The parking crisis in Hammersmith & Fulham continues to worsen, with the Labour Council announcing that it is replacing the smart visitor permit (SVP) with a new resident visitor permit (RVP) - but seemingly without automatically refunding the money residents have invested in the old permits.
Many residents are furious about the proposals, with one asking:
“From your website advice to use up any credit on our SVP prior to 1st May, are you telling us that any credit will be lost…..that it can’t be transferred to a RVP ... and that it will “disappear” into the Council coffers??? To say that I consider this unacceptable is putting it mildly!”
The Council claims that its new system “will be more convenient to use”, but long-suffering local residents have already pointed to how Labour H&F’s change could have an impact on certain groups in particular, with one resident commenting:
“It defies belief that they haven't thought about those who don't have a smartphone or a computer - this will be mainly the elderly who rely on friends and family coming to visit them.”
Elderly visitors to the Borough – particularly those providing grandparent childcare – have already had to hoard old £1 coins because they are unable to pay electronically.
Residents are also concerned about the loss of £23 million in parking revenue as a result of the fiasco over the Council’s replacement of old parking meters. These do not take the 'new' £1 coin, even though this was announced in the 2014 March Budget and came into circulation nearly a year ago. Council parking signs showing the location of the nearest parking meter are even wrong in many places now, leading the Council open to losing parking appeals.
Hammersmith & Fulham had the fourth highest surplus from parking services last year, but this £23 million in parking revenue is now at risk, and it is local council taxpayers who will be expected to foot the bill for H&F's incompetence!
The changes - and resulting chaos - have been featured across national media in recent weeks, especially with a 'Black Market' in old £1 coins even arising. They reportedly change hands at 4 for £5 at the North End Road market.
Furthermore, over the next six weeks all the 1,100 old machines (some working, some broken) will be removed. That will leave the 400 new machines – only around 20 per cent of which take cash.
It is time for someone at Hammersmith & Fulham Council to take responsibility for this growing parking fiasco and either sort it out or resign.