Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Helen Michael wins the war on Parking in North Finchley

Helen Michael leads the Finchley Traders protest against rip off parking
Congratulations to Helen Michael and all of the Finchley traders on securing a massive victory for common sense, following a year long campaign for some sanity in parking policies in Barnet. A press release on Barnet Council website today says:

Lower prices, extra spaces and fifteen minutes free ‘rapid turnover parking’ in parking trial for North Finchley  

Published Monday 5 November 2012
Barnet Council is to trial new parking prices and other changes to parking in North Finchley Town Centre over the next few months following consultation with local traders. The changes follow the first of the council’s town centre and shopping parade parking reviews. 

Councillor Dean Cohen, Cabinet Member for Environment, said:
“I am more than happy to say that we have drawn up this plan after representations from traders and we hope that they will see a growth in trade in the area. I hope traders will be promoting the area as a place to shop over the Christmas period. “Barnet has many more town centres and shopping parades than most other London boroughs and each has its own character and challenges. I don’t think a “one-size fits all” pricing policy necessarily works so I will be watching the results of the trail closely. I am obviously hoping that these changes will increase turnover of for both shops and car parking in the area. “These changes are of course on-top of the borough-wide reduction of car park tariffs previously introduced. “With significantly lower parking prices, extra parking bays and 15 minutes free parking at a number of locations, I hope residents will make the most of their local high-street and take advantage of the wide variety of shops on offer in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.” In addition to the parking review changes, six on-street credit and debit card payment machines will be installed in the New Year.

Key elements of the trial, which will run from 19 November, are: 

- A 35% reduction in current parking charges on-street to increase turnover with a proportionate slightly less reduction for off-street car parks to ensure overall parity. 

- The introduction of dedicated business parking bays within off-street car parks, to increase on-street parking space. 

- Making a number of on-street parking bays a 2 hour maximum stay to increase turnover. 

- Adapting existing on street loading bays to allow a 15 minutes free parking period after 10am to promote rapid turnover. 

- Introducing a 15 minute stay facility on pay-by-phone bays. 

- Introducing a number of new ‘Pay-by-Phone’ short-stay parking bays at specific locations in the High Street to increase on street parking availability. 

Barnet Council launched a North Finchley Town Centre Parking Review back in July, asking local businesses and traders for their opinions on whether the current arrangements could be improved to better serve the community.  

Letters and questionnaires were sent to every business address within North Finchley Town Centre with an additional 500 leaflets distributed. Approximately 120 responses were received from North Finchley businesses, representing a 24% response rate. 

Full details at http://www.barnet.gov.uk/news/article/173/lower_prices_extra_spaces_and_fifteen_minutes_free_rapid_turnover_parking_in_parking_trial_for_north_finchley
 Of course it is ridiculous that the situation occurred in the first place, but we must congratulate Dean Cohen, who replaced Brian Coleman in the parking role on listening to the concerns of residents and businesses. 

We should all be inspired by the example of Helen and the other traders, who have shown that a well run campaign can make real changes that benefit everyone in the community. 

Kind of ironic timing that it comes the day after Brian Coleman appeared in court charged with assaulting Ms Michael. I wonder if the timing was deliberately timed to show that Barnet Council is moving on from the awful Coleman period of rudeness, bad policies and waste.

No comments: