Labour Reduce Free Parking in Coulsdon

Parking in Coulsdon has been in chaos recently due to constant disruption caused by our inept Labour Council. It has just taken another blow as the 1 hour of free parking in Coulsdon town centre has been reduced to 30 minutes.

The Croydon Council Traffic Management Committee met Tuesday evening and discussed the proposals. Almost 2,000 residents had written to the Council objecting to their proposals. Every local Residents’ Association, many local businesses, our GLA member Cllr Steve O’Connell and the six Councillors for Coulsdon West and Coulsdon East joined these objections. However Labour Councillors Kathy Bee, Stuart King, Stephen Mann and Robert Canning all voted in favour of the proposal, pushing it through. I attended and spoke at the meeting to personally protest at the decision.

In their 2014 manifesto Labour said “To support our local economies, our district centres will offer free parking for the first hour”. They have now shamelessly gone back on their promise and broken this important manifesto commitment. Cllr Kathy Bee, the Labour Cabinet member for Transport, ran and won on this manifesto. She has since said she thought “it wasn’t the best idea”. Clearly Labour cannot be trusted to keep their promise. Not only is the one hour of free parking being removed in places like Coulsdon, the promise has been broken for the rest of the Borough as they are not introducing new 1 hour free parking elsewhere and in fact parking charges are increasing, in some places by up to 30%. For example, on the 2-Hour tariff in Coulsdon, the cost of staying the full 2 hours has gone from £1.80 to £2.40

This is the latest in a series of parking calamities in Coulsdon overseen by Croydon Labour. The loss of the Lion Green Road car park for months with no development plan was another disaster for local residents and traders. This has now thankfully been partially reopened and I am pressing the Council to resurface and open the rest. The CALAT car park in Coulsdon is also now open to the public which is welcome. I am also pushing for herringbone (angled) parking to be installed on Brighton Road. This will create more kerb-side spaces, alleviating some of the pressure on parking in the town centre.

On the free parking, I am very disappointed by the disregard for the concerns of nearly 2,000 residents, as well as local officials, businesses and Residents groups. The purpose of the free parking was to encourage footfall to local businesses and protect local trade. I hope the Council administration has the good sense to review their decision.