May 19 2013 Latest news:
John Phillips , Senior Reporter
Friday, August 17, 2012
Frustrated residents have been turned away from council one stop shops after queuing up for hours on end.
Readers told the Post people had gone to the library help desks to apply for parking permits, pay bills and seek advice on key council services but had been asked to leave at lunchtime - hours before they shut at 5pm.
Residents believe advisers were unable to cope following the introduction of parking zones which have forced dozens of motorists to apply for residential permits, but the council says this is only part of the explanation.
Lucille Bowden, of Sutton Road, Barking, is planning to organise a protest march against the Control Parking Zones (CPZs) next Saturday (August 25).
She said: “People are getting turned away at 12 o’clock.
“One member of staff said they can’t cope and are thinking of packing it in.
“It’s to do with the CPZs. This is where you buy your permits.”
Her husband Brian, 54, said: “Some people were waiting for two to three hours at Barking Library.
“They got turned away at 1pm. They don’t close until 5pm. There were so many people. It’s crazy.”
Post reader Danny Smith said he had experienced problems at the Dagenham Library one stop shop in the Heathway.
He said: “Last time we were there for about three hours after trying to get seen for a week.
“One was even listening to an MP3 player and not interested in helping anyone.”
Barking and Dagenham Council is considering extending the opening hours of its one stop shops in response to the increase in the number of people going there.
A spokesman said: “We are currently monitoring the situation to determine why this is happening as well as considering other options available to us, including extending the opening hours where possible.
“It is not correct to say that this is wholly related to the introduction of Controlled Parking Zones.
“However, it is the case that unfortunately, we have had to turn some people away from the queues because we simply would not have been able to serve them by 5pm.
“Where customers have had to endure longer than normal waiting times we obviously offer our apologies but also encourage them to make use of the self service facilities available or contact us online.”