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Protests continue as Westminster Council tries to hang on to bike parking tax
Thousands of bikers are expected to descend on Piccadilly Circus, Haymarket and Regent Street on the evening of Tuesday 9th June in continued protests against the controversial motorcycle parking tax introduced under the stewardship of Cllr. Danny Chalkley, despite attempts by the council to push through a permanent charge by altering the scheme.
This month WCC announced that it would drop the £150/year, or £1.50/day, charge to £1, or £100/year, and make spaces in it’s car parks free. This has drawn criticism from protestors, and other Westminster Councillors, who have called the alterations ‘back to front’, ‘plainly ridiculous’, ‘arrogant’, ‘desperate’, and ‘an empty and meaningless gesture’, as the scheme would still net millions for ‘improvements’ that have already been covered by existing takings.
Spaces in car parks have historically had a lower uptake, and many of the car spaces being converted were of minimal use due to the congestion charge. Campaigners have often stressed that indoor parking would be one of the areas where charging could have been justified, and accused Cllr. Chalkley of playing politics rather than addressing the concerns of protestors.
Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group in WCC, said last month:
"The Council's position is looking sillier with every day that passes. How can it be fair or make financial sense to offer free motorbike parking in expensively-run car parks and yet charge motorbike owners to park in the street?"
Warren Djanogly, chairman of the campaign against the tax, said:
“I’d love to visit planet Chalkley, but I doubt I’d be able to afford the parking. His actions are those of a man who,  in his desperation to save face, would rather risk the reputation of one of the finest  Councils in the world rather than admit when he is wrong, in what can only be seen as petulant stubbornness." 

Warren also highlighted the problems with the controversial pay-by-phone system, and the risks to riders:

“Chalkley claims that cash-less parking charging has one of its roots in Eastern European Mafia attacks on the cash-machines, and yet he's content in exposing the most vulnerable of road-users, of which over 40% are women, to publicly display their mobile phones and credit cards whilst announcing the details to the world.”
Press Spokesman for the Campaign, Charlie Lort-Phillips, said today:
“WCC have tried to brush the concerns of these protestors under the carpet, without seeing that the very principal they are setting is the cause of the anger. If this charge is taken up by boroughs across the capital, motorbike use will plummet. That would be ultimately detrimental to the capital as a whole, and bring yet more pressure to bear on public transport. WCC’s utter inability to foresee the consequences of their greed has fuelled the anger of those joining us on the street this week.”
Over 3000 protestors brought Central London to a standstill on the 11th May, in addition to over 4000 who rallied outside City Hall on 31st March.
“This council have made millions out of those who are doing their bit to alleviate congestion,” said Warren “If they want to charge us like cars, we can congest like cars. We are not going away, we will prevail, and this tax will be stopped.”

A map of the route can be found here:


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