Parking troubles

 

           Having plenty of suitable places for people to park their cars is a necessary policy on a crowded island like ours.

         If we can ensure more of our cars are parked off road when they are not being used,  more of the road space is available for when we do wish to use them. Taking cars off road should offer them better protection, and make getting into and out of them  safer and easier, especially if you have bags with you at the time.

          Having plenty of easy to use parking near shops is important to the success of shopping centres. You cannot easily go shopping by train, as it is cumbersome returning with the bags and packages, and they are not welcome on most trains. Buses too have their limitations when it comes to the weekly shop, though they can get a bit nearer the shops than trains can. Many buses have very limited space for luggage and shopping bags.

           Getting children to and from school by car as many do is also a hazardous and difficult process. Most state schools now prevent parents driving into the school grounds to drop off and collect, wishing to avoid danger on school territory and responsibility for safety. As a result many children are dropped off by the side of busy roads, often more dangerous than in the school grounds. Councils have countered in some cases, appreciating the dangers, by putting in lower speed limits at drop off and pick up times of  day. This still does not prevent accidents from opening doors without watching, pulling out too quickly, or a passing motorist unable to see a child darting out from behind a vehicle into the road.

           Mr Pickles has recently intervened in this debate and urged Councils not to see parking as just another money raising opportunity. Some  Councils can and do exploit monopoly positions on parking, others exploit a shortage of private sector alternative provision or work with private operators keeping spaces limited. That is why Mr Pickles suggests that it should be easier for people to rent out their driveways where they wish, to give them a new  source of income and to provide some competition to Council car parks to help keep prices down.

                  He has also asked whether we could have some greater tolerance of short term parking in resticted places to buy a single item or pick something up from an adjacent shop. In some places enforcement is sharp and unrelenting, whatever the circumstances.

                    We do need a new parking settlement. New housing should have better parking provision to keep more cars off the road. Councils should look again at how they can provide safer access to schools, to lessen clashes with busy roads. Town centre improvements should include the supply of plentiful and sensibly priced parking to encourage more people  in, instead of driving to a bigger centre further away or using the out of town facilites  to the exclusion of the town centre. Some double yellow restrictions are crucial to the free flow of traffic and should not be relaxed, but other limitations, especially many single yellow lines,  could be considered for short stay parking without impeding the main highways.

                Councils should see parking as an important service to help keep town centres lively, to facilitate people getting to work and school, and to help local businesses. Just seeing it as a source of revenue forces parking prices up, frustrates people trying to find one out of too few spaces, and adds to the sense of injustice many taxpayers feel who put much money into the system but seem to get very little back.

 

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57 Comments

  1. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    I think many areas are now rising to overcome the parking problem. We in Bury have built new car parks , have short term free areas and back streets where parking is allowed for 2-3hrs for a small fee, yet however much parking space is there , it will be filled up especially at certain times of the year.
    Of course it has been advantageous to build -of- city car parks in retail outlets and not disadvantageous for the stores there also.
    You are probably thinking about London and other large cities where the cost of living is far above what it should be. Flats in Westminster 4-5K PW to rent. I would expect my own parking space for that and home delivery to prevent trailing around shops. This is what many of the larger stores offer; shopping on line and home delivery.
    When my young children were at a paid grammar school , mums used to bring their kids to school in the biggest cars around and block the streets. As soon as my husband abandoned me and his children and stopped paying the fees, I got a 100% mortgage for a small house within walking distance to a state school and that solved all parking problems. Now that is a thought : walking to school instead of the’ must look good drop off and on times’ which are part of the competitive culture today.
    If you want to live in certain areas then you have to compete.

    Reply Sopme people can walk to school as they are close enough. Many are not close enough and there is no immediate way to house them all within walking distance of a secondary school.

    • sm
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Whilst it is reasonable to expect a secondary school pupil to make their own way to school, a mother with two younger children very possibly in different locations (ie nursery and junior school) and perhaps a job in yet a third location will have to rely on a car.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        BTW I had 10 years of zero hours contracts. whilst immigrants had the standard 37.5hrs and travelled miles without a petrol or travelling allowance or holidays . The stress is intolerable.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      That is one reason why I moved nearer to a school . There are plenty of schools in Newcastle and the like and cheaper houses near schools..If you want the benefits of close living for the sake of the children , then you have to move: of course you (may ed) be in a place where there is (a poor local environment ed).

