Yesterday was the first full on Saracens match day at Copthall Stadium in Mill Hill. Whilst the event was a great success for Saracens and it is nice to see the Stadium renovated and in use, Barnet Council has used the opportunity to turn the whole thing into a lucrative earner. At around 3pm yesterday, I did my 5km Saturday jog. This took me around many of the streets in the matchday CPZ. I saw dozens of cars with parking tickets. There were seven cars in a row on Woodland Way with tickets. As Saracens fans are likely to know there is a matchday event, one has to suppose that the tickets were all for ordinary residents of Mill Hill who aren't part of the Rugby fraternity.
I stopped and chatted to one old lady who seemed rather distressed about receiving a parking ticket. She informed me she always parked there on a Saturday. She gets her hair done if she has a night out. She was in tears, telling me she'd never had a parking ticket before and that she didn't know what to do. She didn't even know who Saracens were and was indignant that it had impacted her life. She asked me if it was anything to do with Barnet Football club who she'd heard had wanted to move to the ground. I told her that it was all over the local paper. She replied "I am not in the slightest bit interested in Sports or Rugby, so why should I read about it".
She told me she was very disappointed because John Hart had told her that he'd saved Mill Hill from Barnet Footbal club at the last election. When I explained about the fact that Barnet Council had imposed a five hour CPZ she said "where are the signs". I explained and she said "I don't know when the Rugby is on and I don't drive around reading signs on the side of the road. if I did I might kill somebody, this is absolutely ridiculous."
It is scandalous that the Council have chosen to impose the CPZ in such a haphazard manner. The signage for people who have no knowledge of Rugby matches is totally inadequate. The advertising for the scheme has been totally inadequate and if the lady I spoke to is anything to go by, this will cause massive ill feeling in the neighbourhood.
As she explained "If you've been parking somewhere for twenty years and the Council suddenly change the rules, they should make sure everyone knowns and put some proper big signs and yellow cones saying "don't park here today".