Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

The UK suburb where drivers are constantly ticketed because there’s no parking

Business owners in a small town have complained that their shops are suffering because customers don’t have enough space to park their cars.

They have expressed fears about “whether we should continue”, after the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in Chislehurst, South-East London.

Tory-run Bromley Council was responsible for the scheme – and they said it was to help “improve parking availability and reduce congestion in the area for residents”.

But the 79-year-old owner of a window glazing shop on the high street parade has an issue with it. Gerard Walsh told MyLondon: “When customers turn up to any of the shops here, they’ve only got a small space to park. So it’s actually wrecked all the business…

“You’ve got the traffic wardens that are walking around all the time nicking people. So when people get nicked they’re thinking they’re not going to come back again.”

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The new CPZ has restricted parking to residents with paid permits, with customers on the high street unable to park without visitor permits while shops are open between the daytime hours of 8:30am to 6:30pm.  

Walsh revealed an emergency meeting was even held at the local dry cleaners to discuss the issue.

56-year-old owner of the dry cleaners, Erdal Fahri, echoed Walsh’s arguments, saying: “how do we actually get customers through the door? We have definitely seen a decline.”

Fahri accused the council of generating money from the permits while seemingly having “no focus on helping local businesses”, adding: “it’s just putting us in a position where we’re really not sure if we should continue with it”.

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His dry cleaning service now operates a home delivery service just to keep customers, but Fahri warned it’s “an added expense” which “comes off of our bottom line”.

Tory Bromley Council said on its website that the majority of residents backed the plans at the time of proposal in March 2022, adding resident permits would cost £100 a year and a book of 15 visitor permits would be £55.

It also said: The scheme will not negatively impact local companies as the larger businesses provide on-site parking and the proposed CPZ includes paid-for bays to allow easier access for visitors.”

A Bromley Council spokesperson said: “Without parking controls on busy shopping parades the spaces would be occupied all day by long term parking which would prevent a turnover of trade for the shops. In areas of high parking demand, it is often residents who ask for permit parking, so they can park near to their homes and this was the case near the Belmont Shopping parade.

“The needs of local businesses are considered as well – factually, Green Lane was not included in the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) was not included so free parking spaces can be kept for visitors wishing to use the shops in the parade.

“The Council will always review how parking patterns adapt following the introduction of a new scheme and we are reviewing the recently introduced parking scheme.One of the options we are looking at is to introduce some parking bays near Belmont Parade, where motorists could pay to park, which would help shoppers visit the shops in the parade.

“For clarification, there has been no changes to the pavement or road in front of Belmont Parade in the last decade or so. It is important to note that Belmont Parade is actually not part of this new parking scheme.”

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