On Wednesday July 10, saw a protest outside Romford Town Hall following the increase in parking charges across the Havering borough.
Local shopkeepers, residents and the Independent Residents Association councillors and activists have been gathering petitions and making their voices heard against these increases.
In this week Enquirer, South Hornchurch Independent Activist, Ross Elliott writes about why the parking charge increases and the scrapping of the free thirty minutes has been a complete disaster for the borough.
“With shops and restaurants closing down across the borough, it is not hard to see our high streets are already under enormous pressure.
“With the need to compete with online businesses, let alone business rates, the ever-increasing rents, high street businesses are in need of all the custom they can get.
“So when Havering council decided to remove the 30 minutes free parking from carparks across the borough, you can only imagine the disappointment of local businesses and their customers.
“The free 30 minutes parking allowed residents to quickly visit a shop for something small like a newspaper, a coffee, or to pick up a prescription, without having to pay for parking. Its a win-win situation. The local businesses got the custom and the customers got what they wanted, without having to pay an extra £2 for parking. So what now?
“The removal of the free 30 minutes is only going to drive people away from local businesses, towards the larger supermarkets and shopping centres, where parking is free.
“This will have a detrimental effect causing many shops to close down. Shops which have been part of out high streets for years. We need to support our local business as much as we can to ensure the high streets survive. Something the council is not doing themselves, it seems.
“As residents, we have a responsibility to speak up against these types of decisions which take away the things we make use of and leaves us with no choice but to pay more or go else where.
“If you are as disappointed with Havering Councils decision to remove the 30 minutes free parking as I am, then please ensure you write to Havering Council letting them know, or attend the of many protests outside of the town hall. Its the only way we can get the Council to reconsider its shockingly bad decision.”