Parking scheme could last just three months

Pic: Google Streetview, presumably taken between 0930 and 1030
Pic: Google Streetview, presumably taken between 0930 and 1030

The controversial £93k parking scheme for Wanstead High Street could be axed after just three months, council leader Jas Athwal has said, “if it makes people’s lives a misery”.

Meanwhile Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer has told council leaders of his concerns about the scheme, saying there does not appear to have been “any attempt” to consult with residents.

In an interview with the Wanstead Guardian, Cllr Athwal said his motivation was improving Wanstead High Street for shoppers and “helping business make money by making sure people can park”. He also wants to help people living near the High Street who can’t park outside their homes because of displaced traffic, he says.

He told the paper:

“The evidence is there to show there are serious problems with parking in Wanstead, but it would be politically foolish of me to do something that just makes everyone angry… When you’re introducing something as controversial as this you need to be flexible…. It could last for 18 months or it could last for three… If it makes people’s lives a misery we will stop it.”

He said the previous parking plan which was withdrawn after public opposition was dropped because the Conservatives, who then ran the council, “wilted under pressure from residents – that is something I will not do”.

Mr Cryer said he had told the council of his concerns, saying: “This seems to me to be an unsatisfactory situation. There does not appear to have been any attempt to conduct a consultation, as one would expect, and I only heard about it when local residents and businesses started getting in touch. The proposals will create all sorts of problems and a number of businesses have expressed fears for their future.”

The parking plan will mean the introduction of pay and display on Wanstead High Street, plus the introduction of residents’ parking zones in more streets near the High Street. The council says the first 30 minutes of high street parking would be free, and that the point of the scheme is to stop people parking there for hours on end.

Opinions on the plan seem to be divided, with vocal opponents on either side. However a petition demanding proper consultation over the plan has now received nearly 1,200 signatories – some online and some on paper.

One commenter to Wansteadium, Argee, has highlighted the Redbridge Parking Strategy which states its first value is “Transparency and Collaboration”. It reads:

We will provide clear information about parking and involve or consult communities in the development of policy and design of local schemes.

Argee comments: “There has been no transparency nor collaboration. I saw no mention of not wilting under pressure from local residents in the Redbridge Parking Strategy, which in my opinion is the opposite of collaboration, yet Cllr Athwal states this as if it is something to be proud of.”

15 thoughts on “Parking scheme could last just three months”

  1. Cllr Athwal is quite happy to spend £93k on a three month trial?! when the money could be spent on other things far more needed that the parking scheme. He also says that the Conservatives previously ‘wilted under pressure from residents’ and it’s something he won’t do… just who is he supposed to be working on behalf of. Sorry I thought councillors were working for the good of the residents not for themselves. What arrogance! The residents didn’t want the parking changed so made their feelings plain what does he not understand about it all that makes him think the residents feel any differently now.

    1. Parking expert Barrie Segal who has helped drivers fight parking tickets for more than 13 years, said: “They [the council] don’t have proper quality control with contractors and their services have clearly failed.

      “I’m very sympathetic to those people that just pay up.”

      His comments come following a BBC Inside Out programme which showed misleading signs in the borough and secret footage of council officers appearing to refer to targets for the numbers of tickets being issued.

    2. Some residents DO want residents parking. We have fallen behind almost everywhere else in this, and therefore Wanstead is a commuter free for all. Anyone who lives anywhere near the tube stations is tormented no end, and those of us who live very close to the High Street get double whammy, for obvious reasons.

  2. If only there were other ways to get to the high street like a tube station or two, some bus stops, cycle racks or paths to walk on.

    Drivers are a small minority of the visitors and the worst part of the high street is badly driven and badly parked cars.

    1. If this was soley about the High Street, then I would agree, but this permit zone will cover an area stretching from The Eagle pub down to the entrance to Wanstead Park and The Green Man roundabout across to the Counties Estate. It will be the largest residents parking zone in Redbridge, even bigger than that of South Woodford which affords drivers the option of parking in Waitrose/Sainsburys/M&S. I can’t imagine that the Majestic car park will be able to absorb all the parking on its own. Look at the existing zones here

      1. When you say affords the drivers parking in supermarkets, they are private carparks taking up private land. We could adopt that by having the green bought by a supermarket and giving people free parking in the car park they create? ‘Free parking’ comes at a cost. South Woodford did this by selling off land around the high street. Wanstead hasn’t. It has a lovely feel worth lots of green space. Ruined by too many cars.

