Bikers gear up for parking protest
ANGRY motorcyclists are expected to descend on Westminster City Hall on Sunday for the latest protest against controversial bike parking charges. Introduced in August last year, the �150 a year (or �1.50 a day) charge has led to months of protest from bik
ANGRY motorcyclists are expected to descend on Westminster City Hall on Sunday for the latest protest against controversial bike parking charges.
Introduced in August last year, the �150 a year (or �1.50 a day) charge has led to months of protest from bikers, many of who have opted for two wheels in a bid to avoid the congestion charge and parking fees.
In May, parking bosses reduced the rate to �1 and offered 900 free spaces in the council's 14 undercover car parks in a bid to appease campaigners.
But motorcyclists have vowed to keep protesting until the charges - branded a "stealth tax" - are removed.
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The situation reached a climax this week following claims that Westminster has failed to answer a vast number of Freedom of Information requests within the statutory time limit - withholding certain documents.
And parking bosses came under further criticism following the breakdown of the Pay by Phone parking system on Tuesday, which left customers forced to phone back every half an hour to pay.
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Warren Djanogly, chairman of the No To Bike Parking Tax Campaign, said: "This department is a disgrace and tarnishes the reputation of Westminster City Council as a whole. Not only are they wilfully trying to subvert the objections to their bike parking 'tax', they are delaying a statutory process, and ignoring FoI requests in the hope it will all go away. They need to drop this tax, and then be dropped by this council."
Parking chiefs and business leaders have condemned the group for causing "massive disruption, chaos, congestion, and misery" during rush hour protests. Richard Dickinson, chief executive of New West End Company which represents traders, has warned that continued demonstrations could cost traders millions of pounds in lost revenue.