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Lewes Forum thread

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ESSC parking scheme consultants Atkins are NCP!

On 23 Jan 2011 at 6:02am MC wrote:
Well nearly.

Atkins Global the expensive independent consultants hired by East Sussex County Council to review the universally hated Lewes parking scheme are far from independent. Atkins Chairman Mike Jeffries was also appointed Chairman of National Car Parks (NCP) in 2005.
Acording to this Sunday Times article:

he was still running both organisations in 2009

Mike Jeffries so closely links NCP, the main beneficiary of the Lewes parking scheme and parking scheme review consultants Atkins that it's not possible that ESCC could ever call Atkins "independent consultants".

Maybe this goes some way to explain the poor execution and lack of effort being put into the Atkins-arranged public consultations and also the extremely late notice being given to the public about the events?

Mike Jeffries career:
1963-67, John Laing
1968-73, Deeks Bousell
1973-75, Bradshaw Gas and Hope
1975, ASFA Ltd (WS Atkins), becoming chairman and managing director in 1979
1995-2001, chief executive, WS Atkins
2001-2005, chairman, WS Atkins
2002, chairman, Wembley National Stadium
July 2005, chairman, VT Group
October 2005, chairman, National Car Parks
May 2008, chairman, GVI Grimley






If this is correct it's galling to pay ESCC to employ Mike Jefferies' NCP to rip me off on a daily basis and then pay them again to employ Mike Jefferies' other company Atkins to justify it.
On 23 Jan 2011 at 9:18am Mike wrote:
The link via Mike Jeffries is a disgrace and I suspect not well knwn. I do hope that the Sussex Express picks up on this so that everyone can read take this information into consideration when reaing whatever reort Atkins eventually come out with. It makes it all the more important that lots of people fill in the online questionnaire giving their views of the parking scheme.
On 23 Jan 2011 at 9:26am Corker wrote:
Thanks for exposing this MC.
On 23 Jan 2011 at 11:00am Clifford wrote:
Atkins, who do so much work for the Highways Agency, are also renowned for their... let's say... cutting corners.
On 23 Jan 2011 at 12:36pm supporter wrote:
lots of people cut corners on the Highway
On 23 Jan 2011 at 1:29pm Julia Squeezer wrote:
Hearty thanks to MC. Have you sent this to Private Eye?
On 23 Jan 2011 at 3:24pm Peter Mobbs wrote:
Whether or not this individual continues to be associated with NCP, their past/current relationship with that organisation would to my mind rule them out from any involvement with a review of the parking arrangements in Lewes. It is a clear conflict of interest and they should step down.
On 23 Jan 2011 at 4:28pm 'ere be monsters wrote:
Who else was in the running to do the revue? Why aren't they crying "foul"? This stinks worse than it did to start with.
On 23 Jan 2011 at 4:57pm Tony Fuller wrote:
Just when you thought the unholy Lewes parking debacle couldn't get any messier. It's going to be interesting to see what ESCC Highways Department say about this. Don't they have to perform some sort of "due diligence" when handing out these sorts of contracts? If this news bears out then the department have either been grossly incompetent or are just plain corrupt. Either way, whoever is responsible for awarding or authorising this contract should be given their cards.
On 23 Jan 2011 at 11:05pm Chav wrote:
I've got an unopened review letter thing. Do you reckon it will be worth much on ebay?
On 24 Jan 2011 at 8:31am Jack Wilkinson wrote:
I do wish people like MC would not keep claiming that the parking scheme is universally hated. It isn't. It's quite simple really - if you don't want to be fined, don't park illegally. Without exception our visitors who come by car have commented how cheap it is to park in Lewes compared with where they live. Fortunately, most of our visitors are more sensible and come by train! In my opinion, the parking and other motoring regulations are not enforced strictly enough, e.g. cars parked at bus stops, on the pavement, on double yellow lines, too near junctions making it difficult for pedestrians to cross, not stopping at pedestrian crossings, making illegal turns, driving the wrong way along Cliffe High Street and, of course, driving too fast.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 8:41am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I don't have a problem with not parking illegally, but I deeply resent the £1 or so it will cost me to park for 2 minutes while I pay some money into the bank later, the £2 it costs me every time I go to the doctors, 2 when I get my hair cut, another 1 every time I need to go to the post office (2 if there's a queue!) and so on.
I would love to have the time to do these chores by public transport or on foot, but I live on the edge of town and have to fit them in during a busy working day. I simply don't have the time to stroll round Lewes all day.
They might as well have stuck another few quid a week on my council tax tbh. It was already the highest in the county, last time I checked.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 12:44pm Lars Ulrich wrote:
"Universally hated?" Do not attempt to speak for everyone, I know PLENTY of people (Lewes residents) who fully support the parking system and commend the efforts of the parking wardens as they stop illegal parking every day.
