for the common good in these difficult times; sad to see the subsequent deterioration, & sad that Conservative hypocrisy seems to be… Read more »
steve s

Cllr Whitehouse,
I can only assume that you had just returned from a session down at your Kennington local when you wrote this.
Did you mistake OTW for your twitter account?

political balls

Cllr Stubbings, why dont you leave the political sniping to the tories and get on with doing all the things you have to do?

Albert Street

Mr Stubbings can not help himself. Do remember that he is deputy leader of the council. What will he be like if he ever became leader?

I.Reader

Was anything like that ever said before Pugh became leader?

There are more important things to be getting on with; please stop the sniping everybody.

tryme

You see an opportunity presented to snipe at an Indie and grab it, Albert Street! I find Cllr Stubbings’ lighthearted and brief comments entertaining, and hardly commensurate with CW’s usual over- the-top rants. He is entitled to a bit of light banter before going off to work!

Cynic
The Conservative Party (like all politicians) are prone to tell lies. Recently it claimed it had not increased parking charges for six years- it did raise the charges in 2010 by delegated decision. The recent election leaflet claimed the Tories had reduced the UK EU contribution “for the first time ever”= untrue Thatcher did so in the early 80. … and then there are the closet Tories,… Read more »
steephilljack

Cllr. Whitehouse fails to mention that a consultation on these proposals is open until 6th June, so we all get a chance to have our say.

http://www.iwight.com/Residents/Transport-Parking-and-Streets/Parking-Services/Parking-Services1/Parking-Places-Order-No-1-2014-public-consultation

Stamper

Why did Cllr Jordan vote in favour of the parking charges, but was personally against them enough to go on public protest walk?

Cue the Island Independent’s whip!

Carrie

Just a thought, but perhaps Phil Jordan went on the walk in order to speak to people who are upset about the parking charges. It doesn’t necessarily mean he opposes the changes.

phil jordan
stamper: Thanks for the question…. I went to speak with the residents of my Ward who had asked to speak with me at this event. I took no part in any “protest” but walked quietly alongside my Councillor colleague(s) and residents who wished to speak with me about numbers of issues, not just the parking. We have, for instance, a serious vehicle problem in Ryde High Street… Read more »
Highway to Hell

Can you confirm you voted against the proposed budget?

Mike

The sour smell of hypocrisy from Councillor Whitehouse and his tory friends.Reminds me of an old Chinese friend of mine who said “He who has most to say has most to hide”

MamaLu

Cllr Whitehouse (Con) and Wayne Whittle (Con, Ryde Business Assoc.) both absented themselves from the Council chamber to avoid voting on the budget. Meanwhile the MAJORITY of their Conservative members voted it through.

Hypocrisy. Additionally, in that very same budget meeting the Cons had proposed to raise parking charges!

sallyk

A breath of fresh air, RBA standing up to this profit driven corporation. I look forward to it’s response!

Nitonia
Profit driven corporation? You must have missed any articles about the £28 Million deficit? On the other hand maybe you’re right, perhaps to create more profit they should stop funding care services and schools, shut all the kids playgrounds and for good measure stop emptying the bins. Charges for Appley Car Park? I can understand the frustration but to be honest to leave it as a free… Read more »
Gaz
Political balls – I have a better idea that I have emailed every Iw councillor – allow the first two hours of parking free – controlled by a disc clock ( with an advert on the back so it is cost neutral). This would be ideal for the Islands tourists, residents and businesses. Don’t say it can’t be done as many councils already do this. It is… Read more »
political balls

I like that idea.

The only problem I can see with it is that people will simply move their car every 2 hours to evade charges after that time.

TattyRatty

Why will it be any more difficult than monitoring the use of a clock with a blue badge?

