London council reject bikers’ objections in parking permit spat

Six questions sent by motorcyclists in Hackney for a council meeting were rejected amid disputes over parking charges for bikes in the London borough

Several motorcycles parked int eh same space as one car. - Save London Motorcycling

Questions submitted by motorcyclists for a Hackney Council meeting have been rejected ahead of the meeting.

A total of six questions posed by Hackney-based motorcyclists were rejected by the Council for the meeting set for today (27 September 2023), which follows a period of ‘park like a car’ protests organised by Save London Motorcycling, who argue that motorcycles should not have to pay as much for parking because they do not take up as much space as a car. 

In response to the protests, Hackney Council urged motorcyclists to park 90 degrees to the kerb out of courtesy for other road users. 

The meeting scheduled for today is set within the consultation process on the motorcycle parking charges that have been proposed in Hackney since 2021. Save London Motorcycling posits that the Labour-led council is ignoring the democratic process. 

George Dennison, owner of the Motoden motorcycle dealer and training school in Hackney, asserted that he had not been contacted by Hackney Council despite the Council’s claiming it had worked with motorcycle-related businesses across the borough to minimise the impact of the introduction of the charges. 

Mr. Dennison said: “The Council claim to have worked with motorcycle-related businesses on their plans but this is completely untrue. I've had no direct contact from anyone at Hackney Council about motorcycle parking charges. This will have a drastic impact on my business, our thousands of customers and the 30 people who work across Motoden sites. I'd like to know which motorcycle business they did consult with as they’ve come nowhere near me.”

The charges have attracted opposition not only from Hackney residents but also from members of the Council itself, including Conservative Councillor Simche Steinberger, who said: “The fact that they have given in questions and had them not accepted shows the lack of democratic process under this Labour regime.”

Cllr Steinberger, who opposes the charges, added, “It looks like this is the only way for the Council to push on with these unacceptable new parking charges for motorbikes.”

The justification given by Hackney Council for rejecting the questions for the 27 September meeting was that many of them had been asked within six months, specifically at a meeting on 27 March 2023. Save London Motorcycling contests this point, saying that the 27 March meeting took place six months and one hour before the 27 September meeting (because of the time zone change from GMT to BST). 

That 27 March meeting saw a petition of 8,000 signatures presented by campaigners to the Council, who the campaigners say ignored their concerns.

Below is the list of questions submitted to Hackney Council that were rejected:

“When the Council consulted on motorcycle parking charges in 2020 the only price the Council presented was that charges would be “£5 a month for most motorcycle riders”. This was repeated in subsequent communication. Will the Councillor correct the record to clarify that this price was not correct?”

“In recent public communication and emails to constituents Councillor Coban has chosen repeatedly to only reference prices that “start at 6p per hour” for visitor motorcycle parking under the proposed motorcycle parking charges. Can the Councillor clarify where exactly in the Borough this price would apply and in which years?”

“When Council originally consulted on charging for motorcycle parking they untruthfully told prospective respondents motorcycles were much more polluting than cars. Since respondents were therefore misled, what efforts has Council made to inform respondents of their error in case they might amend their responses in light of accurate information?”

“Council justifies their proposed motorcycle parking charges by claiming they will bring Hackney into line with other boroughs. Will Council correct the record to reflect the fact that the proposed charges are so much higher than other boroughs that they exceed the total charges of all London Boroughs added together.”

“Council claimed that they ‘worked with motorcycle related businesses across the borough’ to ensure motorcycle parking charges would have ‘minimal impact’. Can the Cllr explain why as the owner of one of the largest motorcycle dealers and training schools in London I had no contact from the Council about this?”

“The Councillor told the Scrutiny panel, and repeated on BBC radio, that proposed visitor motorbike parking charges would mostly affect motorcyclists riding in Hackney for leisure. What evidence is there to support this claim, since most PTW riders are low paid residents and workers, relying on motorcycles for their livelihoods?”

Image credit: Save London Motorcycling.