This section from the Lib Dem Mayoral candidate’s transport manifesto should sink his chances with most Kingstonians without trace. The first idea isn’t a bad one but the consequential second policy is just plain barmy:-
- Scrap the Western Extension Zone
- Introduce in its place a 24/7 £10 greater London congestion zone for non-Londoners. Commercial vehicles and London registered vehicles will be exempt. Aimed at encouraging visitors and commuters to use public transport.
It was noticeable that, when Howard Jones drew attention to this proposal in the Budget debate last Wednesday there was embarrassed silence from the Lib Dem members. And no wonder! People coming in to Kingston to shop from Esher, Claygate, Long Ditton or the far end of Lovelace Road or Ditton Road in my ward or Balaclava Road or Portsmouth Road in St. Marks ward would be faced with a £10 charge every time they come to shop in Surbiton or Kingston – the biggest retail centre in London outside the West End – and they’d have to pay an extra tenner on top of the seat price and the parking charge to visit the beloved Rose theatre. That should strangle Kingston’s economy sure enough.
Only someone profoundly ignorant of the nature of the boundary areas of Greater London (where one building in Greater London is often next door – literally – to one in Surrey) could possibly have come up with such a harebrained scheme – and he wants to be Mayor!