Residents to protest outside Havering Town Hall against new car park fees
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 July 2019 | UPDATED: 19:04 03 July 2019
A public protest is being staged against the rise in car park fees in the Havering Town Hall car park.
From early June, the car park fee went from being free for the first half an hour to charging fees starting from £1.50.
The changes were implemented as Havering Council proposed to invest £10 million a year to improve roads and pavements as part of a £40 million package over four years across the borough.
Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Osman Dervish, said: "The changes to charges were brought in order for us to invest more into our roads and pavements, which is something residents have told us is a major concern.
"At the same time, after listening to concerns from residents and businesses, we will monitor the new arrangements where the charges have changed to see what the impact is. If it has affected them adversely, then we will review this again with further consultation."
However, for many residents, the increase in fees is very concerning.
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Resident William England: "No fee was important for older people to pop in to the library and other shops.
"Without it, it's too expensive to regularly visit the town centre."
As well as this, businesses claim they are losing custom on account of the lack of foot fall.
In Upminster, owner of Swan Books in Corbets Tey Road, Jeremy Scott said: "I know all high street retail is suffering at the moment, but this is different.
"If you stand out there, you can just see all those empty spaces - it's so obviously to do with parking."
Mr Scott stressed he was not alone and that a number of traders in the vicinity had experienced a similar decrease in business since the parking fees increased, "a double digit decline" in sales.
The protest, which has been organised by the Hornchurch, Emerson Park and Upminster and Cranham Resident's Associations, will take place in the car park in front of Havering Town Hall on Wednesday, July 10 at 6.45pm.