Campaigners Win Legal Challenge over Council's Parking Controls

Council now promises to work with Zone J campaign on new solution

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Residents living within Parking Zones J and JJ in Shepherd's Bush claim to have won an important legal challenge over Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s controversial decision to impose 9 am to 9 pm parking controls, seven days a week, on part of their area.

The Zone J Parking Campaign, consisting of a broad coalition of residents, churches, the Mosque and local busineses, are celebrating what they say is a climb down, which could have repercussions for parking controls throughout the Borough.

H&F Council agreed to settle and pay residents' legal costs, rather than face a judicial review in the High Court, which was likely to have declared the scheme unlawful.

The council is now promising to work with the residents on a new solution to the situation.

"Residents asked us to help solve parking problems in the area but when making changes it is often difficult to please everyone," said a council spokesman.

 "We are forming an advisory group with Mr Mills and other residents so we can work together to find the best solution."

David Mills, Zone J Parking Campaign

"This is marvellous news," says David Mills, pictured above, who initiated the legal challenge to the Council’s parking scheme. "It could help residents throughout the borough."

Despite the arrival of Westfield and excluding brief problems on match days at QPR, this part of Shepherd’s Bush has not suffered serious parking problems. Running through it though, is the busy Uxbridge Road, with numerous shops, restaurants and Mosque. Residents living near the Uxbridge Road have suffered real problems.

Over the last eight years the council, has conducted four consultations, all offering extended control hours as the solution. In all four consultations, residents rejected this.

"We didn’t want just to complain about what the Council was offering," says David, "so we set out to research what the best solution might be. We looked at the solutions that have been used in other parts of London which have similar problems."

The campaigners say in all these areas, councils have provided resident-only bays, often alongside shared-bays, for both residents and visitors. Residents can use the shared bays – which often have much shorter control hours than the resident only bays – free of charge.

"It sounds a bit complicated but we think this sort of scheme would provide real help to our ressays Robbin Pierce, who is coordinating the Zone J Parking Campaign opposing the changesidents, while not hurting anyone else," says David. "It would balance the needs of visitors and residents, as fairly as possible, and help everybody."

The Council has been repeatedly asked to offer such a solution, but has always refused.
Then in December 2016, it suddenly introduced 9 am to 9 pm parking hours, seven days a week in part of the area, while leaving hours unchanged in the other. The new parking hours – which have been described as "draconian"– followed a consultation in 2015 in which 59% had voted against the scheme that has now been imposed.

The campaign group says new parking charges have hit the ability of families to care for their elderly and to spend time together – family life has suffered as a result. Parking restrictions have also hit local churches and mosques. It has also hit local churches.

Local Church of England vicar, Rev Bob Mayo of St. Stephens in the Uxbridge Road, has described the Council’s decision as making the area "a meaner and harder place to live".

Robbin Pierce, Parking Zone J Campaign in Shephed's Bush

"When the Council conducted that consultation, it promised that any change would only be implemented if it had the support of the 'majority of residents'," says Robbin Pierce, pictured above, who is coordinating the Zone J Parking Campaign opposing the changes.

"It then completely ignored this. The Council also chose to implement the option of splitting the parking zone in two which had attracted the least support of any option in its consultation. Only 8.6% had voted for this."

The Zone J Parking Campaign – which has set up a website: Zone J Parking Campaign– maintains that in some of the streets with extended controlled hours, it can still be difficult for residents to park, so they are no better off, despite the additional inconvenience and expense they and their visitors are suffering; and in the part of the zone where parking hours have been left as they were, a displacement of parking has occurred, making life much more difficult, as well as causing a big increase in congestion, as drivers circulate looking for places to park.

Fundamentally, the group says, what has been done hasn’t solved the problem. And although it welcomes the promise of a new consultation, there is still some concern.

Robbin says:" We are worried that despite the new consultation, the Council will still not offer what residents want and then try to exploit the confusion this will cause, to re-impose the present scheme.

"Hopefully, we’re wrong about this. We’ve talked to residents and resident groups, we’ve talked to the churches and the Mosque and we have talked to Bush Hall and local shops and restaurants, to come up with a solution.

"Now we want to talk with the council. If they have misgivings let's get them out in the open and discuss them. There have been four failed consultations in the past. Let's make the fifth one a success, by working together."

Parking Zone J in Shepherd's Bush

We have asked the council if they wish to make a comment.

July 10, 2017

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