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Greenwich Council denies pavement charge is illegal
GREENWICH Council has dismissed suggestions that its new pavement charge for businesses could be illegal as it faces a new call to abandon the policy.
Shops and small businesses, many of whom are struggling in the difficult financial climate, have slammed the new policy, which makes charges starting at £7 for each square metre of pavement used outside their premises.
Greenwich Council has insisted the move puts it in line with other London boroughs, but opposition groups have questioned the way it has been introduced and the timing of it.
And, in a letter to the cabinet member in charge Councillor Maureen O'Mara, leader of Greenwich Conservatives Councillor Spencer Drury has branded the charge "undemocratic" and speculated it could be open to judicial review.
He pointed out that the cabinet agreed in January to draft a report on introducing the policy but no document was ever produced. Instead, the charge was just introduced anyway, with no consultation, no discussion and no chance for councillors to challenge it.
Cllr Drury said: "Many local traders are rightly upset that the pavement tax heaps yet more costs on them in these difficult economic times.
"So to find the council has introduced this charge in a completely undemocratic way is shocking. The council needs to withdraw this undemocratic tax, which I suspect is illegal because they have not followed their own procedures."
A spokesman for Greenwich Council said: "The introduction of trading licences and the setting of charges for them are council and not cabinet functions, and are delegated to the Director of Community Safety and Environment in accordance with the council’s constitution.
"The council does not consider that the decision, taken under that delegated authority, is open to legal challenge.
"A letter has been sent to Cllr Drury explaining the reasons for this conclusion."
A petition against the policy is available to sign at change.org
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