Correspondence with Cllr Brian Coleman (Barnet)
25th & 26th February 2012


Purchasing my life on eBay and working full time means I regularly visit the Royal Mail sorting office to collect my packages. I become frustrated that I am usually there for a maximum of three minutes, yet have to pay £1 for 30 minutes parking, or park illegally in a 'Residents only' bay. As such, I decided to write to the council with a suggestion. After not getting anywhere with the council I started a petition which I later submitted to Cllr Brian Coleman (the councillor in charge of parking in Barnet). You can see his abrupt email responses below.

The Finchley Times website has written a story about Cllr Colemans dismissive emails. You can read this story here.

Additionally, you may like to sign a petition calling to discuss all parking in the Barnet Borough. If they receive 7000 signatures then we will force a full council debate on the issue, where they can get East Finchley councillors to argue for a 10 minute rule. The petition is at http://www.betterbarnet.org.uk - the deadline for signatures is fast approaching though.




________________________________________
From: Coleman, Cllr Brian Conservative [mailto:Cllr.B.Coleman@barnet.gov.uk]
Sent: 26 February 2012 20:56
To: Gary Sakol
Subject: RE: Parking at Royal Mail Sorting Office, Lodge Lane

I think this correspondence is now closed thank you

________________________________________
From: Gary Sakol [mailto:gary@sakol.co.uk]
Sent: 26 February 2012 20:51
To: Coleman, Cllr Brian Conservative
Cc: Wharfe, Pam; 'FREER, Mike'; Grinter, Karen; sean.birch@camden.gov.uk
Subject: RE: Parking at Royal Mail Sorting Office, Lodge Lane

Dear Cllr Coleman,

Firstly – many thanks for the quick response. It was extremely refreshing to hear back from you so soon – especially as it took Karen Grinter at the Council approximately a month to get back to me after each email.

Secondly, I have to be honest and tell you – I found your email extremely abrupt and quite rude. I shared it with my friends and family to ensure that I wasn’t reading into it in a different way from how it was intended, but they also agreed with me. This was quite disappointing. I was under the impression that Councilors were there to help ensure the residents of a borough were happy and that their needs are met. To clarify this I googled the question ‘role of a councillor’. Whilst there was no description I could find directly from the Barnet Council, the Barnet website does link you to the website http://www.beacouncillor.org.uk/. From here I downloaded the ‘Guide to becoming a councillor’ which states:
What do councillors do? “Councillors are elected to the local council to represent their local community”. “You will be in a position to make a difference to the quality of other people’s daily lives”.
As you can see – I feel I have every right to be upset by your dismissive email.

Regardless, in answer to the points in your email:
• I would be very surprised if there was a considerable loss of revenue. I visit the post office approximately 3-4 times a week and from what I can tell people tend to illegally park (in the ‘residents only’ bays) as opposed to paying and displaying. I would be very interested to know the annual income from the pay and display meters on the corner of Lodge Lane and Gainsborough Road. Is this information you can provide to me?
• Regarding the practicality of judging the 10 minutes, clearly I am not an expert. However I imagine this is more of a deterrent for people not to park there for the whole day. I would not imagine there would be strict enforcement (similarly to how there is not a warden present at all times on the residents only bays). However you may wish to ask Cllr Sean Birch (cc’d) who is the Councillor for Transport in the Camden area. From what I understand this includes parking, however I may be wrong. The reason I mention that you may wish to ask Cllr Birch is because the ’10 minutes, no return within an hour’ scheme operates extremely effectively in his borough. I have attached a photo of an example of one of these signs in his borough. I used to live outside the parking bay of the attached photo and can confirm that cars did indeed stop there to run into shops, yet were never there for a substantial period of time. If Camden Borough can do it, surely Barnet Borough can too?
• I have no objection with this happening in Dollis Park or other such premises. However as I frequent Lodge Lane I chose this premise as my ‘battle’. I know that if this type of bay was implemented on a wider scale throughout the borough I would be far more inclined to go shopping on the high street rather than purchase all my items on eBay (which is why I frequent the post office 3 to 4 times a week). It is the thought of having to pay for pay and display parking that makes me never visit the high street for my every day items, despite it being only a few minutes drive away.
• I am extremely disappointed that you categorically will not be considering this suggestion – especially without further looking into the issue / further consultation (I have made this assumption based on the fact that I emailed you on a Saturday and you replied on a Sunday – but of course I may be wrong). I am also disappointed considering at least 290 other residents in the Borough also deemed it a good idea.

