Protesters’ anger as parking pulled from Havering Council agenda

Leader Cllr Roger Ramsey

Leader Cllr Roger Ramsey - Credit: Archant

Protesters will have to wait for their chance to speak on controversial new parking plans after the matter was pulled from a council agenda.

The Highways Advisory Committee (HAC) was due to discuss responses to the consultation on plans to introduce parking charges in parks and open spaces on Tuesday night.

Out of 47 people to respond to the consultation, 39 opposed the plans and some were set to turn up and have their say.

Opposition councillors also wanted to discover how the council would make a profit from the machines, which are believed to cost £5,000 to install.

The council has apologised to residents but said it realised there was no “constitutional provision” for it to go to HAC and the public will be able to have their say at a later date.

Protester Alan Taylor, verger at St Andrew’s Church, Hornchurch, said: “This is very underhand. They just want to get it rubber stamped.”

Committee member Cllr Barry Mugglestone believes the administration was undermining the committee. He wanted to question how the scheme will make a profit.

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At 20p for three hours, only six of the 23 proposed areas for parking machines are expected to bring in more than the cost of installing them.

The initial plan to save £50,000 this year has also now reduced to £26,000 because of the delay in getting it approved, with the difference taken form the parks budget.

And next year’s target of £200,000 will not be met either – £103,000 is the new figure the council is aiming for.

On top of that, the one off cost of introducing the charges is £215,000 and will come from the parks capital budget.

Cllr Roger Ramsey, Havering leader, said: “The consultation was in relation to traffic management orders. We said it would go to HAC but following last week’s cabinet meeting it became clear that because the scheme does not relate to highways, there was no constitutional provision for it to do so.

“The consultation comments will be considered by lead member Cllr Benham. Any decision can be called in for public scrutiny by the overview and scrutiny board.

“I understand residents will be frustrated by this and I’m very sorry for any confusion.”