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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Carry on Parking

This great parking row in the West End...I have, in my past professional life, had a great many meetings with the parking and transport teams at Westminster City Council. No, wait come back, this is actually interesting. Let me tell you a secret. Boris Johnson does not run London. Westminster City Council runs London - the parts of London that most tourists think of as London, in any case. Westminster itself, the West End, Soho, Chinatown, Covent Garden - it is a world-class operation, managing the built environment, transport and public safety in the world's greatest metropolis. Some of these people are giants among their peers in other world cities.

So what's up with this parking row? I don't know. I haven't read the council papers detailing the proposed new charges. It does seem an awful shame that the West End's varied business leaders are up in arms against the City Council, when Westminster is normally the West End's greatest champion.

If a utility company was imposing these charges while undertaking West End streetworks, the City Council would be livid. Surely there is some way of reaching a compromise? Could people working in the West End not be given parking permits for parts of the City of Westminster? Has the City Council mislaid the carrot that normally goes with its stick? I hope that Westminster soon recovers the negotiating skill that has always been its hallmark.

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