[from Islington Gazette]
Parking rules killing business, say traders
MORE than 1,000 people have joined a campaign against parking rules which traders say are killing their businesses.
Residents and shops in Highbury and Finsbury Park are calling for parking restrictions in and around Blackstock Road to be relaxed as traders in the area continue to struggle as the recession looms.
Stephanie Wilson, 52, who runs the Sandwich Box, in Gillespie Road, said: “I have a sandwich shop in Highbury. When the parking restrictions came into force the whole area fell apart.
“If they were less stringent it would make more space free and bring people back to the area.”
In the last month more than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for parking hours to be revised in line with the neighbouring Highbury Park, where restrictions only apply from 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday.
Councillor Greg Foxsmith, Islington’s executive member for the environment said: “If there were no parking restrictions at all there would be total chaos. The revenue doesn’t line the council’s pockets, largely it is reinvested.
“We do believe the parking restrictions are important but it’s important to get the balance right between those who need to park and the needs of residents and businesses.”
Businesses have also complained of plummeting trade since 600 police officers raided Blackstock Road in March.
[from Islington Tribune]
Parking campaigners, from left, James Glover, Anne Glancy, Stevie Wilson, Jan King, Raj Patel and Dennis Wasahlo
Parking curbs ‘threaten our little village’
Traders fear future of crime and boarded-up shops unless rules are eased
SHOPKEEPERS are calling for parking restrictions to be eased to prevent Highbury becoming a “crime-ridden area of boarded-up shops”.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition pressing Islington Council to review the parking zone covering Blackstock Road, Gillespie Road and Drayton Park Road.
The petition, presented to a full council meeting last week, calls for the restricted parking hours to be cut to 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday.
Stevie Wilson, who runs The Sandwich Box in Gillespie Road, believes the recent doubling of parking meter charges has added to the problem.
She said: “The community used to be so healthy and flourishing. When the charges came in everything fell apart. This seems to be a forgotten area.
“My business has been dramatically affected. I’ve been here 17 years. It used to be such a little village area but gradually that’s going. The recession’s come into play but it really is the parking that’s started it off.
“They won’t get council tax from closed shops. They need a thriving area.”
A hairdresser had shut after 35 years, and a neighbouring shop also closed, she said. “Soon we’ll have an area that’s boarded up and crime will come in,” she warned.
Cab drivers were parking in empty pay-and-display spaces while waiting for jobs, Ms Wilson said. “I’m not complaining about them but if they could use the residents’ bays early in the morning and in the evenings then customers could use the pay-and-display bays,” she added.
James Glover, of C & H Chemists, said his customers needed to park while waiting for prescriptions. “Our business isn’t about speed of service so it’s essential customers aren’t rushed,” he added.
“If they are rushing us to get their prescriptions out so they don’t have to pay for the meters that’s when errors can occur.”
Islington’s Lib Dem parking chief Councillor Greg Foxsmith said controlled parking zones were developed in response to residents’ requests.
“There’s no policy which says we won’t look at them again,” he added. “We don’t want to rush into reconsulting on parking zones as it would cost about £100,000.
‘The council wants to support businesses not close them down. If it’s the hours that’s causing the problem we would want to look at that carefully.
“We want to work with traders and I certainly want to stop taxis hogging bays.”