by Lee-Ann Richards, Reporter
Thursday, February 14, 2013
»Residents have hit out at the council’s plans to sell off Upminster Park’s car park and the site of the old Windmill Hall.
Councillors agreed the proposals for the St Mary’s Lane site despite residents’ fears that it could turn Upminster into a “ghost town”.
Resident Barry Ward said: “Upminster is horrendous for parking and these proposals are just going to make the problems worse. The worse-case scenario is that people will stop doing their shopping in the area and will go to Romford and Lakeside.”
In October 2011, the council approved the demolition of the old Windmill Hall.
As part of the latest proposals, the site and the adjoining land, which has been used as a car park since the Nineties, will be sold.
Residents say the loss of the 15 spaces will add to Upminster’s parking problems.
A petition against the plans has been launched and has already been signed by more than 1,000 people.
Pat Flavell, who launched the petition, said: “I think it is disgusting that they are thinking of doing this when the parking facilities in the area are never enough. It is just going to push people out of Upminster and turn the place into a ghost town.”
The residents fear that, once sold, the site could be used to build flats or houses.
They are calling for the council to make the two sites into an even bigger car park.
Barry said: “The council would make a lot of money from it if they kept it as a car park and just made it bigger.
“So many people use the car park that [the council] would get a big revenue without having to sell the site.”
Last month the Recorder revealed that Corbets Tey Road was the most ticketed street in the borough.
It has seen almost twice as many parking fines issued in the current year as the next most targeted street, Station Road, in Harold Wood.
The Upminster street has had 2,162 tickets so far in 2012-13, compared with 1,161 for Station Road.
Cllr Steven Kelly, the council’s deputy leader, said: “The car park was there to serve visitors to the old Windmill Hall, which was closed in 2006 and demolished in 2012.
“We had to take a decision about how to manage the site, and selling it means we can use the funds generated to continue to make improvements throughout Havering without raising council tax.
“There’s also ample parking for shoppers at car parks and now on the high street.”