Barkingside parking charges will be ‘nail in the coffin’

A NAIL will be hammered into Barkingside’s coffin if councillors agree to introduce Sunday parking charges, it is being claimed.

Traders in High Street are convinced the move will drive more people away from their businesses and to shopping centres in Ilford, Stratford and Lakeside.

And they have already collected more than 1,200 signatures from shopkeepers and customers, urging a town hall u-turn on the proposal.

The charges, proposed as part of cost-savings for the 2011/12 budget, also include early morning and evening charging in car parks and in pay and display bays.

John Milburn, director of Fullwell Cycle & Auto, High Street, said: “It’s going to ruin our businesses.

“If people can’t get to shops in their cars, they won’t come.

“The council doesn’t seem to know that.”

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He added: “People are charged every day of the week for parking. What’s wrong with having one day when they can park for free?”

In October, a three-month pilot scheme was rolled out letting drivers park in High Street for 20 minutes for just 20p.

But traders say parking is still a major issue for the area.

Barkingside Business Partnership chairman Steve Eaton, who owns Eaton Hair in High Street, said: “Barkingside is already struggling, we just don’t need this.”

Describing it as a “nail in the coffin”, Mr Eaton – who said about half of High Street businesses are open on Sunday – added: “All they’re trying to do is close Barkingside down.”

A Redbridge council report on the proposals – which suggest a 7am-7pm charging period with some exceptions – says the changes will “improve safety and reduce congestion associated with current lack of controls on Sunday especially”.

It estimates making �90,000 in 2011/12, and �120,000 each financial year after that.

Backing the petition, independent Fullwell ward Cllr Harold Moth said: “Over recent months, long established shops have closed, and they blame parking policy as an important factor.”

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