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Chief reporter's comment: We all need to get involved in parking review

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 October 2019

Hundreds of protestors gathered outside Havering's town hall on Wednesday, July 10 to protest the council's recent car parking charges increase. Picture: April Roach

Hundreds of protestors gathered outside Havering's town hall on Wednesday, July 10 to protest the council's recent car parking charges increase. Picture: April Roach

Archant

The news that Havering Council is going to conduct a review of its parking charges policy will be extremely welcome to local business owners on high streets throughout the borough.

The loss of 30 minutes' free parking has had a marked impact on smaller and medium sized businesses who can't offer parking spaces to customers themselves.

I've noticed it myself at the car park in Wilson Close, Upminster, every Sunday morning when I go to do my weekly food shop at Aldi.

What used to be an absolutely packed out car park by 10 past 10, back when Sunday parking was free, is now noticeably quieter.

And it's filled with people fishing through wallets and handbags desperately trying to find enough change to take them up to £1.50.

There is no doubt in my mind that people have quite vocally voted with their feet this time - and it's good to see that has been recognised and the council has now asked for people's opinions on the matter.

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It has also vowed to publish the full results of this review, so it is crucial that people have their say and make sure their voices are heard.

Some of the options proposed by cabinet member Councillor Osman Dervish include the creation of Controlled Parking Zones, more yellow lines or, "making no change at all".

From speaking to residents, I am almost certain that overwhelmingly Havering drivers, and indeed their passengers, want their 30 minutes of free parking back.

But for that case to be made as strongly as possible, as many as they can should take part in the consultation.

You can do it online at consultation.havering.gov.uk, but paper copies are also available at libraries in Elm Park, Hylands, Romford, Rainham, Emerson Park, Gidea Park, Hornchurch, Upminster and Harold Wood.

Please do get involved.

The future of Havering's high streets could well depend on it.

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