Paying for parties with parking cash

IT S difficult to know whether to condemn or commend the residents association which was selling parking permits to raise money for parties. It s not as if they were guilty of extortion, a charge that is often levelled at Camden Council which in some par

IT'S difficult to know whether to condemn or commend the residents association which was selling parking permits to raise money for parties.

It's not as if they were guilty of extortion, a charge that is often levelled at Camden Council which in some parts of the borough has ratcheted up its parking charges beyond what is reasonable - and that's without looking more closely at the council's punitive parking regime.

No, the Bray Tenants and Residents Association have been hiring out spaces under their Swiss Cottage block for as little as £5 a year, probably the best deal in London.

Not far away, a local school was hoping to auction off a parking space for many hundreds of pounds - perhaps even for a four-figure sum. Why only £5? Considering the shortage of parking spaces in the area, why did the association not charge £50, or £500? Then they really could have had a party to remember.


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There's a lighter side to all this. Who can blame the residents for raising a bit of cash from empty parking spaces to pay for a bit of frivolity. The Bray block, in common with others in the vicinity, has been scandalously short of council funding for years. The association would undoubtedly argue that spending parking cash to cheer up residents once or twice a year was money well spent.

But there are also a couple of more serious points to be made. If there were 50 unused spaces at Bray, how many more are available underneath council tower blocks? Does Camden Council have any idea? Why has the idea of renting out unused or unwanted spaces not already been taken up in a more official manner?

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In this part of London, parking spaces are a valuable commodity and surely someone in authority should have been aware that dozens of spaces under a council tower block were not required. They could have been made available for a fair commercial rate following consultation with the various residents associations, who could then have been given a proportion of the proceeds (more, in fact, than they were receiving through their own devices).

Camden Council, of course, has demonstrated a vested interest in creating parking chaos throughout the borough and counting the millions that roll in as a result.

Perhaps we shouldn't be all that surprised that identifying an opportunity that would have eased parking problems in a built-up area, was not top of their priorities.

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