Thursday, 17 March 2011

Car Clubs

The Council has announced its consultation on new parking charges, and basically it seems very similar to their previous ideas, except (I think) cars from car clubs can now park anywhere. I don't know whether this means their own spaces will be scrapped. I asked the council about their relationship with the Car Clubs and they kindly sent me this briefing note. Apologies for the formatting. I should add that I'm a bit of a sceptic about car clubs, and still would like to know (if it is possible) how many journeys those 3,000 (can it be true?) residents make. But if there are only 45 cars, and no money has been given it seems a reasonable scheme. This briefing paper I found very helpful.

Briefing note– Car Clubs
1. General
Car clubs have been around for a number of years. There are a number of clubs but 2 operate using “on street” parking bays in Brent. They are:
(i) City Car Club:

Brent contact: Mr J Hampson
(ii) Streetcar:
Brent contact: Mr J Finlayson

Car clubs are commercial operations and the Council has no information about their operating margins, profits or employee salaries. Aside from any information that may be available through a Companies House search this information would be commercially sensitive.
Car clubs are essentially variants of car hire operations that offer vehicles for shorter hire periods from remote (from their offices) local bases. These bases (or bays) are located off street and on street. The ratio between on and off street provision varies but is believed generally to be 60/40 (60% off street, 40% on street).
Car clubs and their membership terms are not confined to Borough boundaries.
2. Car clubs in Brent
There are an estimated 3000 car club members in Brent and 42 “on street” car club parking bays. Most of the bays are located in the south of the Borough, where there is greatest demand/membership, at the locations shown in the table below:
Ward Mapesbury Kilburn Queens Park Kensal Green Brondesbury
Wren Ave
Station Parade
Ashford Rd
Dawlish Rd Glengall Rd
Victoria Rd
Coventry Close
Canterbury Tce
Chichester Rd
Chippenham Gdns
Burrows Rd
Liddell Gdns
Dundonald Rd
Harvist Rd
Lonsdale Rd
Salusbury Rd
Kimberley Rd
Lonsdale Rd
Leighton Rd
Rucklidge Ave Peter Ave
Phillimore Gdns
Milverton Rd
Chatsworth Rd

The Council has no records of the locations of “off street” car club parking bays in Brent.
3. Relationship between Brent Council & car clubs
The Council has no direct commercial relationship with the car clubs in the Borough.
Brent does not favour or advertise or direct enquiries to any particular car club.
The Council, in common with many other Council’s, does support the concept and operation of car clubs through general publicity and through the provision of “on street” parking bays. This is because their operation supports the Council’s (sustainable) transport and wider environmental objectives by encouraging lower levels of car ownership and a reduction in non-essential car trips.
Funding for the in direct support of car clubs operating in Brent is provided by TfL through Brent’s annual LIP funding settlement. TfL allocate funding to Boroughs because car clubs are seen as a integral element of the Mayor for London’s Transport Strategy. The Brent allocation was £45k in 2010/11. Expenditure on car club supportive projects is approved (annually) by the Highways Committee.
4. Is it lawful for a Council to support a private enterprise in this way?
The Council acts in a similar way to most other London Boroughs. There is nothing to suggest that this is not lawful. In a sense it is no different to Council’s providing bus lanes which support private bus operators. Certainly it is lawful to provide on street car club parking bays (assuming proper legal process is followed and DfT approved signage and road markings are installed).
5. Other
Council officers recognise that on street car club bays often take up valuable parking space and seek to provide a balance between encouraging the growth of car clubs and the parking needs of other road users.
Similarly the Council is aware that car club membership in the north of the Borough is relatively low and is considering how that could be addressed.
Although estimates vary, research undertaken by TfL does indicate that car clubs do reduce private car use and hence, over time, pressure on parking space.

Note produced: Adrian Pigott/Tim Jackson (March 2011).

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Abbey Road

Slightly out of our area, but still NW London so I thought I'd mention it. Here's a shot of the Beatles before their famous Abbey Road photoshoot. Here is the same location today (I don't think you can directly link to StreetView images so you need to get it yourself).

My conclusion is that the crossing has NOT moved from its 1960s location, which is not what you often read.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Quick update

Not much to report. I see Brooks Butchers have removed their organic sign on the front, a commenter says we are going to get our first art gallery (across from the Overground station), the Italian cafe which was the organic shop is about to open, and the empty store on Chamberlayne Road opposite Wrentham Avenue is owned by the hardward store a few doors down but no information on whether its going to be something new.