An effect of London’s congestion charge which has maybe taken longer to wash through than might have been expected is a likely decision by Westminster Council to close some car parks and sell them for housing. An Evening Standard report (11 May) quoted on the NewMobilityCafe mailing list says that Westminster Council owns 14 car parks – and that private car use of them has fallen 30%.

Westminster Deputy leader Colin Barrow is quoted: “”The congestion charge has meant that fewer people are driving into town and the result has been some very empty car parks.” The land is worth £65m as car parks, rather more for housing development. Outcome, of course, is a cycle through which even those motorists willing to pay the C-Charge as a price for coming into the centre are discouraged because of the additional time taken because of the increased difficulty in parking. Westminster Council is incentivised to consider the move because of a desire to keep its council charge down and by improved performance assessment outcomes.