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 5, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        What would you have done if having been “abandoned” your only choice was to go into a cheap rental near a rubbish, poorly performing primary school that the local authority couldn’t do anything about because none of the aspiring parents wanted to send their children to because of problems with biting; swearing; and other poor behaviour and neighbours who had recourse to move their children away from it.

        You only alternative school with places was too far to work and for you to get to work on time?

        What would you have done having moved into that new home you bought the local school got closed down on a cost saving exercise and the school with places was an half hour walk in each direction which wouldn’t give you enough time to get to work?

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          I am glad you see that point. There are some disgusting schools out there and poor areas . Whereas I moved into a quiet cul de sac relatively safe and started without any support or money from the ex husband who subsequently went bankrupt and married a high salaried professional, the law ruled whilst he was having his skiing holidays and living on a farm with many acres that I was not entitled to support: but she was a tory. The children were safe enough to walk , but I would have searched the country for a half decent school and moved there before I would have subjected the children to the sort of behaviour that many have to suffer , but that’s my nature , the children come first.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Moving might make sense for a few, but Osborne has a huge tax on moving, perhaps £10,000 to £200,000+ in London. Quite an incentive not to move even without the legals, agents fees, vans and all the rest. Also you might have 3+ children at different and often changing schools.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    The local authorities are interested in parking only really as a cash cow to pay the huge pensions. The targeting of school drop off times is a regular mugging fest for them. Taking your children by car may be hazardous, but far safer than walking or cycling and usually more convenient. I see that the councils have even been targeting agreed parking in others drives, with planning notices demanding applications for a change of use!

    New houses often have a lack of any real parking provision (or indeed living provision), indeed planning stipulations often prevents proper parking provision even when space is available. Also I see that councils have wasted millions on largely unused electric car points for cars. Why are they so keen to encourage electric cars that are, if anything with current technology, rather less environmental than real ones? They have killed very many jobs & businesses in this strangulation process.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    You are correct John

    Councils need to change their attitude to require more parking within new residential developments, unfortunately the current policy is to restrict and limit parking on new developments, as a way to encourage use of public transport.

    By using such a restrictive policy they have guaranteed slums/congestion for the future, and given that the bus service finishes in our part of the World at 18.00 hours that policy has failed as well.

    The most simple method of getting people to stay in Town Centres longer, is for a pay when you leave policy, not a pay in advance one, which of course pays the Council more in revenue, but shops rather less.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      @alan jutson: Developers are happy to restrict car parking, such spaces take up a lot of space, a garage block of 10 can easily take up more space than an extra town house needs so this i8s not being entirely driven by the LA planning departments… As for the problem with buses, well yes indeed if such services are run for profit rather than need! Oh and the answer to town centre parking is not to charge [1], directly at least, parking provision should be paid for out of business rates and these rates sho0uld be based on turn-over (or some such) rather than commercail floor area, thus the more trade a town centre generates the more income the LA receives.

      [1] time limits could still apply, and perhaps charge the motorist to park half or all day

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Jerry

        Yes developers could restrict parking on a proposal.

        But from personal knowledge.

        It is very often the Planning Department which makes the limits before planning approval will be granted.

        We have had such a policy in the Berkshire area now for a number of years.

        200 new apartments to the south of Wokingham, 200 parking places.
        Not a single place for a visitor, doctor, district nurse, meals on wheels, tradesman, or even heaven forbid, a second car.
        The development surrounded by double yellow lines in all adjacent streets (room available on site).
        Decision made by Planning Department.

        Existing development of 150 Apartments in Reading, parking all over the place with only five visitors spots available (being used by residents), an application put in for more parking (space was available) Permission refused.

        Certainly agree that some area’s should allow free parking for a limited amount of time.
        Given the huge cost of business rates I would have assumed that some of this money was already going for some parking provision contribution.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Jerry

        You do know that business rates are set and received by central government and NOT the local authority. Give me one good reason apart from theft that a company should pay UBR based on turnover

  4. Jerry
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Simple solution, politicains, local and national, should stop thinking of the motorist as a cash cow (never mind private companies leaching off the motorist too) but as an essential part of the economy. Why is it that out-of-town, almost certainly free parking, retail parks/supermarkets are doing far better than the town centres, why is on-line trading doing far better than the out of town retail parks – it is not because people are lazy, it is because the the cost to the motorist of accessing the town centre is a lot more than the retail park, the cost of shopping on-line is a lot cheaper than driving to the retail park or into town – yet the bureaucrats wonder why the town centres are dying as commercail trading centres…

    Oh and driveway parking is not the answer anyway, much of the congestion is caused by the fact that town centre houses often do not have off road parking even for their owners use never mind for renting out.

