Residents in Labour-run Hammersmith & Fulham are being failed by serial incompetence when it comes to parking services, with a possible £23 million of lost parking revenue at risk.
The Council has introduced a series of changes which, added together, have led to chaos across the borough for residents and visitors alike. For example:
- Existing parking meters don’t take the “new” £1 coin, only the old one.
- New parking meters have been introduced to operate alongside and in tandem with the old ones. Unfortunately, the new machines don’t take the old pound coins; the old machines don’t take the new ones, leading to chaos all round.
- A Black Market in old £1 coins has arisen. They reportedly change hands at 4 for £5 at the North End Road market.
- Elderly visitors to the Borough – particularly those providing grandparent childcare – have hoarded old £1 coins, rather than pay electronically.
- The Council has been reduced to tweeting out advice to parkers on which specific location parking meters take the new £1 coins, and which take the old ones.
- Council parking signs showing the location of the nearest parking meter are now wrong in many places, leading the Council open to losing parking appeals.
- The Council has bizarrely announced the phasing out of electronic resident parking permits, in favour of a return to paper permits.
By their own admission, Labour H&F Council have been "working on it" since August 2017. Six months later and local residents are still at a disadvantage.
Even though the new £1 coin was announced in the 2014 March Budget and then came into circulation three years later in March 2017, some Hammersmith & Fulham parking meters still cannot accept the so-called new coin. While the "new" £1 coin is hardly new, according to a sign put up by the Council Labour H&F are expecting motorists to continue using old £1 coins, which ceased to be legal tender at midnight on 15 October 2017.
Labour H&F are asking residents to use coins that ceased to be legal tender last year.
One of the more ludicrous outcomes of Labour H&F's parking chaos is that a parallel system of parking machines now exists, where old machines don't take the so-called new £1 coin, and new machines don't take the old one.
New and old, side by side. Contradictory and mutually unhelpful.
What's more, current signs pointing the way to the nearest parking meter may now be pointing residents in the wrong direction, following the removal of old parking meters.
Among those suffering from Labour H&F's incompetence are patients and staff at The Fulham Dentist on Dawes Road, as well as Fulham Cricket Club, whose coaches have received more than £2000 in fines.
Indeed, things have got so bad that the Council has even had to tweet guidance to people visiting local hospitals to tell them which machines take which type of coin.
In exasperation, local residents including long-standing Conservative Councillor, Nick Botterill, have expressed the belief that if local residents are getting parking tickets as a result of the Labour Council's incompetence then they might be expected to be able to challenge them successfully.
Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, as Labour H&F's parking services failures have already cost some local organisations dearly.
In a further sign of incompetence, and in a technologically retrograde move, Labour H&F Council has withdrawn electronic parking permits to return to paper ones.
What's more, in a turn of events better suited to an old Ealing comedy rather than to a flagship London borough, the Labour Council's incompetence seems to have given rise to a black market in old £1 coins.
Commenting on this parking chaos and a series of compound incompetence from Labour H&F Council, local MP Greg Hands asked: "Is there any other Council in Britain that is replacing electronic permits with paper ones, while having parking machines that take only old £1 coins? Is there any other Council that has to tweet the location of machines that actually take new £1 coins for people visiting hospitals, as a result of their own parking signs that point the wrong way? This is serial Labour incompetence!
"Hammersmith & Fulham had the fourth highest surplus from parking services last year, but with a possible £23 million in lost parking revenue, it is local council tax payers who would be expected to foot the bill for H&F's incompetence! What more would you expect from a Labour council? Instead of carrying out due diligence and preparing to deal with new coins announced almost four years ago, Labour H&F have descended into a parking farce."
If you have been disadvantaged as a result of Labour H&F's parking incompetence, please contact your local MP Greg Hands at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7219 5448.