News > Legislation

Richard Caring: Westminster parking charges ‘the dumbest thing I ever heard’

1 commentBy Luke Nicholls , 22-Nov-2011

Related topics: Business, People, Legislation, Restaurants, Hotels, Pubs & Bars

Richard Caring, chairman of Caprice Holdings which manages several West End restaurants including The Ivy and Scott’s, has slammed Westminster City Council’s (WCC) decision to extend car parking charges in the area to midnight Monday to Saturday.

Richard Caring hopes Westminster City Council will 'see sense' over the new parking charges

Richard Caring hopes Westminster City Council will 'see sense' over the new parking charges

The new charges will take effect on 9 January 2012, meaning drivers will no longer be able to park for free in the borough after 6.30pm or leave cars on single yellow lines. Parking fees in some areas could be as high as £4.80 an hour – an annual cost of over £1200.

“It’s the dumbest thing I ever heard,” Caring said. “I wish I was allowed to call it fraudulent. The council is not allowed to increase parking charges just for money' sake, but that's why they are doing it.

“The council is trying to raise £7m because they've been given budget cuts by the government. It's a very short-sighted, inane move because it will cost them an awful lot more in damage to businesses in the West End of London – dramatically so.”

Continued opposition

Earlier this year and prior to WCC deciding to go ahead with plans, the British hospitality Association (BHA) wrote a letter to WCC deputy leader Robert Davis voicing the 'massive concerns' of restaurant and pub operators in the area.

And, following continued opposition from top chefs, night-time workers and even London Mayor Boris Johnson, WCC is being taken to the high court in the biggest legal challenge of its kind. The council is accused of having made up its mind to introduce the charges before proper consultation.

“The scheme is being carried along by two or three councillors who don't want to listen to anybody,” added Caring. “The Mayor is against it, the Transport Minister is against it, residents and businesses are against it.

“Hopefully they'll see sense.”

Westminster City Council told BigHospitality that the decision had been made because Westminster's roads are becoming increasingly congested at night. Councillor Colin Barrow, leader of Westminster City Council, said: "There are 17 different uses for our kerbside, and while the street spaces are finite, the demand to use them has increased. For example, we now know that roads in the West End are busier at 10pm than at 10am, and that the odds of finding a parking space on a Sunday in some parts of the West End are fewer than one in ten."

He said a wide range of business organisations, including the CBI had noted the negative impacts of congestion, adding: "We think that less congested streets will be better for business and healthier for workers, visitors and local people.We appreciate that this is an unpopular decision in some quarters. We are charging at times when parking was previously free, but we have a duty to manage the roads effectively and this is the first major review and change in policy that we have undertaken in ten years."

1 comment (Comments are now closed)

What a joke.

Barrow and Rowley are clearly incompetent, and need to either resign or get kicked out of the Tory party. Either way they won't get voted in at the next local election...reminiscent of Ken at his most odious.

On a positive note, be interesting to see their faces on election night!

Report abuse

Posted by Dave
23 November 2011 | 22h49


National Restaurateurs’ Dinner 2014: in pictures

National Restaurateurs’ Dinner 2014: in pictures

The 27th National Restaurateurs’ Dinner (NRD) took place at the Dorchester on Tuesday, helping raise over £80,000 for...

Travellers’ Choice: Top 10 UK tourism hotspots

Travellers’ Choice: Top 10 UK tourism hotspots

London is the third-best travel destination in the world, according to TripAdvisor’s sixth annual Travellers’ Choice awards...

#AskMark: Our inspiring Twitter Q&A with Mark Sargeant reviewed

#AskMark: Our inspiring Twitter Q&A with Mark Sargeant reviewed

Whether it was his advice for young chefs, his memories of working with Gordon Ramsay or his...

Business Profile: Ping Pong

Business Profile: Ping Pong

Ping Pong’s change-of-location strategy and design brief move it a step closer to bringing dim sum to...

Development Chef Awards 2014: In Pictures

Development Chef Awards 2014: In Pictures

The Farm Frites Development Chef Awards 2014 took place in London yesterday, recognising and rewarding the best menus, dishes...

Find us on Facebook

Digital Edition - Restaurant Magazine

Access to the Restaurant Magazine digital edition