    As for trains and buses, indeed these days that is so often the case, but it never used to be so, but now almost everything has a profit motive rather than a service motive, thus we now have micro buses instead of full sized buses with plenty of space, trains have an extra two rows of seats per carriage rather than luggage space and (at least around here) three carriages per train unit than the four they things were built with – whilst the standard of travel is now worse than it was 70 years ago, the local train services not even having on-board toilet facilities so what chance luggage facilities?!

    • miami.mode
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Jerry

      70 years ago as a traveller on a train you would have run the risk of being bombed so I would have thought that toilets were essential!

      Please also do not forget the Lewisham train crash was less than 60 years ago and rail travel in the UK must be safer now.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Not where I live, they have empty double deckers running around local housing estates all day instead of micro buses which any profit motivated business would have changed to years ago.

  5. Edward 2
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I agree with all you say in your article Mr Redwood and I hope Mr Pickles has success with his initiative.
    One other regulation that needs relaxing is those restricting the use of single yellow lines when they are in areas of on street pay and display zones.
    On a recent trip to a nearby city centre we saw plenty of spaces to park on single yellow lines which normally are ok to park on outside the working day but were told as we walked away, by a helpful parking warden that we would get a ticket as you can’t park on single yellows when they are inside a “controlled parking zone”
    She agreed it was ridiculous but said it was to stop drivers parking for free and make them use the adjacent pay and display bays

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      The real reason is to catch motorists out. Those who do not know or notice the (intentionally?) unclear rules and generate fines. Residential area in London usually restrict parking during the day when there is often plenty available in residential areas yet do not apply at evening/night when the real parking demand arises. It is clearly all about mugging taxes nothing else.

  6. TomO
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Well – the fact of the matter is that many local councils are so suffused by their sense of entitlement and undiluted greed that they lose grip of reality and seek to ransom public assets back to the public.

    That a council (can ed) gets more money from fines than fees is surely a road to revolution?

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Indeed that is clearly the position with many councils, all those gold plated pensions to pay who cares if they kill the town and private businesses.

  7. Richard1
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    As so often happens perhaps the problem will be solved by market forces. We read so often that the high street shop is a thing of the past – that should free up traffic and parking. Cars remain the most flexible method of transport and therefore the most economically efficient. People go where they want when they want. No wonder leftist busybodies don’t like them.

  8. Iain Gill
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    My own view is that all of the policies of

    http://www.abd.org.uk/

    should be taken up by the Conservative party. They are pretty much in line with the majority of people I know.

    • Martin
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t Maidenhead residents (almost Conservatives to a man/woman) block the late Mr Nicholas Ridley’s sensible proposal to widen the M4?

    • Bazman.
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Another dubious right wing site.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    It should be recalled that from the start the Labour government set out to make life more difficult and expensive for motorists, ostensibly to reduce the use of cars. Even if such a policy would ever have had any merit, it was a bit late to initiate it when the car had long before become embedded as a central element in everyday life and in the economy.

    It is still possible to live without access to a private car, but it has become difficult and will no doubt continue to become more difficult.

    I don’t see any way back to the days when many people could manage to live without a car by walking or cycling or using public transport or getting lifts from friends or neighbours and just occasionally splashing out on a taxi, except perhaps in some areas of some of the cities.

    It would be better to accept that there is no easy way the clock can be turned back on that, and plan for the number of private cars to continue to increase towards to the number of adults who are capable of driving, and with that number of adults capable of driving itself increasing substantially thanks to the government’s insane and wicked policy of allowing and encouraging mass immigration.

    I note that at present with something like 50 million adults resident in the country there are about 29 million private cars, and the biggest rise over the past two decades has been with female drivers, presumably in the main because young women now see it as essential for their independence that they have their own car:

    http://racfoundation.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/number-of-vehicles-in-uk-hits-new-high/

    “The number of private cars with a female registered keeper has increased by 70 per cent since 1994. In 2012, about 40 per cent of privately registered cars were registered with a female keeper.”

