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Resident's FoI causes council to review proposed Havering parks parking charges

PUBLISHED: 07:41 23 December 2015 | UPDATED: 10:30 24 December 2015

Bedfords Park Visitors Centre. Picture Google Maps

Bedfords Park Visitors Centre. Picture Google Maps

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Plans to introduce parking charges at Havering's parks to deter commuter parking are to be reviewed after it was revealed no commuter parking surveys had been carried out.

In October Havering Council revealed plans to charge drivers to park at 19 of the borough’s parks to deter commuters and free up spaces for genuine visitors.

Phil Wailing, 63, who volunteers at Bedfords Park, Broxhill Road, Havering-atte-Bower, submitted a freedom of information (FOI) request to the council to find out the extent of commuter parking problems.

But the request showed there had been no commuter surveys conducted for any of Havering’s 21 parks.

Calling the results “quite astonishing”, Mr Wailing said: “I asked when were surveys carried out into commuter parking in the parks’ car parks.

“The answer I received was that Bedfords and Rise Park do not have commuter parking problems, therefore no commuter parking surveys have been carried out.

“I subsequently asked, what surveys have been carried out into the usage of the parks car parks?

“The answer I received was that no surveys have been carried out in any of the affected parks.”

Documents seen by the Recorder also showed the three meters intended for Bedfords Park cost £9,144, along with £3,755 on signage, and £7,000 on road markings – almost £20,000 altogether.

But the annual income projected to be generated is just under £6,000, meaning it would take more than three years to raise the amount spent on installing the machines.

The FoI response said staff “carried out surveys to identify the number of available car parking spaces and estimated use in the future, once charges are introduced”.

Council leader Cllr Roger Ramsey said the authority was “reviewing the original proposals to take into account issues that have been raised”.

“The decision to allow parks to introduce parking charges was decided at Cabinet on February 4 this year following a borough-wide consultation,” he added.

A council spokeswoman also confirmed the original reason for introducing charges had also been amended to include generating additional income to help maintain the car parks and the parks in which they are located.

Altogether, 44 machines were purchased in April – 32 for Havering parks – with estimated costs of £202,501.00.

The spokeswoman for the council said: “If not used for this project they will be used to replace other machines in the borough.”

The review continues and the machines have not yet been installed.

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