Why Parking Permits?
From 1st April 201, Medway Council abolished visitor parking permits and increased the cost of day tickets from £1 to £2 per ticket. We are concerned that this will have negative consequences for residents for two correlative reasons. Firstly, this disproportionately impacts individuals living in developed urban areas and Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) who do not have the luxury of off-road parking. Some individuals on low income, the elderly, disabled, and other vulnerable residents will have an increased financial burden. The Council have assured us that the increased parking charge are in line with that of other authorities, but nonetheless acknowledge that the average income for Medway residents is below that of neighbouring authorities.
These increased parking fees could easily result in increased social isolation. Government research has shown that up to 85% of young disabled adults feel lonely, and around 200,000 older people have not had a conversations with a friend or relative in over a month. Many Medway residents are unofficial carers or their elderly or disabled relatives., who supplement care provided by the NHS abut cannot officially be the named carer because they work more than 16 hours a week,. This care is often vital the quality of life for vulnerable people, and supports the on going efforts of the NHS to support people living independently. This charge is at risk of limiting the amount of care individuals can provide their relatives, and could even result in an increased burden on NHS services.
What We Did
- The Medway Labour Group staged a protest outside of the Medway Council building.
- We wrote to our local MPs urging them to consider the concerns of the public and take a different approach.
- Residents handed in a petition so open a public consultation, which we supported.
- We held a public meeting for Gillingham residents could share their concerns and ideas about the future of parking.
So far we’ve had partial success; the strength of the public outrage meant that the Conservatives reconsidered their position on informal care and introduced a Resident Support Permit.
However, this does not ease the financial burden for the vast majority of residents, and we will continue to fight this decision.
We will hold more public meetings across Medway so that residents have an opportunity to make their views heard.
A Labour controlled council will reintroduce the Annual Visitor Permit with proper safeguards, because the majority of people shouldn’t suffer because some people abused the system.
"This is a stealth tax that is having a real social and financial impact on our communities." Cllr Andy Stamp, Councillor for Gillingham North and Medway Labour Spokesperson for Communities and Regeneration