    So just moving to the required gender equality in car ownership would add another 6 million, unless the number of cars owned by males was rationed in some way, and with the explosion of the population thanks to the insane policy of allowing and encouraging mass immigration it wouldn’t be surprising if the number of private cars rose above 40 million; and where are they all going to be able to park?

    It might be thought that a green feminist socialist supporter of mass immigration could easily go mad trying to reconcile these conflicts, etc ed

    • wab
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      “It should be recalled that from the start the Labour government set out to make life more difficult and expensive for motorists, ostensibly to reduce the use of cars.”

      Unfortunately for your version of reality, this was already happening under the previous Tory government. It is that government which in 1993 brought in the fuel price escalator. It is that government which was the first to wage war on motorists. Subsequent governments have just continued this war.

      All three main political parties (and most of the media) believe that motorists are evil. The Lib Dems, being the party run by and for the sanctimonious middle class, happen to be the most anti-car, but Labour and the Tories are not far behind in practise, even if once in a blue moon one of them throws a few scraps to motorists.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 6, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        That’s only a small variant on my version of reality.

        It was Prescott who announced it as official government policy a month after the 1997 general election, although apparently he later denied ever having pledged to reduce the use of cars.

        From June 2002:

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/jun/06/transport.uk1

        “The government was yesterday accused of trying to rewrite history after Whitehall officials denied that the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, had ever made a pledge to cut the number of journeys by car.”

        I must have missed that among all the other fabrications.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 6, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        @wab: As you say…. Also it was the Tory government in the 1980s who wanted to make mere possession of a motor vehicle a reason for paying VED, it was only the uproar caused by the vintage and classic car owners (many of who happened to be Tory voters!…) that caused a rethink, at least some good did come from the exercise, as the Historical Vehicle taxation class was introduced -set at £0.00 pa- as a prelude to a tax that in the event was never introduced in the end. The need to SORN any vehicle taken off the road being introduced instead.

        Then of course, it was during the Tory government of the same period that speed cameras first gained wide spread use, not to mention the fixed penalty fine and points system, often trying to cajole the offender into accepting the stated fine -proven guilt or not- at the risk of having the fine increased should the person dare contest the facts in court…

        Oh and not forgetting how the same Tory government allowed the use of wheel clamps, meaning that we now have the absurd situation of so called dangerously parked vehicles now being clamped to prevent the owner removing the so called dangerously parked vehicle!

    • uanime5
      Posted August 6, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      In most of Western Europe and Japan it’s possible to get around without using a car, mainly because they’ve invested in trains and bicycle routes. Perhaps the UK should stop trying to price everyone but the wealthy off the railways.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Instead of offering unsubstantiated generalisations about other countries where, as usual, you think they do things better than we do, why not focus on the actual situation in this country?

        Prescott denied ever having pledged to reduce the number of journeys made by car because he had tried and failed to do that and had finally realised that it was totally impractical, not least because that policy was inconsistent with other policies of his own government.

        When there is a railway station outside my house and I can board one of the very frequent trains which will take me and whatever luggage I may have direct and door-to-door to any one of my numerous destinations and then back at a time of my choosing, including in the middle of the night, then the railways will be offering serious competition to the private car in terms of convenience although not in cost.

        I’ve lived without access to a private car and with access to a private car, and I know which I prefer; who are you to say that people should accept what is almost always a sub-optimum solution for their transport needs, when a much better alternative has become available?

        Maybe you could find a country where the horse-drawn stage coach is still doing the job, and recommend that we return to that?

        • Bazman
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          You cannot drive for more than two hours a day and this is where trains compete. Cars as you point out are ideal for short journeys.

  10. Atlas
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    John – a useful post. At least you have gone to the essential points about what really makes a town centre tick, rather than the Lib-Dems who seem to be hostile to anybody who does not go along with their socialist ‘Utopia’.

  11. Neil Craig
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    “Solve the parking problem by building parking space under the streets to as many levels as may be required. All this requires is a reduction the cost of construction or saving enough money on overheads of society, e.g. bureaucrats talking to each other. ”

    (recommends the pro intelligent cars piece by ed) Professor John McCarthy. Incidentally is one John also discussed here a few days ago

  12. Anonymous
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Everything in Britain is overstretched.

    Why are parking meters set at say £1.10 yet give no change ?

