Watch the parking meters

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Watch the parking meters

Post  eddie on Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:30 pm

Vandals blow up parking meters
Press Association


Vandals are targeting parking meters in Lewes, East Sussex

Vandals armed with explosives have restarted a dangerous campaign of blowing up parking meters in a historic market town.

Fourteen machines have been attacked in Lewes, East Sussex, since mid-September, causing more than £20,000 of damage.

Police chiefs and councillors say they are amazed no one has been injured and warned whoever is responsible that they could face jail.

The town - famous for its large annual Guy Fawkes night display - has been targeted by vandals systematically blowing up meters in the past. It started in 2004 after the local council introduced on-street parking charges following complaints of congestion in the county town's narrow streets.

In the two years that followed, the culprits caused £300,000 damage by destroying more than 200 meters, leading to higher permit charges and increased pay and display parking costs for residents and visitors.

Now it appears the dangerous and costly campaign has intensified again, with one machine - in Southover High Street - being completely destroyed. Others will be repaired or have been fixed already. No money has been stolen from the machines, which are valued at about £3,000 each.

A reward of £1,250 has been put up by East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police and Lewes District Council for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Chief Inspector Natalie Moloney, Lewes district policing commander, said: "I can't believe anyone would be so reckless as to carry out such potentially dangerous acts. I'm amazed someone hasn't been injured.

"This is a serious spree of costly vandalism and we are determined to find out who is responsible. Someone knows who is doing this and it is important that they help us put a stop to it now before someone gets seriously injured."

Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

eddie
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Re: Watch the parking meters

Post  eddie on Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:34 pm

Prime suspect:


Paul Newman as Cool Hand Luke.

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Re: Watch the parking meters

Post  eddie on Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:41 pm

Hang on a minute, Charlie Watts lives in Lewes, doesn't he?
Suspect


Suspicious loiterer.

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Re: Watch the parking meters

Post  eddie on Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:59 pm

There's uproar in London at Westminster City council's latest attempts to fleece the theatre-going public by imposing extortionate parking fees.
****************************************************************************************************************
Westminster in 'war on drivers'

14 Nov 2011, London Evening Standard

Charges 'certain to hit West End's economy'


A transport minister accused Westminster council today of waging "war on motorists" with new evening and weekend parking charges.

In a dramatic escalation of the Government's attack on the Tory town hall, Norman Baker branded the new fees "vindictive".

He told the Standard: "These charges appear to be less about controlling parking and more about raising money for the council."

Warning of a backlash, he added: "They look close to vindictive in nature. You might even say that they constitute a war on the motorist."

The plan has been called a "tax on nightlife" and is opposed by Boris Johnson, the Government, Labour, Lib-Dem and Conservative MPs, theatres, restaurants and other businesses.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said all "business-friendly" councils should ensure they properly consider the impact of their policies on firms struggling in the economic crisis.

Camden said the charges could turn areas of their neighbouring borough into a "car park".

Economists warned of the "negative impact" on the West End's £50 billion economy.

The Conservatives have tried to change the perception that the Government is over zealous in targeting drivers to raise millions in fines and charges.

But Westminster city council's actions will fuel accusations that motorists are again being used as "cash cows" to plug shortfalls as spending cuts bite.

The council is planning to abolish free parking on single yellow lines and parking bays between 6.30pm and midnight Monday to Saturday, and between 1pm and 6pm on Sundays. Parking will cost up to £4.80 per hour in bays.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has already piled pressure on the town hall to reconsider its plans.

Westminster has been warned by the Government and other legal experts that the new charges in the West End may be unlawful if it can be proved that they are being brought in to rake in millions from drivers.

Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry said: "The timing of these new charges will lead many people to believe that they are being introduced to raise revenue rather than deal with congestion.

"Westminster council needs to be confident that it can persuade a court, if challenged, that these charges are primarily in order to meet their transport aims rather than fill a black hole in the council's coffers."

The local authority insists that its proposal is legal and that it is being done to tackle congestion and ensure safety.

But its opponents are warning that the charges will hit trade as the economic crisis deepens, put women at risk as they may no longer drive into central London and discriminate against poor people by making it harder for them to enjoy West End nightlife.

Lee Rowley of Westminster council said: "Mr Baker has previously stressed that parking charges are a matter for local authorities and not something for the Government to intervene in."

Council leader Colin Barrow said: "We know that some roads in the West End are now busier at 10pm than at 10am.

"We also know that a wide range of business organisations including the CBI have noted the negative impacts of congestion and therefore, taken together, we believe that now is the right time to act. We think that less traffic on the streets will be better for business and healthier for workers, visitors and local people."

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