Parking Campaign should Pay to Display
I’m asked to do all sorts of stuff as Telford Live. I share lots of things people make me aware of, and always happy to give the underdog a leg up if they are trying. I wrote a piece on how to get your events shared on Social Media which has everything you need to help others to help you.
Last week a request on Facebook from a Borough Councillor came though inviting me to write a piece about a campaign by local Conservatives to pass over parking enforcement to Telford & Wrekin Council. Generally in these cases, I’d get a write up or press release with a photo that I’d edit down and then publish online. Not this time. I was expected to write my own. Fair enough, I set about researching the piece.
Parking is my specialist subject.
Parking is one of my aces. Although my posting rate has diminished of late, I can’t help but snap #crapparking and give scores out of ten. The Conservative association locally have created a website to help promote their campaign and that’s where I started to research the piece I was going to write, and where it all started to go wrong: www.parkingintelford.co.uk
I clicked on the ‘Why’ page and the first thing I noticed was a picture I took of dreadful parking in Wellington. They hadn’t asked to use it, they had taken it from my social media feed or lifted it straight from the telford-live.com website. Not a great start, and not endearing me to their cause.
I then wondered where the other three pictures came from. One by one I traced the pictures and this is where it gets even worse. None of them are in Telford. Not one. I doubt very much that permission was given to use these photos either.
Picture 2 is from Birmingham, and it appeared in a story in the Birmingham Mail about a driver who blocked a load of cars in a car park.
Picture 3 is Cavalry Street and featured in the Cambridge Times online.
Picture 4 is used in an internet meme that features a badly parked Mondeo and likens it playing fretless bass. Not having lines to help!
I asked the Borough Councillor/Conservative group for a comment: ‘The images were taken from Google as an example of irresponsible parking, I did intend to cause any upset nor realised that permission was needed as they were on the WWW with no copy-rights detailed. I am really sorry for this and will take down immediately.”
We all use stock images from time to time, but to illustrate how bad parking is in Telford, you have thought that photographs like this are easy to come by. In fact I know they are. I could take a walk down Dawley High Street, around Wellington or Madeley and find half a dozen examples without even trying. Not the first time our representatives have got a little mixed up knowing where Telford stops and the rest of the world begins.
I’d have more sympathy if it were a parish or town councillor who work for free, but in Telford, the basic allowance for a Borough Councillor is just short of £8,000 per annum. We deserve better.
2 thoughts on “Parking Campaign should Pay to Display”
Oh dear, what a mess the Tories are making of this..
Although I do have sympathies about parking (I have personally been responsible for campaigning for the introduction of yellow lines in some congested parts of Telford). I certainly won’t sign this petition as it is far too vague in its proposals and seems to propose that T&WC should rush into a decision?
I have a lot of experience and great concerns about the appalling state of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE), particularly in the South East where Councils initially viewed CPE as a cash cow. I have significant worries that many of those issues would simply be duplicated by a cash-strapped Telford and Wrekin Council.
My concerns are as follows;
1) Would the supervision of the CPE scheme be farmed out to a private parking company who would potentially have a monetary interest in inflating the number of tickets issued (whether valid or not!)?
What provisions would be put in place to take a private company to task over abusive practices given that the British Parking Consortium (BPC) is a protectionist organisation and its ombudsmen services are frankly not fit for purpose. This concern can be demonstrated by the OPC parking company (once operating (abusively) on Colliers Way, Telford). OPC was a member of the BPC and despite ridiculously large numbers of complaints against them was only expelled following a successful legal prosecution by Wolverhampton Trading Standards which effectively bankrupted the owner.
2) If employed by the council would enforcement officers be paid bonuses based on the number of tickets issued (whether valid or not!)?
What level of oversight would there be of these officers?
Would there be policy for a reduction in fine (or bribe) to convince those receiving a ticket that it was easier to just pay the reduced fine within a set period rather than go through the laborious process of disputing a wrongly issued ticket and potentially paying the full amount?
3) Would there be an on street parking scheme where you needed a permit to park outside your own house or your visitors would need to make a payment to park adjacent to your property?
My personal experience of parking enforcement officers is that they will place tickets at random on the basis that it is a numbers game and that large numbers of people will feel threatened enough to pay a fine even if they are not technically at fault. Obviously if your pay is affected by the number of tickets paid you have an incentive to do this!
I would hope that ten years on from the change in law which allowed Council’s to take control of Civil Parking Enforcement that T&WC would take its time to look at the considerable errors of other councils and avoid those same mistakes. However having discussed this with both a local Conservative councillor and several Council employees, none of them gave me a whole lot of confidence that the above points were likely to be taken seriously or even addressed in the review?
Sadly this is another example of the local Tories telling us what we want without asking us. CPE could work but only if the majority are behind it. Most dont know what it is. Again it’s all transmit and no receive. The attempt to get CPE must not become a political battle.