Don't Relax Vigil, Says Estate Agent Who Led Fight against 'Tax on Nightlife'

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 16, 2011 | Go to article overview

Don't Relax Vigil, Says Estate Agent Who Led Fight against 'Tax on Nightlife'


Byline: Mira Bar-Hillel and Jonathan Prynn

A MAYFAIR estate agent hailed for leading the successful campaign against West End parking charges today spoke of his David and Goliath battle against the "tax on nightlife".

Peter Wetherell was the only objector to put his name to the High Court legal challenge to Westminster council's plan to make drivers pay to park in the evenings and on Sundays.

Today he called on campaigners not to give up -- and warned Westminster that he would be back to fight if the council tries to introduce the fees next year. It comes after Westminster leader Colin Barrow announced that the charges would now be delayed until after next summer's Olympics, following a High Court judge's decision to allow a judicial review of the plan.

Today a quietly triumphant Mr Wetherell told the Standard: "We must not relax our vigil. There is still a risk that the present will be taken away again next year if Westminster council have their way. Let us all try to exert a moral authority against the council and tell them that the residents, businesses, workers and visitors do not want this for Mayfair.

"All I will say to Westminster City Council is listen to the Mayfair community, or else... I'll be back."

The 58-year-old, who is married with three children, began a petition in October against the plan to introduce the charges of up to [pounds sterling]4.80 in the evenings and on Sundays from January 9. The move would have meant removing almost 2,000 free spaces from the West End. By November 1, his judicial review application was lodged at the High Court, backed financially by restaurateur Richard Caring, demonstrating that the campaigners meant business. Dozens of staff at Mr Caring's restaurants and clubs celebrated the court ruling last night.

One said: "It is great to have a boss who puts his money where his mouth is and is prepared to fight for our right to come to work -- and not be taxed for it."

Mr Wetherell, who has worked in Mayfair for 40 years, was also supported by politicians and business leaders ranging from Boris Johnson to Peter Stringfellow. …

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