"£16 for a walking permit" says Canterbury Council

October 25, 2012 1:35 PM

If I had a pound for every time I've heard 'if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys' when referring to the pay of senior council officers, I would be much better off than I am now. So I wonder which monkey working for Canterbury City Council devised this little plan?

The council compulsory purchased land to the rear of Cromwell Road, Whitstable, in 1995. It then turned it into what is now known as Bisson's Car Park. Residents who enter the car park to access the rear of their homes received letters from the council informing them if they wanted to continue doing so they would have to pay for it. Amazingly, someone thought it was a good wheeze to attempt to charge local residents £16 a year for a pedestrian licence; £122 a year for a vehicle licence; get everyone to sign a 13-clause licence agreement; and on top of that require each household to purchase £2 million worth of public liability insurance.

It will not surprise you to hear this new licensing scheme was not greeted with universal adulation. One resident thought it must be an April Fool's joke. Another said the idea of paying £16 to walk to the rear of his home was "Pythonesque".

As soon as the complaints started flooding in, the council apologised and promised to review the situation. A spokesman said:
We are sorry residents in Cromwell Road are unhappy. Our intention was to regularise existing access to the rear of their properties by granting access licences across the residents’ car park.

However, concerns have been expressed about the proposal so we are going to pause and take time to discuss the situation with them to allow us to find a way forward that meets the needs of all parties.

We will be contacting the affected residents in the near future.

What on earth does 'regularise existing access to the rear of the properties' mean? Sounds like a plan to extract more cash to me. Why didn't the council discuss the idea with residents first?

There is a lesson here for all councillors. Never let an officer make a decision affecting your ward without you being consulted first.
If I had a pound for every time I've heard 'if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys' when referring to the pay of senior council officers, I would be much better off than I am now. So I wonder which monkey working for Canterbury City Council devised this little plan?

The council compulsory purchased land to the rear of Cromwell Road, Whitstable, in 1995. It then turned it into what is now known as Bisson's Car Park. Residents who enter the car park to access the rear of their homes received letters from the council informing them if they wanted to continue doing so they would have to pay for it. Amazingly, someone thought it was a good wheeze to attempt to charge local residents £16 a year for a pedestrian licence; £122 a year for a vehicle licence; get everyone to sign a 13-clause licence agreement; and on top of that require each household to purchase £2 million worth of public liability insurance.

It will not surprise you to hear this new licensing scheme was not greeted with universal adulation. One resident thought it must be an April Fool's joke. Another said the idea of paying £16 to walk to the rear of his home was "Pythonesque".

As soon as the complaints started flooding in, the council apologised and promised to review the situation. A spokesman said:
We are sorry residents in Cromwell Road are unhappy. Our intention was to regularise existing access to the rear of their properties by granting access licences across the residents’ car park.

However, concerns have been expressed about the proposal so we are going to pause and take time to discuss the situation with them to allow us to find a way forward that meets the needs of all parties.

We will be contacting the affected residents in the near future.

What on earth does 'regularise existing access to the rear of the properties' mean? Sounds like a plan to extract more cash to me. Why didn't the council discuss the idea with residents first?

There is a lesson here for all councillors. Never let an officer make a decision affecting your ward without you being consulted first.

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