Petition launched to fight "ill-conceived" parking restrictions at Sainsbury's South Woodford
PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:42 17 May 2019
A South Woodford business owner has set up a petition to fight against new parking restrictions at Sainsbury's, which she says will add to the decline of an "already struggling" high street.
Suzanne Bennett, owner of Sid & Evie's in George Lane, says the new parking rules, which limit free parking at the superstore on the same road to 15 minutes, will discourage visitors from using local shops.
Sainsbury's offered two hours free parking before the new charges were brought in.
Mrs Bennett said: "This action is ill-conceived, with little regard for the impact on the local business community and will dramatically affect footfall on the ever declining high street. The elderly and infirm will be unfairly penalised when collecting prescriptions, attending medical appointments or picking up essential items.
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"Sainsbury's did not inform any local businesses, including ones which fall under their lease, of the proposals to change parking rules - there was no prior contact or consultation."
Chris Bennett, Suzanne's husband, added: "This whole issue unfortunately adds to the rapid decline of South Woodford's high street and is part of a wider problem that we all face in South Woodford. Local businesses are finding it hard enough to operate in the current macro-economic climate, therefore adding another barrier to local business will only add fuel to this already raging fire.
"There are at least four businesses that I personally know of on the high street that are looking to close down due to the fact that there is reduced footfall throughout South Woodford.
"The parking restrictions put in place, not only by Sainsbury's but also by Redbridge Council, only add to the woes of local businesses on the high street. If people do not have anywhere to park, or are being charged to park for visiting the High Street, how will local business survive or thrive?
"Many local residents and business owners are completely disillusioned with Redbridge Council and the lack of activity surrounding regeneration of the high street in South Woodford."
A spokesman for Sainsbury's said: "We've introduced parking charges at our South Woodford store which customers can redeem against their shop. We have made these updates to ensure our customers have better access to parking spaces when they need them."