Parking’s no joke

When I was a small boy, my grandparents’ favourite joke involved a sign outside a public toilet in a car park that said “Have you paid and displayed”. Oh how we laughed. Well, I laughed the first time, aged about six. After that I laughed politely, then just smiled, and eventually took to walking off in disgust.

I don’t own a car, and therefore the question of paying and displaying is not one that vexes me personally very often. However, for many people it’s a big issue – whether it’s paying for a residents permit or paying to park for 30 minutes so you can pop to the shops, parking is an emotive issue in these parts.

We’ve touched on it before, after Wet Fish Café owner Andre openly mused as to whether the lack of visitor parking was the single biggest problem facing local businesses.

Now is your chance to do something about it.

Camden is in the middle of its parking review focusing on the size of residents’ parking zones (careful there Grandpa), parking zone hours, and pay & display parking hours. If you have views on how your local zones will operate in future, please fill in the online questionnaire or contact ku.vo1516136635g.ned1516136635mac@w1516136635eiver1516136635.gnik1516136635rap1516136635 or 020 7974 4639 to get a paper version.

The consultation runs until 18th June and is an “open” consultation; i.e., there are no specific proposals, the council wants to collect residents’ views. Any proposed changes would then be subject to further consultation.

The West Hampstead Business Association has some quite strong views, and its chairman, David Matthews (from estate agent Dutch & Dutch) has given me permission to reprint the letter he sent Camden on behalf of the organisation.

Dear Sirs,
I write on behalf of the West Hampstead Business Association, a recently formed group set up to support and promote all businesses within the West Hampstead area. Local residents and businesses alike are making every effort to improve West Hampstead by doing all they can to create a pleasant environment and encourage good quality shops and amenities in the area. All of our members sight parking as the biggest obstacle to growing their businesses and achieving these objectives.
The most prevalent concerns of our members are:
  1. The limited number of available Pay & Display parking spaces for visitors in and around West End Lane and Mill Lane
  2. Shared Use bays being rarely available for visitors
  3. The poor provision of Loading Bays for retail units on West End Lane and Mill Lane
Attached is a petition with over 200 signatures highlighting the concern of both business operators and customers.
Clearly for Pay & Display parking to benefit local businesses they need to be in close proximity to West End Lane and Mill Lane and not shared use as these bays are very rarely available to visitors. We feel the following should therefore be implemented:
  • The loss of 8+ Pay & Display bays to form the new First Capital Connect Station should be provided elsewhere and in close proximity to West End Lane.
  • The ‘Shared Use Bays’ in Sandwell Crescent and Dennington Park Road should be ‘Pay & Display’ only as they are very rarely available to visitors.
  • Between 10am and 3pm various parts of West End Lane could accommodate additional Pay & Display parking. Clearly at peak times it needs to be clear.
  • There is currently an overprovision of Shared Use and Pay & Display bays in Alvanley Gardens. If some of these bays became ‘Permit Parking’ there would be no net loss for local residents.
We look forward to hearing that West Hampstead businesses have your support.
David Matthews
West Hampstead Business Association
  • @Marciamac

    Although I want to support local businesses, I feel that the good public transport in the area, which is always being highlighted by the council and estate agents and just about everyone else, should be sufficient to bring people to the area. I live here, I have a car I need for some work journeys (I am self-employed) and for getting out of London; I don’t use it if I can easily take public transport. And I want a place to park near my house, so if that means MORE restrictions, not less (such as evenings to stop people parking to use the restaurants and bars), that would suit me fine. I know one lady who lives on Sumatra Road who won’t take her car anywhere in the evening because she can’t park it when she gets home; that means she can only ride her horse at weekends and on days off work. And don’t laugh – that is really important to her.

    I particularly don’t have a lot of sympathy for estate agents, as I’d like to see less of them in West Hampstead. So I have filled out the council’s questionnaire, but I’m sure a lot of people would not like what I put.

  • Anonymous

    Parking in the Greek Roads for residents has become even more of a problem ,since the gym has opened .Our roads are full of those using the gym.It is published on the gyms website Free parking after 12.So from 12till late ,as this place is open 24 hours we have a parking problem .We pay to park here,so the hours for residents parking must be increased now.