    What is the reason for demanding my registration number when I pay for a ticket ? What business of the council who I give my ticket to if I have paid for the allotted time ? Especially if I give it to a friend or relative ? And especially if the parking bay has not been specially created, the road is wide and has just been designated a pay zone arbitrarily ?

    • stred
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Reg. numbers are because some naughty motorists have been giving unused ticket time to motorists arriving in the car park when they are leaving the space.

  13. peter davies
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    This is a good common sense iniative from Mr Pickles though in practical terms it is scratching at the surface.

    It should hopefully help send a message to councils that parking enforcement should be seen as what it is, to keep town centres running rather than as ‘cash cows’ – stories of greedy councils and their sense of entitlement are too well publiczed.

  14. Andy
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    New housing should have better parking provision to keep more cars off the road.

    Yes it should.

    When my house in Lower Earley was built about 14 years ago, one of the rules was that for every bedroom there needed to be a car parking space. As a four bedroom house that translated into a double garage and two off road spaces.

    Recently, some friends moved into a new 6 bedroom house nearby. It has a single garage and a single off road space. Apparently, the council rules now specify a MAXIMUM of 2 spaces per new house built, regardless of the size.

    Parking in their estate is a total mess.

    The maximum 2 spaces rule is clearly laid out on page 218 of this document : Adopted Wokingham District Local Plan (Appendix 8)

    http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/planningcontrol/planning/planningpolicies/local-plan/?assetdet3082465=151556&categoryesctl5513943=2459

    So perhaps you could make the suggestion to our local council that building houses with hardly any off road parking is not a clever idea?

    Reply The last government forced Councils to set lower standards for parking places. This is now b eing relaxed and I have suggested to Wokingham they amend their standards now they are able to do so.

  15. Jerry
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Sorry to go off topic, and refer back to a previous blog (“One small voice”) but having had a post deleted for no other reason that it stated a medical fact -in reply to something U5 said, a mistaken medical fact- it has made me wonder what else is being deleted and not just visibly edited, this is making me wonder just how unbiased the hosts ‘editorial’ policy is, just what doesn’t get through simply because the host doesn’t like the comments content rather than any legal issues etc.

    This might well be my last comment…

    • Edward2
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Fingers crossed

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      I don’t blame Mr Redwood.

      This is the state of democracy in Britain.

      Such cautiousness about what can and cannot be said is probably one of the reasons why members of various agencies were reluctant to ask questions about the poor child.

  16. Martin
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Don’t you think you are over doing the big bad council bit? What about some well known private car parking companies who are not exactly cheap either?

  17. uanime5
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    One problem with private car parks is that they’re owned by private companies rather than the local shops. As a result they have no incentive to give good value for money or offer rates that encourage people to shop in towns. I suspect that if local shops owned the car parks they’d be more reasonably priced.

    Allowing people to rent out their driveways is viable but will require some thought regarding what happens if the car gets damaged while on someone else’s drive (it is parked at the owner’s risk or does the householder have to make reasonable efforts to protect it)?

    Parking on double yellow lines is likely to result in grid lock in many small towns, so it’s not viable. Even on roads with multiple lanes a single car blocking one lane can cause major traffic jams as two lanes have to temporarily merge into one lane.

    In other news 96% of the people subject to the bedroom tax are unable to move to smaller properties because there aren’t an small properties available. So it seems that the DWP’s plan has just resulted in increased misery for the poor with any benefits for people looking to move house. Come the election the Conservatives will pay a heavy price for this badly thought out policy.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/big-lie-behind-the-bedroom-tax-families-trapped-with-nowhere-to-move-face-penalty-for-having-spare-room-8745597.html

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Unamine5

      What is this bedroom tax thing?

      Have I missed something.

      Aware a lot of taxes have increased in the last decade, by both Labour and the Coalition.

      But:

      No one has notified me that I will have to pay any tax on my so called unused/underused bedrooms, or any other rooms come to that.

      I pay a high rate of Council tax, is that because I have extra rooms ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 6, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

        Now you mention it, when he was working up proposals for a new tax to replace the poll tax didn’t Heseltine briefly moot a tax based just on the number of bedrooms, inviting comparisons with the “window tax”?

