On Tuesday evening, the East Barnet Residents association held a meeting at which the introduction of charging at East Barnet car park in Church Hill Road was discussed. The Barnet Bugle filmed the proceedings and the video can be seen here.
Cllr Rams states quite clearly on the video that he did not vote for these proposals but that he voted for a ‘consultation’. However, when he was repeatedly challenged on this by former Councillor Dan Hope of the Barnet Bugle and Cllr Pauline Coakley-Webb, Cllr Rams seemed somewhat reluctant to give a straight answer.
As I understand the situation, based on the documents published on the Council's website, Cllr Rams did indeed vote for a consultation on the budget proposals - which included the introduction of charges to Church Hill Road Car Park at the Cabinet meeting of 3 November 2011.
HOWEVER, at the Cabinet Committee meeting on 20 February 2012 it is is quite clear:
"The Cabinet received the Corporate Plan, Budget, Council Tax and Medium Term Financial Strategy proposals for the period from 2012/13 to 2014/15" (which included the introduction of charging to the Church Hill Road car park) "and RECOMMENDED them to Council for adoption".
Then on Tuesday 6 March at the full Council meeting the Council agreed item 4.1 where it "Recommends budget proposals for 2012/13 to 2014/15 for approval". Indeed that report set out the very clear details of the consultation that had taken place.
I would be grateful if Cllr Rams could point out to me where, at either the cabinet meeting of 20 February or Council meeting on 6 March, he voted for a 'consultation' or expressed any concern whatsoever about the introduction of charges. Residents should be clear as to what is the truth in this situation and I would be grateful if Cllr Rams could clarify the facts. If Cllr Rams and his Cabinet colleague Cllr Joanna Tambourides failed to stop this proposal at two Cabinet meetings and at the full council meeting, why did they wait until the statutory notice signs were erected before starting a ‘consultation’. It has been suggested to me that, as a non cabinet member, Cllr Evangeli had no power to go against the party line when this was discussed at Council so that may let him off the hook. It does however call into question the point of having councillors if they are unable to represent the views of their ward members.
A cynic might suspect that Cllr Rams will manage to stop the introduction of these charges and will then claim that he is the hero of the hour at the same time overlooking the fact that he in fact voted for the proposal in the first place. I wonder if East Barnet residents will share that cynicism?