Westminster City Council has decided to postpone the implementation of its controversial parking reforms until after next year’s Olympic Games.
The decision to push back the changes in parking rates, which were due to be applied to evening and weekends, comes following a High Court ruling indicating that a judicial review exploring Westminster City Council’s consultation process could be held.
The changes, which have been rallied against by many West End businesses, theatres and performers, were due to be implemented from 9 January and would have seen charges from £2.20 to £4.40 an hour applied until midnight Monday to Saturday and from 13:00 to 18:00 on Sundays.
Speaking about the decision, Cllr Colin Barrow, Leader of the Council, said: “London faces many challenges in 2012 and we do not wish this public debate to become a distraction to preparations for the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. Westminster has an important part to play in both these national celebrations and will be devoting substantial effort to making them both a success. As a result of this we have decided to postpone implementation of the new hours of control until after the Olympics even if we are successful at the Judicial Review hearing [to be held in March].
“We will of course use the intervening period to discuss our policy and continue to listen to the concerns of residents, visitors and businesses who like us want to see congestion reduced while sustaining the economy. And we will continue to work every day to make the heart of London experience cleaner, safer and more vibrant.”
Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre, commented: “SOLT welcomes the news from Westminster City Council that it will postpone the proposed parking changes until after the Olympics, and urges them to use this time to discuss the way forward with the businesses that would have been affected by the changes. We remain opposed to the proposals, and look forward to being able to continue to share our concerns further with councillors.”
Today’s announcement is the second time Westminster has moved to postpone the parking changes, which were originally set to be introduced this month.