The ‘Barnet Spring’ prompts Brian Coleman’s political fall from grace

17:00 21 May 2012

Cllr Brian Coleman

Cllr Brian Coleman


Campaigners have hailed the dawn of the “Barnet Spring” after controversial parking boss Brian Coleman was ousted from his cabinet role a week after losing his seat on the London Assembly.

Former environment chief Cllr Coleman was one of the highest profile scalps claimed in the City Hall elections on May 3.

His defeat was largely blamed on the controversial parking reforms he steered through on Barnet Council, which saw parking fees rise and all pay and display metres scrapped and replaced by a new pay-by-phone system.

In a move that suggests Barnet may be considering a change in parking policy, the post was handed to Golders Green Cllr Dean Cohen - a critic of the reforms - on Tuesday (May 15).

Theresa Musgrove, who blogs as Mrs Angry, said Cllr Coleman’s “arrogance” and unpopular policies had spurred an eclectic mix of residents to campaign for his demise.

She and other Barnet bloggers have held Cllr Coleman to account on Twitter and other social media sites, which it is believed helped mobilise the vote against him on May 3 when he lost the Barnet & Camden London Assembly seat after 12 years.

The movement has been dubbed the Barnet Spring - a play on the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East which saw a groundswell of revolution driven by social media.

Ms Musgrove said: “It has been the Barnet Spring. It’s not just Brian Coleman, the whole Conservative council has created the Big Society they all claim they want to see.

“By default they have united sections of the community in a resistance to the local council in a way they hadn’t anticipated.

“It has created network of activists and bloggers spanning all party stripes. They are concerned about the way Barnet is going.”

In a gesture epitomising this eclectic opposition, trade unionists, bloggers, teachers and small shopkeepers all shared a toast at Alexandra Palace bar after Cllr Coleman lost his London Assembly seat on May 3.

Signalling a change on the controversial council parking reforms, Cllr Cohen, said: “Parking is the main issue and it is one that needs to be dealt with.

“We are here to respond to residents in the borough and if that is an issue amongst residents then we have to address that problem.”

But he warned policy changes would have to be kept within a tight budget and that nothing had yet been decided.

Cllr Coleman, who also lost his role as chairman of the London Fire Authority when he failed to hold his London Assembly seat, is the second political heavyweight to be forced from his post after a row over parking charges.

Westminster Council leader Colin Barrow resigned in January after a high profile campaign against West End parking charges.

Many traditional Tory voters supported Labour’s new Barnet & Camden London Assembly member Andrew Dismore, who polled higher than Cllr Coleman in Golders Green - where all three ward councillors are Conservative.

The stripping of his posts means Cllr Coleman’s pay packet has been slashed from £120,000 a year to a £14,000 expenses budget.

Cllr Coleman declined to comment.

Latest Stories

Callie Cook as Tia in Firebird

Phil Davies tells Bridget Galton why his debut play deals with sexual grooming in his home town.

Old apple varieties in September at Berrington Hall, clockwise from top left, Court of Wick, Crimson Queening, Ashmead's Kernel, Doctor Hares, Downtown Pippin and Cats Head. PA Photo/NTPL/Stephen Robson

October is the month for apple festivals, when National Trust gardens, nurseries, farms and orchards invite the public to taste and buy hundreds of different home-grown varieties, and get tips from top growers on how to reap the best harvests.

Details of the Royal Free Mosaic 1973 by Hans Unger are sadly partly hidden behind a Friends' information desk

The artist’s friends have helped to bring his genius out of hiding, celebrating his humour and creativity, says Alison Oldham.

Conker champions from left are Albert 5, Addison 7, Trey 4. Picture: Dieter Perry

Just a few short years ago, the annual Hampstead Heath annual Conker Championships broke the Guinness World Record for the biggest ever knock-out conker tournament, when 395 people turned up.

Yesterday, 18:19
Acoustic iPhone Speaker Horn Radio Stereo, £125 plus US shipping costs,

Merging the styles of a misspent youth with the hottest technology around is a great way for retiring and downsizing baby boomers to ensure their new property steers well clear of fuddy duddy

Yesterday, 17:47
Pubs and clubs in London could face having to contribute to the costs of policing and cleaning the streets

Venues which stay open past midnight in Camden may find themselves charged a levy to cover the costs of policing and cleaning the night-time economy.

Yesterday, 16:30
Theo Seddon-Deane, who has cerebral palsy, with mother Catharine Seddon

Theo Seddon-Deane was born at just 26 weeks, weighing less than a bag of potatoes, and needed a ventilator just to keep him breathing.

Yesterday, 16:12
The circular, domed building is Grade II-listed

Although spacious and modern and set in a prime position overlooking Hampstead Heath, the detached four-bedroom house on Templewood Avenue, NW3 is relatively unremarkable on its own.


Hampstead and Kilburn

  • Tulip Siddiq (Labour)
    23,977 (44.4%)

Finchley and Golders Green

  • Mike Freer (Conservative)
    25,835 (50.9%)

Holborn and St Pancras

  • Keir Starmer(Labour)
    29,062 (52.9%)

Most read

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Angharad Baa Stool in Rare Breed.

Great British Life is offering a sheepskin footstool worth £199 to a lucky reader

You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder