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Thousands call for axe of Sunday parking charges in Enfield Town
More than 7,000 people have signed a petition calling for Sunday parking charges introduced in Enfield Town to be scrapped.
The petition, started by Conservative councillors in January when the charges were introduced by the council, will be formally presented at a meeting next month, and is likely to force a debate on whether to scrap the measures.
Traders, churches, MPs and motorists have condemned the charges, which are the same as weekday prices except for a special £1 rate for two hours parking. But the council says it will bring in £100,000 a year.
Enfield Town businesses told the Enfield Independent in February that they had lost 20 per cent of trade on Sundays since the changes and accused the council of committing “political suicide”.
Councillor Terry Neville, Conservative spokesman for environment, said it was the largest petition he had seen in his 26 years in Enfield, and even more signatures had arrived since the last count.
His colleague, Enfield Town councillor Joanne Laban, said: “It is quite apparent that since the introduction of Sunday parking charges footfall has fallen in Enfield Town.
“It is not rocket science that people will prefer to visit a shopping centre where you can park for free on Sundays rather than one where you pay, especially in the current economic climate.
“The petition's 7,000 signatures illustrate the strength of feeling by residents and traders over this badly thought-out policy.”
But the man in charge of parking, Councillor Chris Bond, said that no changes would be made until a wider review of parking across the borough was completed at the end of the year.
He said: “I’ve always said that we’ll put it in and leave it for a while to see what happens, and we’re not going to change our mind, but we’re reviewing the whole parking system – so when we do start that then maybe we can look at it.
“We want to do it properly, and we’ve already said we’re not going to put the prices up for two years. We are due to review it some time later this year.”
The petition, which will presented at a full council meeting on July 4, also calls for 20 minutes free parking to be introduced in bays in Enfield Town to allow shoppers to pay quick visits to small businesses.
Conservative councillors have labelled next month’s meeting a “protest meeting”, and have called for motorists and traders to come and show their anger.