        There are some who don’t want residents parking. There seems to be plenty of residents who welcome it. I have 2 cars and I welcome it. I would like to reclaim the streets from the commuters. A large source of the complaints is about not being able to park for free on the high street. Tough. I rarely use my car on the high street. When I do I recognise it’s a privilege that comes at a cost as it is convenient for me but not everyone else.

        My business is in central London. I’ve been there for decades. I’ve heard all the whinges re stricter parking, double yellows, red routes, cycle lanes, you name it. Businesses are doing just fine. Nobody really drives there anymore. It is better because of this, not despite it. Everyone I know goes into London by public transport or cycling. I do both.

        There’s too many cars. Badly driven and badly parked. Councils up and down the country have asked people to be responsible. Some are. Many aren’t. The only choice is to make driving less convenient. It works all over central London. It also works at similar high streets to Wanstead which are thriving. It will improve it for the majority. And businesses will need to learn, as most others have in London and other cities, that only few visitors come by car, restricting them makes it a nicer destination for the majority.

        1. “The only choice is to make driving less convenient.” – I agree and I find driving so inconvenient that I rarely do so. But I do need people to be able to drive to me to fix my house, deliver my shopping and simply just visit. Where I live there is no issue with street parking, nor would I expect there to be one if the zones were introduced either side of the high street north of the A12.

          I am all for making driving less convenient, it is the parking outside my house that I don’t want to be inconvenient. I do not want to provide my credit card details along with my name and address to park for free. I do not want to be penalised for not driving at all by having to pay for a residents permit.

          I am not against a parking scheme, but it needs to be far more considerate than this one is. The High Street is one issue, but access to the Golf club, Cricket club, Tennis courts, Church and Wanstead Park is another. We do get a bit of extra parking at the weekend from all of the above, but it is not a big issue. It is not reasonable to expect everyone to get there via public transport nor is it reasonable to restrict the few available parking spaces to just two hours.

          Different areas require different solutions. What may work for the High Street will not be best for the rest of Wanstead.

  3. Ah fame at last, but Arr has two Rs 🙂

    “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.” – P.T. Barnum

  4. esteemed cllr states:
    ‘“The evidence is there to show there are serious problems with parking in Wanstead,..’



      1. perhaps venus is where this administration with be ‘trialing’ next. our best chance of democracy being returned and stopping wasting OUR money is the meeting on 13/01.

  5. No issue with streets near tube stations having restricted parking, say 5-7pm so residents can get a park when they get home. But any streets further than a 5 minute walk from the Tube is purely revenue raising, when as a society did we decide to penalise those not fortunate enough to live near a Tube station who actually use public transport to get to work?! Half an hour can easily be spent in a bank queue or the post office, these restrictions will be to the detriment of our high street.

  6. I agree with you I live in Wanstead to far for me to walk and carry Shopping. From the high street There are a lot of elderly people who also live in Wanstead who will also find it difficult too Residents who will get these permits live Walking distance to both the high street and tube So there problem is solved they can walk to the high street go shopping have coffee have lunch jump on a tube to go to work go Westfield and not having to use 1/2 hr free parking I know there is a parking problem in Wanstead Parking is a problem everywhere it’s not knew This is not going to help local shops when I go into local shops I spend a few hrs going into different shops in. the high street I don’t just go in one shop I also socialise with friends having coffee and lunch shops in the high street are already closing down due to rent increase people will have less to spend like myself if you have to feed a meter Will they also give people who live near schools permits and put meters near the schools we also have our problems with parking people parking across drives people using youth centre all day.Sometimes we come home and we have to look for parking Spaces But that’s because everyone have Cars now .

  7. No consultation: no vote !
    Cllr. Athwal says he and Cllr. Howard are happy to meet with residents ? But nothing tangible is being offered. Where are the meetings ? How will the Council assess the scheme induced misery when it has not both evidenced the current ‘problems’ and engaged the community in best fit solutions ? I’ve no confidence in a reversal, given the track record on dialogue on these scheme proposals. No doubt it hopes the fuss will quieten down.
    An 18 month temporary scheme, has to be converted to a permanent scheme. Council elections are in 2018. I will not be voting for any Councillor or representative unless they commit to proper consultation in a way which has some integrity. There are more than enough angry people for the Ward and Council to change hands.

Comments are closed.