Cynic

Less difficult, I would think, given the number of fake Blue Badges around these days that need checking..

davidwalter
The disc is very common in France, as well. Problem is how long free? e.g. Morrisons Newport used to be free three hours and we bought 90+ of our shopping there and had lunch, visited other Newport shops in that three hours. Now it’s two. I know it’s rotten and unfair of us, but now we use 1hr + in town and get as much as we… Read more »
tryme
Presumably Tory councillor and RBA leader Wayne Whittle had something to do with this letter. Sadly pathetic and cheap of Chris Whitehouse to accuse Phil Jordan of hypocrisy. I am confident PJ will give us a good explanation, likely being that he was seeking discussion with people who feel strongly about parking. As for Steve Stubbings, he has pointed out that this is a period of REAL… Read more »
Judge Judy

Wayne Whittle is not the leader of the RBA.

tryme

He is “Vice-Chairman of Ryde Business Association” according to the Isle of Wight Conservatives website 2014, (“promoted by Alan Wells”, no less). I think this makes him an RBA leader.

RJC
They will not get anywhere with court action. The money raised will not be profit, it will be said to be used to help to pay for the bus pass scheme. Therefore it can be said that it is helping to ease congestion, by keeping a lot of vehicles off of the road and freeing up parking spaces. But I like the bit about the removal of… Read more »
Michael G

It’s interesting that Steve Stubbings comes on here to have a swipe at Chris Whitehouse, but does not respond to the contents of the article.

Come on Steve, tell us your view. Why are the Independents seeking to increase parking revenue when there is already a surplus in that area (knowing you can’t spend that income on other services).

steve s

Michael,
I’m waiting for the end of the consultation period, as is appropriate.
I’ll be happy to share my views as soon as I have had the opportunity to take into account the responses received.

I commented on Cllr Whitehouse’s post because he chose to label me a hypocrite (as he has done elsewhere on this site) in his unwisely immoderate opening salvo.

davidwalter

Guys, heads-up. How do you think the ordinary (politically-neutral) Island man or woman feels after reading all the political back-stubbing, cat-fighting, egg-throwing, insult-hurling stuff in these comments?

a) I’m so proud of our local (political) government
b) [I’ll leave you to fill in b)]

Cynic

Options for b) ?

* politicians are living up to my poor expectations
* I am fed up of politicians
* I can’t be @rsed to either vote or respond to this question (Most likely response?)

Robbo

Let’s not forget that these parking charges were part of a Budget package for 2014/15 agree by 30 of the 40 Isle of Wight Councillors, including – Councillors Eccles, Gauntlett, Hutchinson, Nicholson, Price, Seely and Stewart. All members of Chris Whitehouse’s Conservative group – though he had left the Budget meeting by the time the voting took place, leaving the residents of Newport West unrepresented.

Highway to Hell

I think Cllr. ‘Walkout’ Whitehouse would prefer if we gelled over the bit where he left prior to the vote….
Means it’s easier for him to rant on about unfair budgets via Twitter / OTW

Nitonia
Is the Minister for Totland East ignoring the fact they also proposed increases in parking charges? Also, most of them voted for the budget including their illustrious leader who now claims that the independents are running scared. A bit of advice for the Tory shambles on the IW. Carefully look at what you have previously said before spouting out a load of pious rhetoric. It will save… Read more »
Colin

Well done to Ryde Business Association. This is exactly the challenge that is needed.

The council havn’t a leg to stand on as regards the Barnet court case. The case has many similarities and even Barnet council has conceeded some points.

Google “Barnet parking court” and the docs will all come up.

As for cllr; may I refer you to the saying that empty vessels make the most noise.

ragafeeling
welldone to RBA for taking this up – parking should be for the benefit of everyone not a money maker to pay the salaries of highly paid execs who have poor management skills. the IWC has been wasting taxpayers money for years and the culture of waste/greed/excess has to stop. The budget shortfall has been on the cards for yers too and anyone could see this coming.… Read more »
Cllr Chris Whitehouse (Newport West)
Lovely day to wake to a threat of legal action for libel in my inbox from Cllr Steve Stubbings. Grow up Steve, if you cannot stand the heat on OnTheWight, then you have no need to enter the kitchen. And your threat to involve Council Officers in a debate between elected members is pathetic. It would be to squander public resources, diverting them for your own political… Read more »
davimel
As always you are the first to throw your hat into the ring, and to start the “he said, we said” rubbish that infects this site! The matter at hand is NOT who did what and when (your political amnesia knows no bounds) but HOW do we (the plebs to most Tories) get this ridiculous state of affairs sorted out!!! Perhaps if we still had some potential… Read more »
steve s

