Parking in our district is currently in the headlines. But something most of you didn’t know, and don’t know, is the Council is yet again in breach of the law and the Monitoring Officer Amandeep Khroud (in pink -pictured) is NOT issuing a s5 report, for reasons unknown.
Section 5 of the Local Government & Housing Act 1989 requires the Council to appoint an Officer to act as the Council’s Monitoring Officer. The Act provides that it is the personal duty of the Monitoring Officer to report formally to the Council on any proposal, decision or omission by the Council, which has given rise to, or is likely to, or would, give rise to, the contravention of any enactment, rule of law or statutory code of practice.
Both the breach of the law and the contravention of the Code by an officer trigger the Monitoring Officer’s duty to make a Report under Section 5 of LGHA 1989.
The Transparency Code 2015 states at page 20:
Local authorities must publish on their website, or place a link on their website to this data if published elsewhere:
a breakdown of income and expenditure on the authority’s parking account. The breakdown of income must include details of revenue collected from onstreet parking, off-street parking and Penalty Charge Notices, and a breakdown of how the authority has spent a surplus on its parking account.
Local authorities must publish the number of marked out controlled on and off-street parking spaces within their area, or an estimate of the number of spaces where controlled parking space is not marked out in individual parking bays or spaces.
Local authorities are required to publish their parking account in accordance with Section 55 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 as modified by Regulation 25 of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007. Also local authorities should also have regard to, The Secretary of State’s Statutory Guidance to Local Authorities on the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions.
Now the Council have stated they’d use the money from the increased revenue from their parking proposal to plug the council’s budget deficit, but that cannot happen. Any surplus can fund public transport services, road improvements and local environmental improvements. “Environmental improvement” is defined in a broad sense to encompass recreational or scenic improvements. But as we know the Council have not made any surplus for On Street Parking since 2017/18.
Our Green led coalition like the last Tory administration are not complying with the law or the statutory guidance and the monitoring officer Amandeep Khroud is not doing anything.. They too are misleading you the public as they cannot use any money to plug their deficit, as they make no money from on street parking.
The Cllr responsible for on and off street parking is Cllr Polly Blakemore (Green).
We’d ask her why she as the Cabinet member responsible for on street parking, why the Council is not complying with the Transparency Code 2015.
Also we’d ask Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem), Cabinet Member for Finance and Deputy Leader, how it is that on street parking makes no money, and even it it did, how he’d use the surplus to plug the £18.5m deficit the council have.
Any way what we can say is that Cllr Blakemore and Cllr Jim Martin Leader of the Council have today at the meeting of the Cabinet at 5pm, withdrawn the proposals to introduce parking charges across Folkestone, Sandgate, Hythe & New Romney.
This does not mean its the end of the parking charges proposals across the high streets of Folkestone, Sandgate, Hythe & New Romney. More the fact they’ll probably go away and look at them again more sensibly.
Before that happens let’s hope the Council get around to complying with their legal responsibilities as per the Transparency Code 2015 and publish the data they must. If that doesn’t happen lets hope the Monitoring Officer – Amandeep Khroud will issue a s5 report for a breach of the law and the statutory guidance. We are not though holding our breath.
Finally the Greens have told us they’ll be different from the Tories, so let them prove it by publishing the on street parking data.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is Not a Crime