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Council misses own deadline to scrap double yellow lines ‘devastating’ Dagenham traders

PUBLISHED: 15:10 22 May 2017

Paul Smith says poor parking policy is harming his Dagenham business

Paul Smith says poor parking policy is harming his Dagenham business

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A trader who blames double yellow lines for a 50 per cent fall in profit is furious after the council missed its own deadline for implementing a new parking system to protect businesses.

Paul at his Dagenham repairs shop, where he displayed the council's pledge to implement a new parking systemPaul at his Dagenham repairs shop, where he displayed the council's pledge to implement a new parking system

The lines appeared in Church Elm Lane, Dagenham, without warning on Thursday, December 1, 2016, bringing deliveries to Motorways A1 Autospares to a standstill, hampering trade and leaving manager Paul Smith struggling to keep his business open.

Paul wrote to Jon Cruddas MP about the lines, who replied to him after securing a written pledge from the council that a new scheme would be introduced within 10 weeks of Tuesday, March 7, but the owner’s desperation deepened on Wednesday, May 17, when he woke up to find the lines remained and wouldn’t be gone for at least 26 more days.

“I’m ready to jump off a cliff to tell you the truth,” the 52-year-old said. “We’ve got no customers, nothing’s happening – it’s like a ghost town round here. Everyone’s in the same boat.”

Paul displayed the council’s commitment to install a pay and display machine in the road by putting the letters in his shop window.

He hoped it would encourage neighbouring business Appliances 4 Less, whose owner Aradali Khan told the Post he was “devastated” when the lines were implemented, with family newsagent’s Key Shop News also complaining of a drop in trade.

Paul, who used his savings given to him by his parents to lease the shop from the council, says the drop in trade has left him unable to pay them his £18,000 annual rent.

“It’s making me ill,” he said. “I’ve put my mum and dad’s hard-earned cash into this. It’s hard to explain how I feel.”

A council spokesperson admitted the letter’s promise to implement a new system 10 weeks from Tuesday, March 7, could cause an expectation for works to be carried out by Wednesday, May 17, despite the date not appearing in black and white.

“In retrospect we could have been clearer,” he said. “We can now confirm the start date of works to install the new parking scheme, weather permitting, should be June 12.”

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