Westminster Council 'paying debts' with parking fees



Westminster Council is increasing its car and motorcycle parking charges and introducing more pay-by-phone parking systems to plug a £22 million black hole in its finances, according to a leaked briefing document unearthed by the BBC.

As well as becoming the first council in Britain to introduce controversial motorcycle parking charges, Westminster Council wants to double parking fees for some bays in a move that it says will tackle congestion.

But evidence seen by the BBC suggests there are ulterior motives. It has obtained a council briefing document that spells out the "key drivers" for this year's parking rules, which include an attempt to address a £14 million overspend.But evidence seen by the BBC suggests there are ulterior motives. It has obtained a council briefing document that spells out the "key drivers" for this year's parking rules, which include an attempt to address a £14 million overspend.

'Officers were asked to go away and look more closely at parking and community safety to find reductions or additional income,' according to the BBC website's source.

'The areas of parking and community safety have been earmarked to contribute the majority of the £14m.'

Westminster Councillor Danny Chalkey insisted: "It's not correct that we are doing this to revenue raise, we are doing this to keep streets running freely."

But motorcyclists and drivers are only becoming more frustrated with the council as it becomes increasingly difficult and more expensive to park in London. More protests are planned by protest groups.

"Then cynically, nudge-nudge wink-wink, they come out with a load of extra charges and say it is because of congestion," said campaigner Barrie Segal of appealnow.com.

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