More than 6,500 people sign petition against council plans to scrap free parking in Hornchurch and Upminster
PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 February 2019
More than 6,500 residents have now signed a petition against the council's proposals to scrap 30 minutes of free parking in Upminster and Hornchurch.
Upminster business owner Barry Major, 39, of Leathart Close set up the petition just five days ago (Thursday, February 14) and since then it has almost gained enough signatures for the government to have to respond to it.
After 10,000 signatures, petitions get a response from the government, and after 100,000 signatures, petitions are considered for debate in Parliament.
As of today (Tuesday, February 19) 6,653 people have signed, which is around 1,300 a day since it began.
There is also a paper petition for those who cannot sign the online one.
Posting on the change.org website Barry said: “Wow how great is our community strength.
“Thank you to all that have signed and shared 5,000 is a number that makes a statement, but let’s keep pushing to show Havering Council we mean business.
“Keep sharing and posting and make sure relatives or friends outside of our borough sign it too, as it will affect them when they visit.
“Once again a big thank you. Well done all. A message to Havering Council ... I am sure you now realise we are not happy may I suggest you take note and action.”
Last week (Wednesday, February 13) the proposals to get rid of 30 minutes of free parking in the town centres were approved by Havering Council cabinet members.
Other parking matters that were approved included 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 has suggested the changes in a bid to save money, and also to bring Upminster and Hornchurch town centres in line with Romford town centre parking charges.
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.”
Councillor Gerry O’Sullivan of Saint Andrews ward supports the petition and told the Recorder: “�We are pleased to work with Barry Major in supporting our local shops to fight against the massive increases in parking charges and loss of 30 minutes free parking.
“It can be shown by the huge support given to Barry�s online petition (6,500 signatures in less than a week) that this is totally against what shops and residents want and will kill our high streets. We will be out and about with a petition for people to sign if they do not have access to the online one. Save our high streets.”
Comments on the petition from residents included one from Claire Coughlan, who said: “Rising cost and scrapping Sunday parking is destroying our high streets. All the unique shops are dying out and its leading to many empty spaces.”
James Boden commented: “Upminster is solely reliant on its high street thriving. In recent years three banks have closed, which is a worrying trend. The council should be doing everything to encourage custom to shop in Upminster, but scrapping a free 30 minute period of parking, added to a rising cost in parking charges, is resulting in business dwindling.”
June Morgan said: “Cranham and Upminster are regular shopping haunts of mine and I will stop shopping there if it adds £1.50 to my bread bill! Therefore local bakers will lose valuable customers to the larger out of town supermarkets! Disgusting hype on parking fees!”
Donna Coy said: “I’m signing because that half an hour free parking is the carrot that takes me into Hornchurch and Upminster. If I drive into Romford I pay the required amount at the end of my shopping. Are you trying to kill off even more local shops and drive everyone to shop in Lakeside?”
To sign the petition go to the change.org page.