People who hate the parking scheme are normally the ones who can't be bothered to park properly and are "just popping into the bank or newsagents" whilst parked in a bus stop or a disabled bay (selfishness).
Or the types who want to encourage "visitors to Lewes and make it easy for them to park" but also want their own exclusive permit bays in their road JUST for them to use. Doesn't work both ways, I'm afraid.
I'm not sure what the above poster is referring to having to pay "£1 or so" for 2 minutes, there's nowhere in Lewes that charges that much. Even in the High Street which is the most expensive part you get an hour for 2.
Don't like it? Try living in London where it's a thousand times more expensive and where you get NO grace period for an expired p&d ticket.
Bottom line, its not rocket science, its in the Highway Code, don't park illegally and you won't be fined.
And no, I'm not a warden or work for NCP, I just use my brains when I park.
The parking system was requested by Lewes residents and its a good system which is here to stay - get over it or move out.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 1:43pm Metallic Car wrote:
The comment "try living in London" demonstrates the ignorance of some posters - THIS IS LEWES!
Of course friends from London will find it cheaper to park in the Sussex market town rather than in the big smoke.
Why do these endless comparisons to London have to be made? If you wish to live in London, do so - please don't patronise the locals in the process.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 2:49pm MC wrote:
Most people here lived in Lewes when this expensive scheme (that seems to serve mainly to put money in the coffers of NCP and the Council) was imposed on them. To say they should move out is bizarre.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 3:46pm Merlin Milner wrote:
Parking in Marlborough is a dream compared with Lewes. Both are market towns and there are many other similarities. I contacted their Council to congratulate them. Free parking for 20mins or thereabouts in the centre of town. There are wardens who will book you if you over stay. There are also car parks and a section on the middle of the main drag that is metered.
The system works well. I suggest that Cllr Locke and co visit and see how their system keeps the town vibrant and sensibly patrolled.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 4:44pm Clifford wrote:
Lars Ulrich wrote: 'I'm not sure what the above poster is referring to having to pay "£1 or so" for 2 minutes, there's nowhere in Lewes that charges that much. Even in the High Street which is the most expensive part you get an hour for £2.'
Lars - can you tell me where in Lewes you can park by the minute and pay by the minute? If you can't, then it's quite correct to say that you have to pay 2 even if you're only parking for a minute or so.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 4:47pm Ed Can Do wrote:
So has anyone actually contacted ESCC to ask if they were aware of the connection yet? How about writing to the Sussex Depress or Private Eye. As growing in popularity as this forum is, I think this is news that should be shared elsewhere.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 4:51pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
And of the course, the machines don't give change, so unless you have the right money for the time you need, you get ripped off for the difference between the parking fee and the change you have......
Actually, I'd like to know how much they make from overpayments.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 5:10pm Merlin Milner wrote:
I urge everyone to fill the questionaire and preferably add a sheet of other constructive comments. One of the reasons that we have this scheme is in part due to Lewes' poor response to the original questionaire that gave a mandate to the current scheme.
There are many things that the questionaire misses out. For example the pricing structure and general over-complication of the system. So please take the time to add a page of your own coments and suggestions.
At the Town Council we have been promised a meeting at County Hall to go through the details of the scheme and push for improvements, however we have not been given a date yet. We have been trying to have some say in the scheme since before it's inception but to little avail.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 5:48pm Clifford wrote:
MC - I e-mailed a copy of your excellent post to 'Private Eye' I assume you have as well - but the more the merrier.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 5:58pm Clifford wrote:
Merlin - don't you think that rather than participating in this and lending it credibility we should be doing everything we can to get ESCC to appoint a properly independent company to carry out the survey? As well, of course, as making sure the media look into the strange goings-on?
On 24 Jan 2011 at 8:26pm MC wrote:
Merlin is right. All those against the scheme should make their voices heard via the forms and consultation process otherwise apathy will ensure that the scheme continues.

BTW. I have been told that the Lewes and Eastbourne scheme is administered by NSL Services Ltd, which demerged from National Car Parks in 2007. As it looks like Mike Jeffries was Chairman of both NCP and Atkins at his time I leave it to others to wonder if the connection between Atkins and the administrators of the parking scheme is still strong enough to disqualify Atkins from running the review. I'm certain the regulations will say that the connection is not strong enough.

