Parking permits proposed in Chingford

Residents of more than twenty roads in Chingford are awaiting the outcome of a council consultation on introducing paid-parking permits.

If introduced on all roads being consulted in the Ainslie Wood area, more than 1,000 households would need to pay to park outside their home for the first time.

In a public consultation which closed yesterday, the council said it launched the consultation after receiving a “substantial petition” from more than 100 residents living on Royston Avenue, one of the roads in the area.

The council also said that in a survey in 2020, “some residents” in Ainslie Wood had called for restrictions because they had difficulties parking.

In a letter to residents, the council said controlled parking would ensure parking spaces are “reserved for residents”.

The letter added: “Without a valid permit, drivers are less likely to drive to areas where permit parking operates and are encouraged to use more sustainable modes of transport to get to their destination – which reduces local congestion, air pollution and road danger.”

Controlled parking zones have been introduced in the vast majority of the borough to the south of the A406 but are currently rare further north.

Earlier this year, a consultation on controlled parking around Highams Park station generated significant debate with many residents placing posters in their front windows expressing support or opposition to the proposals.

For controlled parking to be introduced, at least 51% of respondents must support the proposals – although restrictions could be imposed on individual roads or sections of roads.

Resident permit prices range from £45 to £650 per year depending on the carbon emissions level of the homeowner’s vehicle and how many permits the household has in total.

Local councillor Catherine Suamarez told the Local Democracy Reporting Service there is “no appetite” for parking restrictions in the 19 Ainslie Wood roads that did not submit a petition.

She said the council “ignored” her ward councillor team’s repeated offers to provide their input before the consultation launched.

Cllr Suamarez added: “By doing this, it has led to real upset and suspicion among residents and has failed to present a viable solution to traffic issues in the area.”

Lisa Maguire, who lives on Coningsby Gardens, said she runs a dog walking and cat sitting business which would face a permit cost of at least £275-880 per year.

Alongside the “costly” permit, Lisa told the LDRS she would have difficulty parking when travelling to clients’ homes.

Some residents have formed a campaign group that has urged residents to make their views known and is carrying out its own survey.

Local resident and volunteer Valdenice Loizou said: “On my road, Coningsby Gardens, we do not have a problem parking, and if we did I wouldn’t want to pay to park my car on the street.

“Paying for a permit parking is no guarantee that you would have parking space near or in front of your house.

“It’s an additional and unnecessary tax on parking, and potentially imposed in the middle of a cost of living crisis!”

Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for climate and air quality, said the council only introduces permits in areas where residents express their support.

He added: “Permit parking serves as a valuable tool utilised by councils to ensure that residents can conveniently park their vehicles near their homes.

“We believe it is reasonable to request a small contribution from individuals for the management of the space and by implementing permit parking, we aim to provide local people with enhanced access to parking spaces in close proximity to their residences.”

When asked whether parking permits are more about money generation than discouraging commuters, Cllr Loakes did not respond.

This year the council anticipates bringing in £28.8million from parking charges, more than half of its total income from fees and charges.

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter