Havering's high streets 'ruined' by 500per cent car parking charge increase
PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 April 2015 | UPDATED: 11:56 10 April 2015
A 500 per cent increase in car parking charges has fuelled concern from businesses for the future of Havering's high streets.
Floods of Twitter “tweets” and Facebook messages have attacked Havering Council this week after drivers spotted notices on parking meters introducing an increase from 20p an hour to £1.
Although the changes were outlined in the authority’s budget plans, the consultation period for which began in September, shop owners and residents have expressed surprise
Penny Sain-Mart, owner of Barnardo’s charity shop in Collier Row Road, Collier Row, said: “This is going to put off a lot of people from coming to these shops.
“The council is supposed to help promote us but instead they’re killing the high street by putting up prices.”
Kenim Ozbengu, manager of JJ Moons in High Street, Hornchurch, said: “I didn’t know that the price had gone up.
“We’re lucky as we have our own private car park so it hasn’t had a major impact on us, but I think it could jeopardise many shops.”
It was revealed as part of this year’s budget that drivers would see an increase in parking charges, in an attempt to save £1million by the end of 2016.
Free parking for 20 minutes with a 10 minute “grace period” has been introduced alongside the rise, but this has left some confused.
Ray Hammersmith, 47, of Elm Park, said: “I don’t think I would feel safe leaving my car, because I’d be worried that I would end up getting a ticket.”
Jose Faria, owner of Eat Fresh in Collier Row, said: “Customers will not have enough time to order their food, wait for it to be made and eat it within that time slot so won’t want to risk coming in
here – this could ruin businesses.”
Andrew Blake-Herbert, Havering’s group director for communities and resources said: “This is the first increase in parking charges in seven years. We also expect these changes to help the high street with 20 minutes free and a further 10 minutes grace period, while deterring those who commute from using our car parks.
“We have been quite clear about the changes to the parking charges and have published our proposals since September with links in the local press, on our website, through public meetings, email updates and in Living in Havering as part of an extensive consultation.”