Traders in petition bid over parking zone hours

[from Islington Gazette]

Traders in petition bid over parking zone hours
19 November 2008
David Meyers, of Highbury Butchers
David Meyers, of Highbury Butchers

A CAMPAIGN to save businesses around Blackstock Road is building momentum as many fear parking restrictions are forcing customers away.

Shop and café owners have gathered a petition with more than 900 signatures demanding a change in parking controls, which have left many firms on the brink of closure.

Stevie Wilson, 52, of The Sandwich Box café, in Gillespie Road, Finsbury Park, started the petition three weeks ago, and handed it in to Islington Council on Friday.

Ms Wilson says business has plummeted since the restrictions were put in place. She said: “This area is dead and it is down to parking. I have been here 17 years. This shop used to be so busy. People used to pull up and buy something. From being a busy shop, my takings are down 30 per cent.”

The restrictions in Zone H – a triangle of land between Seven Sisters Road and Arsenal Stadium, from Blackstock Road to the Railway tracks south of Finsbury Park – run from 8.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday.

Traders say it makes it hard for people to stop during business hours for fear of receiving a parking ticket.

Ms Wilson added there was already pressure on spaces, and when all the bays are full people park on yellow lines to come into her shop.

She says a lot of her customers have had tickets: “They come in for a £2 sandwich and get a £60 ticket.”

She adds problems are made worse by minicabs: “Cab drivers sit in their cars. They do not put money in the meter, and when they are asked to move on they say ‘OK,’ and they don’t.”

Businesses are campaigning to have restrictions reversed so that, like nearby Highbury Park in Zone G, they are only active between 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday.

Eddie Patel has displayed the petition in his family-run First Choice Hardware, in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park.

Mr Patel said: “We are here to do business but if the taxis keep taking all the spaces, we will lose business.”

He added: “There are more wardens. They come at 8 o’clock to catch people. As soon as 8.30am strikes, they are there. When customers get a ticket, we have lost them for ever.”

Timothy White, owner of White Brothers, in Blackstock Road, said: “It is as if the wardens are hiding, waiting for people to park. I’ve been here 28 years and this is the worst I’ve seen it. If it goes on, we will have to pack up.”

According to David Meyers, owner of Highbury Butchers, in Blackstock Road, even when spaces are available people are nervous to use it.

Mr Meyers said: “They are worried about traffic wardens. All the time they are looking for wardens.”

Councillor Greg Foxsmith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “We’re a listening council and parking zones are put in place after extensive consultation with people. We aim to balance the views of everyone, including residents and businesses.


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