Monday, September 13, 2010

Fair, equitable, and consistent

The reasons for the October changes in car-parking prices is according to the cabinet about being fair equitable and consistent. So let's ask if that's what is being done.

Now I've already complained that it seems the cabinet is treating every car-park as if they were the same; yet I have to confess documentation suggests otherwise. So we appear to have a quandary - how can you treat disparate items consistently?

Let's say I wish to pop into one of the three major towns in this district; just a flying visit of less than an hour. Depending on which car-park I used this would cost me 30p (Stadium Close), 50p (Comberton Place) 80p (the majority), Free (The Avenue) or for those that don't allow a 1 hour stay £1.10 for two hours.

If it were only half-an-hour it would be free, or 50p.

I'm scratching my head here. Now sure you want to designate some car-parks as very short-term, short-term, medium-term, long-term and very-long term; but why the price difference? If you want to encourage short-term parking in a specific car-park you put up an ½hour rate, an hour rate and a two hour rate. For medium stay you drop the short charge and add a long charge, for a long term you carry on. For multi-stay car-parks you have the range of charges.

So why are they all different. Why do some short-term car-parks not offer the free half hour, why does it cost £2.20 to stay up to 3 hours in Severn Meadows, but only £1.60 at Comberton Place?

Anyone?

17 comments:

Tav said...

Warning: This is all speculation, an unfortunately consequence of the secretiveness and evasiveness of the council.

The ' fair, equitable and consistent ' mantra is a front for a hidden agenda.

First look at this from a Tory councillor point of view. You have been asked (more like whipped) to vote for the Wyre Forest Parking Review regardless of whether this is in the interests of your constituents or not. I was there and saw this happen. This is 'a-tough-pill-to-swallow' for any Tory councillor but especially for Cllr. Michael Salter [Mitton, Conservative], Cllr. John Holden [Mitton, Conservative] and Cllr. Julian Phillips [Bewdley & Arley, Conservative]. Out of these three Tory councillors at least Cllr. Phillips said he was disappointed for his constituents, but still voted for the Wyre Forest Parking Review anyway. Cllr. Salter and Cllr. Holden will most likely go incognito, for that's exactly what they did with the Tesco at Carpets of Worth 'attack on Stourport'.

Next the Tory councillor is asked to repeat the line ' fair, equitable and consistent ' if he is approached by a taxpayer. I was at the Cabinet Meeting, I saw this happen. The thing is, as you have pointed out in this blog, it isn't really equitable and consistent. I'm not sure whether they are following a recommendation from the Audit Commission (has this now gone?) facetiously to the letter or they are appeasing the people who complain that parking is free in Stourport so why should I have to pay in Kidderminster. This selfishness must truly belong only to a very small minority, so why are they perusing this?

My theory therefore is that they are trying to raise revenue to fund the shortcoming in the single site. It’s only speculation because the calculations for the single site are kept hush-hush. Perhaps with foresight, Cllr. Fran Oborski [Offmore & Comberton, Liberal] stated that revenue from parking can only be used for parking and it should be a not-for-profit exercise. To which the boilerplate response from Marcus Hart [Conservative] was 'I have seen no such documentation'. :-)

Neil said...

The section of the ribbon development Act 1935 states that the land was bought "for the provision of parking places for the purpose of relieving or preventing congestion of traffic". Marcus Hart said on the radio last week that he is committed to leaving it as a car park. the conveyance expressly states it can only be a car park. Nice of him then.

Now, we know that after TV gave or sold much land for the town, whether commercially or not, they had this last field outside his and his families homes CPO'd from under him. For a car park to relieve the increasing congestion of the town as it expanded. He was insistent then that it should be free. Also, the statement public car park in 1947 meant 'free' so perhaps this is why it was put into the document.

This leads me onto the morality. See it's like this, Marcus keeps trundling out this line about covenants or documents supporting the suggestion of freeness and that because he is unable to find a document in his file, then it just does not or never has existed. That is modern law.

It's my belief that one should apply the understanding of culture, business and the morality of the time in which the document and therefore the transaction/agreement was made. 1947 would have been a time when gentleman's agreements or other such less officious activities were commonplace. coupled with him already supporting this town, both privately and officially extensively.

So, two points then. There is the moral argument. That, in the face of such overwhelming comment and public opinion of remembrance for this happening, along with the amount of objections coming in, that the council actually have a moral obligation to drop the plans for Vale road. Also, just because they can't find it, why should it be upto us to prove that the document or gentleman's agreement exists. Due to the public outcry surely it should be upto them to prove that it doesn't exist?

