Barking parking zone threatened to drive away centre users

Motorists have slammed highways chiefs over the introduction of a parking zone which adversely impacted the running of a community centre.

The controlled parking zone gave free parking spaces to nearby residents but effectively turned Abbey community centre in Barking into a no-go area for visitors.

Parking chiefs stopped imposing fines on visiting motorists at the end of last month after complaints from staff at the community centre in Cowbridge Lane.

However, Cowbridge Lane residents have also voiced concerns, as they understand the council may start to charge them for residential parking permits as early as next month.

Mum-of-four Sultana Bibi, 28, of Cowbridge Lane, said: “At the moment parking is free but we are 99 per cent sure that’s what they are going to do.

“The centre is used by kids and play groups, a mosque on Friday, birthday parties - all sorts of activities. No none wants to come to a party and get a fine.”

Workers at the S S convenience store in Cowbridge Lane also understand council chiefs may start to charge local residents to park their cars.

Most Read

Store manager Nazeer Shaik, 56, said: “The council wants money, so they put these schemes in place.

“Since they have put the signs up, I haven’t seen many cars. My friends don’t want to come now.”

Monica Savhana, 22, the deputy manager of a pre school based at Abbey community centre, indicated the CPZ had not been a major inconvenience as parents drop off their children then leave.

Street signs show the parking zone is in operation Monday to Saturday from 8.30am to 6.30pm but the council said wardens had stopped issuing fines pending talks with members of the public.

A spokesman said: “Parking enforcement ceased at the Abbey Community Centre on September 26 in response to concerns raised by staff at the community centre.

“Since then, parking in the car park has been freely available for the centre staff, visitors and members of the public.

“The council is currently considering all the options available and until a decision is arrived at we will be unable to comment further.”