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:21 am | Permalink

          Michael Heseltine didn’t ‘work up’ the finally adopted concept, the Council tax, he lifted an idea proposed by Enoch Powell in 1964. All he had to do in 1991 was dust it down and claim the credit for it.

          Reply As the Minister who put the Council Tax in to effect,under Mr Major and Mr Howard, I do not recall Mr Heseltine being involved in the design and implementation.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            Mr Heseltine was certainly adept at taking the credit.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

            ?

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/21/newsid_4278000/4278401.stm

            “1991: Heseltine unveils new property tax”

            “Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine has scrapped the controversial poll tax and replaced it with a property tax.

            The new council tax will involve a single bill for each household based on two elements – the number of adults living there and the value of the property … ”

            But I’m quite sure that at one point he, or maybe somebody else, mooted that the bill should depend on the number of bedrooms.

            Reply The Community Charge was repealed and the new Council Tax introduced after the 1992 election.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 11, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        You have the option to downsize in the same area alan. A choice not avalible to those facing the extra charge.

    • sjb
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      uanime5 wrote: […] 96% of the people subject to the bedroom tax are unable to move to smaller properties because there aren’t an[y] small properties available.

      There is a lack of smaller social housing available but the policy-maker must have known that. Perhaps his purpose was to encourage the demand to be met by private sector landlords – no prizes for guessing who they are likely to vote for ;-).

      Whether in the round the change will turn out to be cheaper for the taxpayer remains to be seen, because one-bed private accommodation often seems to be more expensive than two-bed social housing.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Unanime5 – wasn’t it 96% of the 38 councils that replied to the researchers? How many Councils are there in the UK, where in the Country were these 38 councils? Is this a regional issue or nationwide?

      Dear John, what is the government planning with housing associations in relation to this? If people are given/allocated 2/3 bedrooms homes in relation to them having children to raise, then once that job is done and they are unable to pay the rent relying on housing benefit then wouldn’t the taxpayer be much better off if these one bedroomed apartments were built in these 38 Council area.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Wiki says 433 councils in the UK.

  18. Graham Hamblin
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Back in the 1950’s we parked in the street, the only car park in the town centre was free, and the A38 traffic came through the town centre before the bypass. Now I don’t go into the town centre but travel a nearby town in Derbyshire where parking is free and I do the rest of my shopping online. We pay enough for our pot hole ridden roads why should we pay to park?

  19. David Hope
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Agree, parking is a nightmare. Councils are meant to provide a service, not rip off tax payers and make life tough.

    As an aside Eric Pickles is my favourite minister. I like the way he doesn’t focus on grand government plans but on the little things and costs that make day to day life difficult. Tax payers have been treated very badly by government in recent years

  20. Pleb
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Well they can put up the parking charges all they want. I no longer use any high street. I get food delivered and virtually everything else can be bought online. If I need to see and choose an item I can go to several, free parking, out of town locations. The councils have contributed to the destruction of the high street and its too late to recover.

  21. Bob
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    “many taxpayers feel who put much money into the system but seem to get very little back.”

    The unfunded local authority pension liabilities need to be funded from somewhere, so it’s either raise the council tax, less bin collections, close the library and swimming pool or mug the motorists (most likely all three).

    This is what happens when councils (and government) are allowed to run up huge unaffordable and unfunded liabilities. It should not be allowed. They should learn to live within their means.

  22. Max Dunbar
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I used to use a motorbike to get into town. It was quicker and the parking was easier.
    Using a motorcycle is less attractive than it was due to the enormous increase in traffic lights in the past 10 years. The journey takes almost the same time as a car now. Also the number of motorcycle bays has not increased in line with increased use of two wheeled transport and this has resulted in crowded out parking areas (in Glasgow).

    I suggest removing the road tax on all motorcycles irrespective of size and pressuring councils to remove traffic lights which impede and restrict traffic flow (as in Holland). Traffic lights could also be programmed to flash amber at off-peak periods (as in Germany).

    Encouraging the use of motorcycles would reduce the need for parking and speed up traffic flow. The danger factor of two wheeled transport will be used by the health and safety obsessives to argue against all this. Ignore them.

    • rose
      Posted August 6, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Do you by any chance live in a quiet traffic free place? What about the noise and smell if everyone goes by motorbike?

  23. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    It will take more than better parking to save the High Street. Now that one in seven shops is vacant, the authorities are at last getting round to allowing developers to replace some shops by houses. Not before time.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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