Dagenham residents criticise new controlled parking zone

Dagenham residents have branded new council parking rules a “money-making scheme”.

The plans have introduced new restrictions on where residents can park on the street and charges for doing so.

A resident who lives near the new ‘controlled parking zones’ said that there had “never been a problem” with parking in the area.

The streets affected include Beam Avenue and New Road in Dagenham, where new yellow lines have been drawn.

Barking and Dagenham Council argued that the introduction of the new measures was “in everyone’s interest”.

Charmaine Clarke, who lives on Beacon Avenue, said that the council had argued that the plans benefit the nearby school, but that she saw no reason why it should be brought into force now.

She said: “The school’s always been there, what’s changed in the area that they now need to put parking restrictions here?

“We just don’t understand – it doesn’t make any sense.

“It’s never been a problem, what’s changed?”

Laura Collins, who has lived in the area for 25 years, also questioned the costs incurred by the new parking rules.

She said that her husband and son’s diesel vans now cost £111 a year for parking.

She said that the council: “Should have communicated better. Why are they charging £111 a year?

“We’ve never had a problem [with parking], it’s just the way it was dealt with.”

Both Charmaine and Laura argued that the plans were likely a “money-making scheme” by the council as there was not clear reason for its introduction.

However, not all residents in the area were opposed to the new rules; Michael Rotaru, who lives locally, said that the changes had not affected him significantly.

He said: “It’s ok for me because I park in the driveway. But my neighbour parks outside, and now he has to pay.”

Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, argued that the council’s implementation of the CPZ was flawed.

He said: “I am afraid the council have failed to appreciate the strength of concern on this issue.

“When the policy was announced I was told that it would only be introduced where the community genuinely wanted it – this is clearly not the case.”

However, Barking and Dagenham Council rejected these accusations, stating that the CPZ was necessary and that residents had been properly consulted.

A spokesperson for the council said: “There has been comprehensive consultation.

“The provision of parking initiatives including parking zones and school streets is part and parcel of improving road safety in the borough.

“As part of providing a better environment, the council has a duty to provide safer streets and consider a green agenda which is in everyone’s interest.”

In response to accusations of a ‘money-making scheme’ the council said: “No, it is not a money-making scheme.

“The average cost of a permit is about £36 per annum (or about 70p per week) and free of charge for vehicles with very low Co2 emissions which is comparable to other councils.”

The spokesperson added that the benefits of the new rules were extensive, including road safety and reducing carbon emissions.

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Alastair Lockhart

Local Democracy Reporter