THE council has made a great song and dance about allowing 'free parking on Saturdays', saying it will 'throw a lifeline to our beleaguered shop owners'.
A walk down Portobello Road on Saturday belied this optimism.
Shop owners, workers and market traders were seething because the 10 and four-hour parking bays they use at the weekend had ALL been changed to 'two free hours', so they had to continuallyabandon their shops and stalls and run back to move their vehicles and renew tickets.
Any visitor hoping to stroll down the whole length of the market would be in a similar position.
It seems the council forgot to ask the people affected what would actually help them.
Many councils who have major shopping centres or markets have offered totally free parking for the whole weekend, including in residents' bays, rather than a measly couple of hours in pay and display on Saturday.
Visitors can then shop at leisure and stop for a snack or meal.
Another case of blatant electioneering that will blow up in the council's face is the ridiculous and tokenistic £50 'efficiency bonus' returned to council tax payers.
Those of us who pay by direct debit will hardly notice a few pounds spread over the whole year when the basic rate has gone up anyway (personally I will be 54p worse off a week).
And those to whom £50 is a lot of money - those struggling to live on benefits - will find the £50 cheque that has just hit their doormat about as useful as a used tissue.
Do the ruling Tories genuinely not know that post office accounts cannot be credited with cheques, and that the poorest among us do not, and often cannot, have bank accounts?
Tell us, please - just how will they cash them in?
I imagine the administration and PR costs of both of these 'generous' offers far outweigh any lost revenue; an expensive election bribe. Remember Shakespeare: 'Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind'.
Cllr Emma Dent Coad
Golborne Ward Kensington and Chelsea