Council proposes to scrap free car parking in Hornchurch and Upminster in bid to save money
PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:03 15 February 2019
Havering Council has proposed removing free car parking in Hornchurch and Upminster in a bid to save money as part of its latest budget proposals.
Other parking proposals include increasing charges from £1.50 for two hours to £2 for one hour, introducing a flat £1.50 charge to park on Sundays and a residents-only parking scheme in a 1km zone around town centres.
The council says a final decision will be made in February.
The proposals are part of budget cuts, where the council is trying to bridge a £37.8m funding gap.
Councillor Osman Dervish, cabinet member for environment, said: “We are proposing to protect 30-minute free parking in local areas to support local trade.
“We are looking at proposals for removing free parking in certain town centres and commuter areas, bringing it in line with Romford town centre.”
Barry Major, of Leathart Close in Hornchurch, set up a petition against parking charge increases two years ago, and says he doesn’t think the proposals make sense.
He told the Recorder: “I don’t get why the council are doing this, there must be other ways they can save money.
“It doesn’t make sense, they make money from business rates but they aren’t going to make anything if there aren’t any businesses for them to collect rates from.
“I think if it’s approved it will have a big impact on lots of businesses, and people will stop going to them.”
Councillor Clarence Barrett told the Recorder: “Our high streets already face enormous challenges with business rates, rents and online competition.
“These incredibly damaging proposals will be enough to deter any would-be shopper and demonstrates an astonishing lack of understanding or empathy in local economies. For example, how can the following proposals be designed to help our local high streets?
“While a consultation has been promised, if it is anything like the council tax support scheme consultation where the majority of respondents disagreed with the proposals only for the Conservative cabinet to completely ignore the outcome, it is just empty words.
“We shall be opposing these highly damaging proposals and will present an alternative which will focus on sustainability, fairness and common sense.”