This evening, Cllr Joanna Dabrowska moved an opposition motion to save the free ‘stop and shop’ bays. You can read the full motion here.
Here is Cllr Dabrowska’s speech:
Mr Mayor, I would like to move the motion in my name.
When I first saw the proposal in the cabinet papers earlier this year, I was rather surprised at the idea and then in my second thought, I wasn’t surprised. The Labour administration firstly is proud that we have the High Street of the Year in the borough, then it proposes to kill it. I don’t call that strategy.
Currently, parking bays along high streets allow a certain amount of free time with payable extended time. The Local Implementation Plan cabinet report admits itself that the free stop and shop bays were implemented to encourage passing motorists to use local businesses. A significant percentage of trade to local businesses is to due to passing trade. Whilst I am not disagreeing with the fact that many customers would walk or cycle to their local high street, however, the high street is already suffering due to a channel shift away to online shopping. The incremental yet significant slice of additional trade brought in by Ealing motorists or passing visitors could be the make or break of a local business.
I presented my case at the Call-in last month, there was a lot of concern amongst the Overview & Scrutiny members, yet the Labour members still voted for the scrapping of these free stop and shop bay. Say one thing, do another.
Did the Council carry out surveys and research what percentage is passing trade in each of our numerous shopping parades and high streets?
If so, did the Council find out whether the passing trade, would they visit the high street if the free parking was eliminated or would they give up altogether?
The Council has agreed this proposal without any consultation with residents and most importantly, those local businesses that are affected. Ask yourselves, wouldn’t you want to be consulted on proposals that affect you and quite possibly ruin your livelihood?
The portfolio holder mentions there will be a consultation now, why didn’t he say this in the cabinet paper in February?
I don’t disagree with the part of reducing air pollution and congestion in the borough, however, you have introduced the emissions-led CPZ permits and the forthcoming ULEZ in 2021 is a community divisive initiative, together with the removal of the free time in Stop and Shop Bays, basically, is a triple tax on the motorist and the end of the High Street. In many cases, you will be pushing shoppers to visit large supermarkets and hypermarkets taking away vital trade from the local shopping areas. It will push them to other boroughs where parking is more accessible.
And again such as the CPZ permit pricing changes, you’re effectively discriminating across the income divide. The rich and wealthy of this borough will be able to afford to stop and shop, yet those who don’t have the disposable income to fork out to be able to park up by local shops will be deterred in supporting our local shopping economy.
Local councils should be making lives easier for residents and local businesses not harder! You heard [earlier petitioners] how passionate local businesses feel about the Council’s proposal. Do you really want our local shopping areas to be like ghost towns?
I urge this Council to leave the free stop and shop bays alone and support my motion.
Summing up speech:
I welcome the consultation amendment of the LIP strategy, however, instead the Administration is killing the local economy.
I would like to see air quality reduction measures that are egalitarian for the whole of the community and not where the rich can afford it and those who can’t afford it get penalised improportionally.
Car ownership is sometimes necessary and not treated as a luxury. It seems that the Administration has already made up its mind.
Stop using residents as cash cows.