Lastly, Ron Nixon [former long serving Town clerk] sadly passed away early this year but his family have come forward stating the same as the rest of the older population though always maintaining it was "Sold on the basis of....". there are many others recently gone that knew the real facts. I would dearly love to speak with Elizabeth Mills but respect that she is over 90.

There are also no cost implications in any report. I have submittted an FOI request to establish what the actual nett I increase in revenue is and to ask if I may look at the impact assessment study that will have been done regarding this unique amenity.

Neil said...

226 online signatories so far. please add yours.......
http://www.gopetition.com/petition/38858/signatures.html

at least 3 full A4 sheets of paper signatures in petitions set up independent of me in York st Pharmacy in the town and the health centre across the road.

150 objections received before the official not really advertised deadline day of the 20th august.

who knows how many more objections have been received since then that the council will bin and just say "came in after the public consultation".

Perhaps they should reconsider the stance of "we don't talk to terrorists". I am not one, just a man who loves his town and was told this weekend that they will not back down or it MAY show weakness. This position is preposterous.

Neil said...

Christ alive, have you seen this?

http://www.wyreforest.gov.uk/council/docs/doc42713_20100921_cabinet_report.pdf

Is this practice normal?

ooh and a very very interesting development today. I feel like writing a table of my own in response to each and every one of their legal speak responses with what I have learned during this campaign. My word are they belligerent.

Tav said...

@Neil: I have heard of a new way to protest that may be a way forward for this campaign. This is the use of 'lobby cards'. A postcard is printed with an appropriate image on one side and on the other side half the card contains the address of the person you are lobbying (MP, councillor, etc.) and the other half a lobby statement with blanks to fill in. Something like, "I, _____(name)____, of _____(postcode)_____ as a constituent of … hereby lobby you as …. to … ".

It's supposed to be very effective, as elected representatives have to by law act upon lobbing from their constituents. You can have a box for lobbyists to post their filled in lobby card and then deliver them by hand altogether. Alternatively the lobbyist can take it away think about it, then fill it in, paste a stamp on it and post it themselves.

You could lobby the council (John Campion, Unelected Leader of the Council), Mark Garnier MP (Wyre Forest MP) or perhaps, more effectively, the Mitton councillors (John Holden, Michael Salter, David Millis) if the lobbyist is a Mitton constituent.

Tav said...

...you could lobby the Mitton councillors (or whoever) to extend the deadline for objections; or hold a re-consultation; or call for a vote of no-confidence...

FlipC said...

@Neil - The agenda for the 21/9 Cabinet meetings has only just appeared so thanks for pointing that out. Yes I have seen such documents before so it's not that unusual.

I note objection 48 which is similar to the nec vi, nec clam, nec precario we discussed elsewhere.

This is darn similar to the Tesco application in that certain things just don't register in terms of the legal implications. They don't have to care about the residents, the businesses, the parking impact; it's a highly blinkered view. As such it's nigh on impossible in this situation to provide a legal basis for turning down the order.

Therefore the only hope lies in the votes of the councillors themselves. However closer examination appears to show that the Cabinet has asked the Council to give them finalisation which means it's a reject it all or none at all; and rejecting it means it won't get done before the 1st October.

Tav said...

I attended the Cabinet Meeting on 20 July 2010 when the Wyre Forest Parking Review was held, item 10.1. Here the Cabinet were asked to take recommendations from committees and other groups and recommend them to the Council (for the vote). It was more of a rubber-stamping exercise, most of the debate was centred on Bewdley Parking Permits. There were a few councillors in attendance, there for scrutiny I presume. There were no Mitton councillors present (I think), although Cllr. James Shaw [Areley Kings, Labour] was there.

I also attended the Full Council Meeting where the recommendations from the Cabinet Meeting were voted upon, item 6. Unfortunately it was the usual view from the public gallery, all Tory councillors voted in unison for the parking recommendations, even Cllr. Mumshad Ahmed [Broadwaters, Independent], who still sits amongst the Tories, followed suit. Cllr. Julian Phillips [Bewdley & Arley, Conservative] did, however, speak out about his disappointment before he voted.

@Neil: I don't know if you have a lot of experience of local government or not, but as a member of the public you tend to get frustrated a lot when you 'begin-to-open-your-eyes'. The basic rules are your vote can and will be interpreted by anyone in anyway they wish; good ideas are squashed with the phrase 'central government won't allow that'; and, a novel approach to something is thawed by the phrase 'that's not how its done'. Stand back a bit and see the comical side of it and weblogs like The Mad Ranter, and the Wyre Forest Agenda write themselves. :-)

Neil said...

