Off-peak parking fees in Camden a last resort

Controversial parking charges which have sparked anger across Westminster would only be brought to Camden as a last resort.

Motorists and businesses were put on alert last week when Camden Council’s parking boss Cllr Sue Vincent refused to rule out evening and Sunday parking in a cabinet meeting.

Since then Cllr Vincent has told the Ham&High that she would, reluctantly, introduce the controversial measures to protect Camden residents from a predicted influx of motorists who will be priced out of Westminster.

She said introducing the charges might also be necessary to safeguard against increased air pollution to the south of Euston Road.

“I will do everything I possibly can to avoid charging in the West End. I want it to have that free flow, but if congestion gets completely out of control we will not be left with any option but to consider it.

“The decision is not out of my hands. It’s about looking first at all other steps we can take to mitigate and how to protect residents,” she said.

“The demand and congestion will increase and I’m really concerned about air quality issues. That part of Camden will potentially become very unpleasant with people driving around looking for parking spaces.”

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She added: “Sunday and evening parking charges would have to be a complete last resort. It’s very frustrating because I don’t know what the impact is going to be so I cannot rule out the possibility of charging.

“If it is the only thing to stop the West End clogging up I would have to do it.

“It’s very frustrating when Westminster Council makes policy decisions without giving us any details – there is no discussion.”

Although Westminster has put plans on hold after a High Court judge granted campaigners a judicial review, the council is still determined to implement charges after the Olympics.

Deputy leader Cllr Vincent has asked for a meeting with Westminster in the New Year in a bid to persuade the neighbouring council into a policy U-turn.

But if the Westminster ploughs ahead as intended, Cllr Vincent said she is considering a number of alternative measures before resorting to copying the controversial charges.

She is considering making residential bays in the south of the borough operational 24/7. Cllr Vincent has also asked council officers to look into ways of making better use of parking spaces on single yellow lines.

Camden’s parking boss has promised that Camden will be going down a similar route to Barnet Council which has ripped up all pay and display machines and gone almost completely cashless.

From this month Camden motorists have the option to pay for parking by telephone, but can still use traditional pay and display machines across the borough.