Redbridge Council launches consultation on controversial Wanstead parking changes

Harveys Fruit and Vegetable shop on Wanstead High Street. It is one of the shops which residents are

Harveys Fruit and Vegetable shop on Wanstead High Street. It is one of the shops which residents are concerned could be affected by the parking restrictions. Picture by Ellie Hoskins - Credit: Archant

The promised “gold standard” consultation on highly-contested changes parking rules in Wanstead opened yesterday.

Redbridge Council is proposing to introduce pay and display machines in Wanstead High Street and creates a residents-only parking zone in the surrounding roads.

The consultation will run until May 5.

The changes were first suggested in 2011 but the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition was forced to back down after protests from residents.

A document leaked in November 2016 indicated that the Labour administration council was planning to introduce parking charges in Wanstead from February, this time using an experimental parking order that would run for 18 months.

However, the local authority was again forced to concede to pressure from residents.

More than 3,500 people signed a petition calling for a full consultation on the latest proposal, which was presented to the council in January.

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According to Tory group leader Cllr Paul Canal, residents had complained that “elements of the scheme are ill thought out, poorly planned and likely to damage our High Street”.

Cabinet members responded by reducing the area proposed to introduce residents permits and promising a full “gold standard” consultation, pushing the introduction of any changes back to May or June.

The six-week consultation involves paper and online questionnaires and a shopper survey, as well as three drop-in sessions in April.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “This is your chance to have your say and we encourage everyone to take part.

“We’ve proved time and again that we are a listening Council, when residents made it clear that they wanted a different approach to this project we took their views on board.

“As I’ve said before getting parking right is a tough balancing act. We have to try to balance the needs of motorists, local residents and businesses with a huge number of other local factors.”

The council proposed the changes to deal with problems such as the difficulty of shoppers parking in the High Street, commuters using free on-street parking, and the possibility of motorists being displaced by new parking rules in Newham.

Take part in the consultation here