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Council answers questions on free parking permits and plans to become Travelodge landlord

PUBLISHED: 16:03 19 December 2018

Councillor Dominic Twomey answered questions on parking and the councils private investments. Picture: Andreas Grieger

Councillor Dominic Twomey answered questions on parking and the councils private investments. Picture: Andreas Grieger

Andreas Grieger PHOTOGRAPHER

Residents grilled councillor Dominic Twomey over free parking permits and council plans to become the landlord of a Travelodge in Poplar.

In a Facebook Live session last week, the cabinet member for finance also answered questions on flytipping, raising council tax and private investments.

Viewers were particularly interested in knowing why parking permits weren’t free, especially given revelations that councillors get them for no charge.

The councillor said that, due to selfish parking around stations, permits had to be brought in, and that comes at a cost.

“It isn’t something that has been made lightly,” he said.

“Part of the problem is in some areas near Barking and Dagenham Heathway. People just park without any thought or courtesy to people living there, and it causes issues.

“Residents in those areas want parking permits to stop that happening. But when we put a scheme in place, there are costs. People have to be paid a salary – there are costs involved so it can’t be free.”

Residents also wanted to know why the council had agreed a deal which would see it become the landlord of a new Travelodge outside of the borough.

Under the deal, a hotel would be built on the site, and once completed, the council would start paying the investor rent on the site for the next 50 years. Travelodge would then pay Barking and Dagenham Council rent for 35 years, at a higher rate than the council pays to the investor.

Councillor Twomey said: “In terms of this Travelodge, the investor will take all the risk – they’ll build the hotel, take all the risk in paying for the site and building the site, and if there are any issues it’s down to them.

“We do nothing at all until it’s built and ready for people to go into it. At that moment, we sign a lease.

“All of these deals come with some risk, but we’ve weighed it up, and that deal will mean we will not need to cut services.

“It isn’t the first time it’s been done – it’s just the first time it’s been done in Barking and Dagenham.

“I understand people are worried, and think how is this possible, but actually it’s not groundbreaking and it’s just new for here.”

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