It has been known for demergers to take place so one arm of a company can bid for business that another arm provides the consulting for. I'm sure that can't have been the reason here though.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 9:02pm catlin wrote:
This is not all. GVI Grimley are the firm Lewes District Council used for their town centre survey!
On 24 Jan 2011 at 9:26pm Clifford wrote:
I think a pattern is beginning to emerge here catlin. What a pity the Sussex Express isn't a newspaper. What about the Argus reporter who hangs around this site looking or stories? Fancy some proper investigative work?
On 24 Jan 2011 at 9:32pm catlin wrote:
Thank y7ou Clifford. It needs a lot more looking into, but I have e-mailed some-one I know on the Guardian. If the Argus picks it up from here so much the better. Of course it may not be so, but I think it niffs a bit. I've asked the District Council for a comment on the Grimley involvement because the current Parking Review is nothing to do with them/ There seems to be no Press Office at the County but I have dropped a note to Rupert Clubb who administers the thing, pointing out the allegations to him.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 10:08pm MC wrote:
It's a shame that guardian journalist who lives in Lewes.... whose name I forget (recently wrote a damning book about the the relationship between PR, the news and politics... and was instrumental in getting Julian Assange to supply the WikiLeaks data to the Guardian)... aaahhh, what's his name! Bill something perhaps?
... doesn't bother himself with the more parochial stories. Every town needs to have their own investigative mud-raking journalist, their own John Pilger or Paul Foot.
On 24 Jan 2011 at 11:54pm Brixtonbelle wrote:
Nick Davies ? He wrote Flat Earth News.
There's also William Leith.
And David James Smith....
On 25 Jan 2011 at 3:58am MC wrote:
That's it, Nick Davies! Would someone kindly explain what's the issue with GVI Gimley? I've never heard of them.
On 25 Jan 2011 at 8:12am catlin wrote:
JVI Grimley is a firm of consultant surveyors who were engaged by Lewes District Council about five yuears ago to come up with a town centre plan They suggested that the High Street has lost its impact and that all shopping in the town should be centred on The Froars, the official name for the precinct, and eastwards along Cliffe High Street.
On 25 Jan 2011 at 9:04am Merlin Milner wrote:
I have asked ESCC / Atkins to do an additional public consultation at the Town Hall given that there was less than one days printed notice given to residents. I received my agenda and questionaire on 22nd and the Sussex Express reported the agenda on 21st, the same day as the Town Hall consultation!
I will report back when I get a answer.
On 25 Jan 2011 at 9:12am MC wrote:
I imagine that the recommendations were dependent upon the implementation of reliable flood defences. Why might it have been suspected that there was any skullduggery involved?
On 25 Jan 2011 at 9:49am 'ere be monsters wrote:
Because politicians are involved MC.
On 25 Jan 2011 at 10:44am MC wrote:
I conducted a straw poll outside the school gate this morning and not one person I asked had received official notification of the Barcombe consultation meeting scheduled for two days time.

So far we have:

* Very late or no notice of consultation meetings
* No receipt of postal questionnaires (by almost everyone I've talked to anyway).
* An on-line form that is so badly designed it makes no sense at all if you live outside of Lewes town (and seems to concentrate just as much on whether you are part of a minority as it does on gaining your thoughts about the parking scheme!)
* An on-line form that can be filled in multiple times by any single individual (not even simple email verification implemented!)

It is hard to believe the consultation exercise is being taken seriously. It looks more and more like a casually executed sop aimed at convincing the residents that it is not a forgone conclusion that NCP (whoops, NSL Services Ltd) will continue to run the expensive and flawed scheme in the aggressive and unforgiving way that the company has up til now.
On 25 Jan 2011 at 12:10pm Catlin wrote:
E-mails just received from the County Councl confirm that Mike Jeffries has retired from Atkins and that he has no connection with NSL who run the scheme in Lewes. it is a private equity company.. and NCP is now owned by a Bank. Jeffries has no connection now with any of them.
On 25 Jan 2011 at 12:16pm cynic wrote:
Accept the millions of shares he prob has in his wifes name ?
On 25 Jan 2011 at 2:12pm mildmanneredchap wrote:
@MC ... Nick Davies, as well as starting the ball rolling with the Wikileaks story, broke the News of the World phone-hacking scandal in 2009, which (some of) the rest of the press are now starting to catch up with. Maybe enough on his plate without writing about Lewes parking scheme? In 2007 he encouraged Tim Minogue to write his piece for the Guardian's G2 section which led to the capitulation of Greene King and the restoration of Harveys at the Lewes Arms. As for David James Smith, we've seen what happens when he writes about Lewes! Wm Leith? He'd only write about parking meters if you could eat them ...
On 25 Jan 2011 at 3:07pm MC wrote:
Nick Davies sounds like a top man, shame he's not around. Tim too though. Perhaps Tim might consider extending his role to become the local Sussex investigative reporter. :-)