Cllr Chris Whitehouse (Newport West)’s comment is rated -18
29.May.2014 10:04pm

In fact the underlying issue here is the hypocrisy of Cllrs Stubbings and Jordan who have, frankly, little interest or motivation to help the local residents and have done little to advance the cause of investment in finding a long term solution to this problem. #hypocrisy

Cllr Chris Whitehouse (Newport West)

tryme
I do look for opportunities to agree with CW, (as per tobacco/Carisbrooke Tesco topic), but his posts here are beyond simply ‘shallow’, being ‘mistaken’ or ‘wrong-headed’, and are now veering in the direction of ‘lies’, a word I very rarely use. He is just flinging mud everywhere in the hope some of it sticks. It is clear who is not “grow(n) up”. I daresay he is trying… Read more »
ragafeeling

any public servant who cannot stand up to the kind of banter on a forum such as this and then feel the need to threaten legal action needs to resign immediately. It just goes to show what their priorities are and clearly the interests of voters and council taxpayers come way below anything else.

Cynic

…. also perhaps a sketchy understanding of UK libel law plus the costs and and low success rate usually experienced by claimants?

tryme

If that is the expected level of debate here, raga, bye-bye civilised behaviour and hello to bully boy tactics, (I mean “banter”),and not just OTW.

Cynic

@tryme Don’t get me wrong, I was not supporting CW but merely noting that neither party (i.e. potential Claimant or Defendant) appears to understand the defences to libel law actions available.

tryme
I wasn’t commenting on your post, cynic! All I would say now is that we are given to believe Steve emailed CW privately, and CW has made a public remark here about his take on it, which I have no reason to have confidence in, given his general manner. I don’t expect the full issues to be paraded in front of us here, and I think we… Read more »
Cynic

OK

davimel

But when does ‘banter’ become Trolling? There should always be a modicum of respect in a public forum or the Trolls win,, and who would want that?

davidwalter
The ‘winner’ in this debate (if you can dignify this discussion with the description ‘debate’) will be the person who comes up with one or more ideas that could achieve the twin objectives of keeping parking charges at an appropriate affordable level while letting the budget balance. Here’s one idea: Group the car parks around the Island that can reasonably be called viewpoints and run them under… Read more »
phil jordan
Davidwalter: Interesting ideas….! I attended a meeting this week specifically looking at alternative ways of structuring services for the Authority and which looked at a whole host of systems and structures other Authorities are starting to adopt to address the severe problems we are all facing. One thing we did not look at was Charitable status… can you explain how that might benefit the Authority ? Also… Read more »
davidwalter

phil, yes happy to flesh it out but much of it is outside my field. Let me drop you an email. Did you get mine of yesterday? If so, then I have yours! Might take me a day or so as this is my hen-sitting weekend.

phil jordan

davidwalter:

Sorry david, I do not appear to have received anything from you at all….
phil.jordan@iow.gov.uk is a good address for me….I have a blackberry that picks up this email address continuously…

tryme
Cllr Phil Jordan’s presence at the Appley protest march seems to have been censored in the CP’s report this week! Or inadvertantly left him out, shall we say. I hope County Hall will ask which. Would spoil a good story would it, to show that the Indies get involved and talk with people? I’d say that’s ‘news’, after the lack of engagement of the last administration. Yet… Read more »
Highway to Hell
I was going to watch the Froch vs Groves bout this evening, however it seems we may see a decent fight on here developing: In the red corner, weighing in to any debate, from Newport West, Cllr. Chris “Walkout” Whitehouse…. In the corner with no colour as yet, Steve “Standalone, but in an association” Stubbings… I want a good clean fight in a car park, no back-stabbing,… Read more »
tryme

… in a car park, so not expected to last very long then, H.to Hell? That meter will be ticking!