Plan to slap closure sign on parking shop sparks protest

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[from Islington Tribune]

Islington Tribune – by ROISIN GADELRAB
Published: 11 April 2008

Councillors Barbara Sidnell and James Murray at the parking shop

Plan to slap closure sign on parking shop sparks protest

A BID to shut Islington’s only parking shop – where drivers can buy permits and pay fines – has come under fire.

Lib Dem environment chief Councillor Lucy Watt is having talks on the closure of Islington Council’s parking shop from June as a cost-cutting measure.
The shop in Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, sells parking permits and visitors’ passes as well as providing an easy way to pay fines. Closure is seen as a way of bringing down costs at a time when drivers are calling for fewer parking tickets to be issued.
The plans have been attacked by Labour councillors who say a move from a counter service towards relying on the internet and post will leave residents facing fines if there are any delays in the mail. There are also concerns that not everyone has access to the internet.
Labour’s environment spokesman, Councillor James Murray, said: “Residents are already fed up with the borough’s huge parking rip-off. Now, the Lib Dems are making it harder for people to get their parking permits.
“This is going to mean more fines for law-abiding people who want to pay-and-display but can’t get a permit on time.”
Labour councillor Barbara Sidnell added: “This is bad news for ordinary people. I walk past the Clifton Terrace parking shop every day and it’s always full of people getting their permits.
“The Lib Dems are making it harder for older people to get permits and visitors’ passes. Those permits can make all the difference for many elderly people.”
Cllr Watt stressed that a final decision on the shop’s future had still to be taken. “The branch at Milner Square closed last year,” she said. “Officers are looking at the situation to see how people are adapting to using the internet and post. It’s convenient for a lot of people.
“I understand people’s concern about delays. Officers have guaranteed that if anyone is ticketed because of a delay they will be refunded because that will be the council’s fault.
“We do send out a number of reminders to people to let them know when their permits are up for renewal.”

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