Flashback: New parking restriction, thieving children and a ‘dangerous’ car park
PUBLISHED: 10:00 18 February 2018
A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.
Motorists whose business brought them into central Romford were going to find them-selves faced with new parking restrictions.
A ban was also going to be placed on loading and unloading in the area between 4.30-7pm.
Provided Ministry of Transport sanction was forthcoming, Romford Council intended to implement parking restrictions first proposed in 1957.
Streets that were going to be affected were part of North Street and South Street, the whole of Market Place, parts of Main Road and Victoria Road, and a part of Morley Road. Another scheme being considered was to extend the 9am-7pm ban to parts of North and South Streets not affected, to the Collier Row area and to Main Road, Gidea Park.
Shops and stores in Romford’s multi-million pound shopping complex were counting the costs as thousands of children were home from schools closed because of freezing classrooms.
For many of them formed “Fagin” gangs to get rich pickings from shops.
Ch Insp Jack Brough, of Romford police station, said: “In last week’s extended half-term holiday, we arrested 13 children allegedly involved in 23 shoplifting offences.”
Secretary of the Romford Chamber of Commerce John Gowland, said: “When the kids are off school, there is generally an increase in shoplifting.
“Normally they go around in small gangs and are often quite professional.”
Police recovered property worth “thousands of pounds” stolen from Romford stores last year and they feared that the crime spree would make the thieves’ total this year even higher.
Ch Insp Brough said: “Many thefts involve goods worth more than £100.”
Romford’s multi-storey car parks came under fire for being dirty, smelly and dangerous.
A potential danger was highlighted when it was realised anyone collecting a car after around 7.30pm had to do so in total darkness because Havering Council turned off the lights.
Unaware that the town’s multi-storey car parks were closed from 7.30pm each night, Sheila Carr, of Ashmour Gardens, Romford, and two friends, returned after a meal at 11pm to find the Havana Close car park shut and in darkness.
She said: “It was petrifying, they are not nice places to be after dark.”
Chairman of Havering Chamber of Commerce Keith Woodcock said: “It is unbelievable. What is the point in talking about regenerating the town when we shut up shop and put people through such a terrible experience?”