@tav: well, you must have worked out I am new to this. and what iwth my character, after we win this fight rest assured I shall be stting back. I am glad that I was able to find, join & really enjoy your blogs though.

I should add that I am aware these are your personal pages and any frustrations or rants are certainly not directed at the wfa or Flipc but at the imbeciles carrying on with this outrage.

All of those involved in this campaign are extremely grateful to the exposure you have both afforded us and of course the insights and advice too.

thanks.

Tav said...

My, 'stand back a bit' comment was rhetorical. You're the champion here, FlipC and I just blog what we see.

Neil said...

Shuttle Page 3. Roy Crowe has come forward independently. All the things he says are different yet the same. How stubborn is our cabinet.

And Mark Garnier is another spineless Tory [mitton ward cllrs] who has vocalised against these proposals, offered his support and then done nothing to help his constituents.

I am not out of hope for the discovery of a document.

FlipC said...

Hah I've just posted the link over at the WFA. Haven't had my paper copy yet and the e-edition seems not to be working.

FlipC said...

Oh and @neil "rest assured I shall be sitting back"

If only it were that easy, but once you start delving into the bizarreness that appears in local politics it becomes difficult not to speak out and alert others to it :-)

Neil said...

I know and this is scaring me.

So, lloyds was cpo'd and now he is leaving at the end of the 18mth low rental period. but the development has been shelved. so what does everyone think will bring in more visitors to this site. a car park or a thriving business paying rent, rates, employing staff who spend & pay local taxes, or a car park that will make perhaps £2000 a year. the rateable value and therefore income to the council must surely be more than is expected in revenue from the car park. ok so put it into the order so its allowed when required and then maybe see if the business wants to stay?? I popped in and asked yesterday. no such approach has been made. in my opinion this is negligence by the council with regard to their own priorities of "a Vibrant local economy" amongst others.

I should also point out that the urban myth [MH likes them so i'll tell him another] in the town was that a 15yr peppercorn deal had been arranged. clearly, not so and with this development now years away, if not shelved completely, failings again in the area of being "a well run and responsive council" as well as "improving efficiency and value for money"

separately
1. Ryans ride is apparently banned next year, by the Police. all the bridge street traders and more are up in arms. police say too much traffic. I noticed stationery traffic outside my house for about 30mins. surely, 11 months is long enough to come up with a plan for everyone getting into the town. They were welcomed by all and I'm told had a great time and want to come back. Well we want them back. it was a great day and the town was buzzing all day. I'd say it was busier for longer than the carnival.
2. how are tesco able to build this huge glass tower just to house some steps and an escalator when no building in the development should be higher than the original CoW factory building?

FlipC said...

Just when you think you are out... it'll pull you back in.

It is interesting how they plan on removing the garage and put in a "temporary" car park. Methinks they've too many fingers in too many expensive pies.

With Ryan's Ride I think everyone was just overwhelmed by just how many turned up for it I counted over 340 bikes in five minutes with more still coming.

I'm also trying to work out how they can "ban" it. They're driving legally on the road, they're not holding up banners, they're doing anything either dangerous or illegal. This is no more disruptive than a funeral procession; don't see those being banned.

With Tesco they have to build the entrance because it allows pedestrian access on Mitton Street which is where the distances defining them as Edge of Centre are taken; follow the logic there. Besides IIRC the original building at that point was a storey above the fence so it should end up the same height anyway.

Neil said...

I lived across the road form this corner for 15yrs and my mom still does. not sure any of the building was a full story over the fence. maybe look for some old pictures. but as an objection has gone in she keeps getting updates on the amendments. however, it never tells you which tree or line has been moved, so you have to look at everything side by side. you know any short cuts to get the specific amendment details?

The problem I have with tesco [and lets face it, its coming] is their insistance on building a glass and tin monstrosity in the middle of the oldest and most protected part of town and are not planning on anything in keeping with the georgian town that we are. Well, at least we shall not need to turn any lights on in the front of the house every evening.

Neil said...

OOOh. my mother wrote to complain on the 9th sept and did not receive an acknowledgement.

I wrote an FOI request on the 17th asking how many objections had been received after the deadline of 20th August and what consideraton had been given to them. Intersting then that my mother received a 1st class posted acknowledgement letter date the 17th.

And, whilst they tell me they have always been opposed, it came as quite a boost to have Both Councillor Shepherds sign the online petition yesterday. I hopew my letter to all councillors has a further effect at some point.