I look forward to your reply.

Regards,



Gary Sakol
gary@sakol.co.uk
________________________________________
From: Coleman, Cllr Brian Conservative [mailto:Cllr.B.Coleman@barnet.gov.uk]
Sent: 26 February 2012 14:23
To: Gary Sakol
Cc: Wharfe, Pam; FREER, Mike; Grinter, Karen
Subject: RE: Parking at Royal Mail Sorting Office, Lodge Lane

These sort of suggestions are entirely unworkable , never mind the loss of revenue .

How do you practically manage to judge the 10 mins ? It would require a warden to be present at all times or camera enforcement ( which we don’t do in this Borough)

Why Lodge Lane depot and not Dollis Park or other such premises in the Borough ?

I am afraid we will not be considering this suggestion
Kind regards

________________________________________
From: Gary Sakol [mailto:gary@sakol.co.uk]
Sent: 25 February 2012 14:44
To: Coleman, Cllr Brian Conservative
Cc: Wharfe, Pam; 'FREER, Mike'; Grinter, Karen; Highways Correspondence
Subject: Parking at Royal Mail Sorting Office, Lodge Lane

Dear Cllr Brian Coleman,

My name is Gary Sakol of *******************, Finchley, London, N12 0AW.


• On 6th November 2011 I emailed Barnet Council suggesting that “they change part of the parking bays outside of the Sorting Office on Lodge Lane to include one bay that is a ’10 minute free parking’ option. This would allow people to collect their items from the post office without having to double park / pay £1 for 30 minutes on the ‘pay and display’.”.

• I received a reply on 14th December 2011 from Karen Grinter saying that my “comments will be held on file and will be included for consideration as part of the ongoing town centre improvement investigations.”.

• I replied on the 14th December 2011 saying: “The royal mail sorting office on Lodge Lane is quite a distance from the high street. As such I believe this issue should be looked at in isolation.”.

• Ms Grinter then replied once more on 10th January 2012 stating: “Unfortunately when it comes to making changes to the parking layout within the borough these types of schemes have been affected by political and budgetary constraints. Resources are limited and as the council receives many requests for changes to be made to the parking situation throughout the borough, we have the responsibility to ensure that our resources are used effectively.”.


As a result of the disappointing response from the council I took the liberty of setting up a petition and placing it in the Royal Mail Sorting Office of Lodge Lane for signatures.
The petition states:
Petition to create a free Parking Bay
Royal Mail Sorting Office, Lodge Lane
Nb. This petition has been created by a private individual – not Royal Mail.
We, the undersigned, urge Barnet Council to change the parking restrictions outside
the Royal Mail sorting office on Lodge Lane (Finchley) to include at least one parking bay that is:
‘10 minutes free parking, no return within an hour’ (or similar).
This will enable us (local residents) to pick up our post without paying a minimum of
£1 for 30 minutes parking / illegally parking.


The petition was placed in the Sorting office in the afternoon of the 11th January 2012 and stayed there until Royal Mail asked me to remove it on 31st January 2012.
In the 20 days the petition was available to sign it amassed 290 signatures (an average of 16.1 signatures per working day).
Even in the last (full) day the petition was available to sign, it still received 15 signatures - even after 20 days, the petition was now slowing down. Had Royal Mail allowed me to keep the petition out for a longer period of time I have no doubt that the number of signatures would have doubled.

As such, I would like to ask you – as the Councillor in charge of parking – to give serious consideration to this matter.

I have attached a copy of the petition for your reference.

I look forward to your swift response.

Regards,


Gary Sakol
gary@sakol.co.uk