'Life is hard, why make it harder?': Protesters call for new consultation over parking scheme roll out
- Credit: Chantelle Billson
Protesters in Barking have demanded a new consultation over a controlled parking zone (CPZ) scheme being implemented across the borough.
Demonstrators gathered outside Barking Town Hall on October 11 after a petition against the CPZ garnered hundreds of signatures.
A CPZ restricts people from parking in roads where it is implemented in a bid to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
Residents who have applied for a permit can park on certain roads during set hours but will also need to apply for visitor permits.
A spokesperson for Barking and Dagenham Council said the scheme, which aims to “improve road safety”, will make it easier for blue-light vehicles to gain access to people’s homes in an emergency.
They also promised to review the dropped kerb policy and permit scheme as a result of the parking zone consultation.
Marcus Lenton, 52, spoke on a megaphone to urge the council to speak to the protesters outside.
He told this newspaper: “I know it’s not an easy job and you can’t please all the people all of the time, but at least have the decency to have dialogue and listen to people. Then you can put your point across.”
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Eight schemes are set to go ahead following its 2020 consultation as part of the council's plans to extend CPZs in the borough.
Nigel Makuluco, 42, said the CPZ where he lives on Beam Avenue in Dagenham has affected him “badly” - yellow lines on the road in front of his house mean he is forced to park on a different road.
He said: “I have to park on a road where there is no security and my car with stolen with all of my work tools in, which means I now can’t work."
The council spokesperson claimed the authority wrote to residents on several occasions with advice and guidance regarding the scheme.
Harris Ali, 31 says he moved to the outskirts of London for “freedom", but says the yellow lines make it feel as if “you’re still in inner London” and make him want to move.
He said: “None of us wanted the yellow line on our drop kerb. I can’t have any visitors and I should be able to park outside my house on the drop kerb.
Areas which have been confirmed for a CPZ include 10 roads in Eastbury ward, 10 roads in Gascoigne ward, 13 roads in Heath ward and 31 roads in Longbridge and Eastbury ward, to name a few.
Jo Mahoney, who doesn't have a car, questioned why he should need to pay for a parking ticket for his family to visit.
Meanwhile Mark Harris, 43, claimed the borough did not have any parking issues and slammed the CPZ as “not needed” - he accused the council of using the scheme to “rip residents off for money”.
Permits are based on a car's CO2 emissions, but drivers displaying a valid blue badge can park within CPZ bays without paying for a permit.
Colin Johnson, 58, who grew up in Dagenham, believes the consultation should be held again as during Covid “people had a lot of different priorities”.
He added: “We are not happy with the Saturday CPZ. It feels as if people are being penalised for having family around at the weekend, even when they don’t have any money to spend.”
The council's spokesperson said they “fully appreciate concerns raised” which were identified by the consultation, but have made decisions in accordance with their parking policy.
Mother Clarice Gava, 48, said: “Life is hard already, why make it more difficult? We’ve all suffered a lot with Covid and the council are making it worse, not better."
Londonwide Assembly Member Andrew Boff was also at the protest, saying he stands with the residents.
However, the council’s spokesperson said it will remain flexible about how it consults and implements local parking schemes.
They added: “We will also be undertaking a review of the dropped kerb policy and permit scheme which will take into account the feedback which has been provided by residents who have responded to the parking zone consultation.”
More information about the CPZ roll out in Barking and Dagenham can be found at https://www.lbbd.gov.uk/where-you-can-park