Car park rage erupts at Tower Hamlets town hall

A row has erupted after Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman reserved the town hall’s car parking spaces for himself and his cabinet – excluding opposition members.

The new parking policy sees Mr Rahman – who has his own chauffeur-driven Mercedes at a cost of £72 per day to the taxpayer – and his cabinet given access to spaces at the town hall.

But no such allocation has been given for opposition councillors, who slammed the move.

Labour group leader Cllr Joshua Peck said: “Not only do the Mayor and cabinet spend a small fortune on taxis, chauffeurs and a personal Merc, but now they want their own dedicated car park too.

“As a rule, councillors - like residents and staff - should travel to the town hall by public transport. On occasions where they need to drive, cabinet members shouldn’t have preferential access”, he added.

The policy change comes weeks after Mayor Rahman and some cabinet members were criticised for charging more than £7,000 in taxi fares to town hall expense accounts.

Opposition members are now calling on the council’s head of paid services Stephen Halsey to scrap the policy in favour of a first come, first serve system.

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A council spokesperson said the new policy followed “considerable analysis” into car park usage to ensure a “fair and consistent” system for the allocation of spaces.

But she added: “Given the concerns raised by some users, we will monitor the situation over the next three months to identify whether the policy needs to be reviewed.”