Upminster business owner sets up petition against council plans to scrap free parking
PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:04 15 February 2019
A business owner has set up a petition against the council's plans to scrap free car parking in Upminster and Hornchurch.
A business owner has set up a petition against the council’s plans to scrap free car parking in Upminster and Hornchurch.
Last night (Wednesday, February 13) the proposals to get rid of 30 minutes of free parking in the town centres were approved by 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 were approved at the council’s cabinet meeting.
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.
Barry Major, 39, of Leathart Close set up the petition and is hoping to gain the support of thousands of residents across the borough in opposing these changes.
He told the Recorder: “I’ve waited to start the petition until something concrete was decided by the council, and now cabinet members have approved it I think it is the right time.
“I think it is going to devastate local businesses, and it’s not just going to effect people in Hornchurch and Upminster but everyone in the borough.
“Parents who use the free 30 minutes to drop off and pick up their children from school are now going to have to pay £3, anyone who is coming from out of the borough to watch performance’s at Queen’s Theatre are going to have to pay more, it is going to have a knock-on effect on everyone.
“I think it is only a matter of time before we see the impact on the high street and shops start to close.
“I think it will be the smaller ones first, and then the biggers chains like Starbucks might even end up closing stores because I am certain they will see a decline in footfall.
“But it is going to be everyone, I use the 30 minutes free parking when I go into Upminster to do my banking for my business, and then I pop into a small cafe to get some lunch and it is this type of business lots of the smaller shops rely on.
“I would love to see the council’s reasons both for and against this decision.”
Barry, who owns Major Glass and Glazing added: “From a business perspective it will also mean more staff, they will have to employ more ticket wardens to enforce these changes, which is going to cost more money, in just a few minutes I can come up with lots of reasons why I don’t think this is a good idea, so I just hope the council listens to its residents.
“I think it would be a good idea to have a consultation about this specific issue, because it really could spell the end of the high street in the areas where it is going to be implemented.”
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 Clarence Barrett previously 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.”
To sign the petition go to the change.org website.