The ‘Barnet Spring’ prompts Brian Coleman’s political fall from grace

17:00 21 May 2012

Cllr Brian Coleman

Cllr Brian Coleman

Archant

Campaigners have hailed the dawn of the “Barnet Spring” after controversial parking boss Brian Coleman was ousted from his cabinet role a week after losing his seat on the London Assembly.

Former environment chief Cllr Coleman was one of the highest profile scalps claimed in the City Hall elections on May 3.

His defeat was largely blamed on the controversial parking reforms he steered through on Barnet Council, which saw parking fees rise and all pay and display metres scrapped and replaced by a new pay-by-phone system.

In a move that suggests Barnet may be considering a change in parking policy, the post was handed to Golders Green Cllr Dean Cohen - a critic of the reforms - on Tuesday (May 15).

Theresa Musgrove, who blogs as Mrs Angry, said Cllr Coleman’s “arrogance” and unpopular policies had spurred an eclectic mix of residents to campaign for his demise.

She and other Barnet bloggers have held Cllr Coleman to account on Twitter and other social media sites, which it is believed helped mobilise the vote against him on May 3 when he lost the Barnet & Camden London Assembly seat after 12 years.

The movement has been dubbed the Barnet Spring - a play on the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East which saw a groundswell of revolution driven by social media.

Ms Musgrove said: “It has been the Barnet Spring. It’s not just Brian Coleman, the whole Conservative council has created the Big Society they all claim they want to see.

“By default they have united sections of the community in a resistance to the local council in a way they hadn’t anticipated.

“It has created network of activists and bloggers spanning all party stripes. They are concerned about the way Barnet is going.”

In a gesture epitomising this eclectic opposition, trade unionists, bloggers, teachers and small shopkeepers all shared a toast at Alexandra Palace bar after Cllr Coleman lost his London Assembly seat on May 3.

Signalling a change on the controversial council parking reforms, Cllr Cohen, said: “Parking is the main issue and it is one that needs to be dealt with.

“We are here to respond to residents in the borough and if that is an issue amongst residents then we have to address that problem.”

But he warned policy changes would have to be kept within a tight budget and that nothing had yet been decided.

Cllr Coleman, who also lost his role as chairman of the London Fire Authority when he failed to hold his London Assembly seat, is the second political heavyweight to be forced from his post after a row over parking charges.

Westminster Council leader Colin Barrow resigned in January after a high profile campaign against West End parking charges.

Many traditional Tory voters supported Labour’s new Barnet & Camden London Assembly member Andrew Dismore, who polled higher than Cllr Coleman in Golders Green - where all three ward councillors are Conservative.

The stripping of his posts means Cllr Coleman’s pay packet has been slashed from £120,000 a year to a £14,000 expenses budget.

Cllr Coleman declined to comment.

Latest Stories

46 minutes ago
33 Portland Place looks peaceful on the outside, but if these walls could talk... [Photo from Google StreetView]

A swanky 24-bedroom house in the West End that was Britian’s answer to the Playboy mansion is up for sale – because its fraudster owner needs the cash for legal fees.

Read more
07:25
The incident happened between Ann Street and Villas Road on the Glyndon Estate in Plumstead (Pic: Google Street View)

A 19-year-old woman was raped as she made her way home through the Glyndon Estate in Plumstead.

Read more
06:32
A general view of housing near Clapham as London rents now double those in the rest of the UK (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Rents in London are twice as high as those across the rest of the UK for the first time ever, new research has revealed.

Read more

TOP Stories

46 minutes ago
33 Portland Place looks peaceful on the outside, but if these walls could talk... [Photo from Google StreetView]

A swanky 24-bedroom house in the West End that was Britian’s answer to the Playboy mansion is up for sale – because its fraudster owner needs the cash for legal fees.

07:25
The incident happened between Ann Street and Villas Road on the Glyndon Estate in Plumstead (Pic: Google Street View)

A 19-year-old woman was raped as she made her way home through the Glyndon Estate in Plumstead.

06:32
A general view of housing near Clapham as London rents now double those in the rest of the UK (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Rents in London are twice as high as those across the rest of the UK for the first time ever, new research has revealed.

Promotions

Renault Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the Zoe was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

Always wanted to create your own beer? Perfect Pint are giving you the chance.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

The Week subscription offer

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

London Bloggers

Thursday, July 24, 2014
London comedians are preparing for Edinburgh (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

During these sultry July afternoons and endless balmy evenings the nervous musings of young comedians in London drift to dreams of triumph on the Edinburgh stage.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man poduction came to an end on Sunday, July 6

If you’ve been wandering around bereft of purpose, a wet-eyed stare fixed on your blank face, then no doubt you too are as gutted as I am that The Drowned Man has finally come to an end.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
(Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

We’ve been called P.I.G.S.

Quizzes

How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
How much about this great city do you really know? Take our true Londoner quiz and find out (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Do you know your apples from your pears? Take our Cockney quiz and see how much of a Londoner you really are.

Read more