U-Turn on parking charges in the West End
Controversial plans to charge for parking in Westminster have been halted.
Parking fees were to be rolled out across the central London borough from January, ranging from £2.20 to £4.40 an hour.
But opponents claim that job losses will result by costing firms £714m a year.
Now the Conservative-run council has backed down, until after the Olympic Games at least
No parking charges will be introduced until late in July 2012.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has welcomed the move, following the announcement of a judicial review on the matter set for March.
A judicial review into the parking scheme is thought to be behind the U-turn.
Senior figures on the council had insisted the roll-out would go ahead as recently as last Sunday (December 11).
Westminster Council leader Colin Barrow was defiant in face of the legal challenge.
“The judge rejected 10 of the 12 grounds for judicial review submitted by the applicants, but it does also require us to postpone implementation of the scheme, pending the full hearing.
“We are confident that we will be successful at such a hearing on the strengths of our arguments, the comprehensive consultation and the need to make central London less congested.”
Speaking on radio, Mayor Johnson hailed the decision as “brave and correct.”
“It is very important that the West End should be confident and that businesses should not have any extra burdens,” said Mr Johnson. http://www.london24.com/news/politics/westminster_parking_charge_u_turn_no_fees_from_january_1_1155147