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More parking permits are issued than spaces

PUBLISHED: 11:26 13 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:30 07 September 2010

People living in Westminster have been appalled to find the council is issuing thousands more parking permits than there are spaces. An investigation by the Liberal Democrats has revealed that 41,500 residents permits have been issued for around 32,000 s

People living in Westminster have been appalled to find the council is issuing thousands more parking permits than there are spaces.

An investigation by the Liberal Democrats has revealed that 41,500 residents' permits have been issued for around 32,000 spaces.

The council has defended the move, saying it tells residents up front they cannot guarantee a parking space to someone with a permit.

It also claims the number of permits has been reduced to 36,000. But the council's stance has done little to quell the anger of motorists sick of driving around the block looking to park.

Simon Armitage, from London Motorist Action Group, said: "This appears to be deliberate entrapment. Parking is becoming a game of musical chairs. If a theatre or cinema sold 500 tickets for a 300 seat perforance the public would be understandably upset and demand compensation."

Monica Perez, 41, of Blanford Street in Marylebone, said: "I've got two small kids and I have to drive a little way out to do my shopping, and often when I get back I find my space has been taken. I think it's appalling."

Kay Konop, who lives in Lauderdale Road in Maida Vale, said: "It's ludicrous because it means no-one is able to park conveniently and it's open to abuse because a second parking space given out could be used by someone who does not live in Westminster."

But the council's environment and transport boss, Danny Chalkey, has hit back at the criticism, saying: "Demand for safe on-street parking in central London is at a premium but we believe as many residents as possible should have priority to park near their homes.

"We are making every effort to reduce demand on residents parking bays and over the last three years have increased the number of spaces for residents by more than 1,000. We have also reduced the number of residents' permits by 5,000 and currently issue 36,000.

"In an effort to make it easier for residents to park, we allow permit holders to park for free in a metered bay in their own zone of residence for the first and last paid hour of each day, up to 9:30am and after 5:30pm, and offer residents a discounted rate in any of the council's car parks. We are also looking at introducing car club schemes early next year.

"However, it is important to note that we do inform residents that a parking space cannot always be guaranteed.

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