BTW. Debretts has a listing for Michael (Mike) Jeffries. Has him down with an extremely long-term career with Atkins (from 1975). 2005 to 2007 with NCP and then from 2008 to? with NSL Services Gp limited, our own beloved parking scheme administrators! This seems to imply that the man who made Atkins his own (and will undoubtedly be still intricately linked with the company after he left.. shares, pensions, influence, contacts, network, clubs etc) went straight on to the chairmanship of NCP and in all probability was the man instrumental in splitting NSL Services Ltd from NCP, a company which he then joined or even headed (the timing fits very neatly).

It's not the fact that Michael Jeffries is, or even has been associated with both the scheme consultants and the company that is the main beneficiary of that scheme, it is that Atkins, NCP and NSL Services are far too closely linked for comfort, whichever group of venture capitalists appears to own them.

Mike Jeffries in Debretts:
On 25 Jan 2011 at 5:01pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I have been told that Tim Minogue is the man behind Private Eye's "Rotten Boroughs" column, but have no idea if it is true.
On 25 Jan 2011 at 9:28pm Deelite wrote:
It is. Lives in Lewes.
On 26 Jan 2011 at 1:02am Anyone seen a space...? wrote:
Jack Wilkinson.
I don't think the scheme is inept and unfair because I get fined, because I don't. You made an incorrect assumption. Maybe your zone works great, mine doesn't. I am tired and exhausted from driving around every night and despise the scheme because it is deeply flawed.

The questionnaire is very poor, and fails to ask what anyone thinks of how the scheme is run. Thanks to this thread I now know why that question is missing, and ESCC should be shamed into admitting that this is very innappropriate. It is biased, and not impartial, and I object to my tax money being spent like this. Some questions are statistically flawed, and the failure to deliver it on time is not just quite bad, it biases any consultation results, and constitutes maladmiistration.

Norman is supposed to understand transport issues, so where is his voice on this issue? or is he still in hiding? (did enjoy the posh graffitti up by the Prison), Everyone should fill this silly questionnaire in, and everyone should answer Q12. It is a shame that this is so biased that they didn't even leave a tiny space to write something in.

Merlin, I appreciate your contribution, but I am afraid the Lib Dems as controlling party locally should be ashamed of themselves for being so ineffective, and doing so little in over 5 years to challenge such an obviously useless scheme, run so questionably, and leaving us poor residents on our own to deal with such corporate ineptitude. You have my sympathy for having to deal with such a sorry bunch. Green and Labour can't feel proud of themselves either. If our local politicians spent some time actually generating some group activity from their fellow residents (who are so good at doing it off their own backs), we might be a power for ESCC to reckon with. I believe it is called 'leadership'.
On 26 Jan 2011 at 11:54am Merlin Milner wrote:
Jack as you appreciate ESCC is Tory controlled and although LDC and the LTC are Lib Dem controlled, there are only 2 ESCC Councillors for Lewes.
We have tried at Lewes Town Council to effect change into the scheme.
1. Asked to be on the board - request rejected by ESCC, although the Chamber of Commerce were on it beforev they left.
2. Conducted a survey in conjuction with the Sussex Express and the Chamber of Commerce - ignored by ESCC.
3. ESCC promised a meeting at County Hall with the LTC working party to go through the scheme in detail. This is now a meeting with Atkins and may not include an ESCC officer.
4. I have asked for another Town Hall public consulation since the publicity was very poor - rejected by ESCC.
BTW Norman has been very supportive and has done much behind the scenes. However this is largely an ESCC scheme and get them to change any of it is very difficult.
Finally apathy has ruled as far as the residents of Lewes are concerned. I believe that about 10% of housholds filled in the original questionaire that led to the scheme in the first place. Yet we manage to pull out the stops for getting Harvey's back into the Lewes Arms!
On 26 Jan 2011 at 2:32pm not had a ticket wrote:
Merlin, Clearly we need to declare UDI from ESCC and float county hall down river and out to sea.
My main gripe with the parking scheme is that it taxes people who have a car, but do not use it - in my opinion the tax should all be on fuel - easy and efficient to collect and in direct relation to co2 emitted.
I noticed the form asked me whether I have had my gender reassigned ....

This thread has reached its limit now
Why not start another one


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