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Campaigners swarm council leader's car in protest against scrapping free 30 minutes of parking in Upminster and Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 14:23 30 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:00 03 September 2019

Residents gathered outside Upminster Library to protest the council axing the free 30 minutes of parking in Upminster and Hornchurch town centre. Picture: Simon Ford

Residents gathered outside Upminster Library to protest the council axing the free 30 minutes of parking in Upminster and Hornchurch town centre. Picture: Simon Ford

Simon Ford

Angry residents surrounded the council leader's car last night in protest against the local authority scrapping the free 30 minutes of parking in two town centres.

A protest was held last night, Thursday, August 29, outside Upminster Library, Corbets Tey Road, Upminster, to coincide with Havering Council leader Councillor Damian White's leader's surgery.

But after the surgery, which only lasted around 30 minutes as Cllr White walked out, protestors followed him and swarmed his car, blocking his exit out of the car park.

Armed with bells and picket signs, residents continually chanted "save our shops" as Cllr White's driver struggled to get past before switching to shouting "time to resign".

The organised protest was held to express residents' anger at the council scrapping the free 30 minutes' of parking in Hornchurch and Upminster town centre earlier this year.

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It now costs shoppers £1.50 for one hour of parking in both of these areas.

One of the protest organisers Simon Ford from Havering Local Businesses, a support group for businesses in the borough, said: "It is obscene that residents have to pay this much.

"We are not stupid, we know the high street is suffering but as a forward-thinking council, surely they should be supporting your local businesses rather than hindering them?

"It is just such a shame that people have to suffer because of stupidity.

"We will continue to protest until something is done."

The group's next protest will be held outside Havering Town Hall on Wednesday, September 25.

Havering Council has been approached for comment.

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