Monday, 17 November 2014 13:43

Barnet is nearly a ghost town

Written by
Barnet High Street 2014 Barnet High Street 2014
The depth of local anger, frustration and even despair at the damage being inflicted on Barnet’s shopping centre is highlighted yet again in comments in support of the Barnet Society’s petition calling on Barnet Council to allow an hour’s free parking.

Since its launch earlier this month, well over 250 people have put their names to the petition, and in their comments they give their full backing to the Society’s efforts to make the High Street more welcoming and attractive to visitors and shoppers.

So far there has been no meaningful response from Barnet Council, the three High Barnet councillors or the Chipping Barnet MP Mrs Theresa Villiers to the Society’s complaint that the council’s parking regime of payment by phone or credit card is pernicious and off-putting.

The only acknowledgement received to date is a two-line email from Councillor Dean Cohen, the Barnet Council cabinet member responsible for car parking.

He indicated he had difficulty understanding the Society’s argument for an hour’s free parking along the entire length of the High Street and in the council’s three car parks.

The only acknowledgement received to date is a two-line email

He enquired:
“If the High Street’s 16 or so spaces which are charged for are occupied the majority of the time, how will this 60 minutes free help if they have nowhere to park?”

In reply the Society said it was troubled by Councillor’s Cohen’s assertion there were only “16 or so” spaces along the entire length of the High Street when in fact there are 25 spaces covered by the “parking by phone/credit card” charging system between the tube station and the St Albans Road junction, and another 38 up to Hadley Green.

The Society suggested Councillor Cohen might agree to visit High Barnet along with committee representatives so that he could obtain correct figures for parking spaces and acquaint himself with the reasons why so many local residents have given up attempting to park and shop in High Barnet.

He has not responded to the Society’s invitation and neither has there been any follow-up from High Barnet’s three councillors, David Longstaff, Wendy Prentice and Bridget Perry.

Comments from some of the 252 people that have backed the petition are highly critical of the council's failure to support Barnet’s shopping centre and the inadequacies of its complicated system of charging solely by phone and credit card; they also explain why they believe other nearby shopping centres are benefiting at High Barnet’s expense:

“I have never known a town that insists on making it so difficult to park.”
“Stop this dreadful war on High Barnet’s motorists.”
“Help small businesses, stop hindering them.”
“I never take my car to shop in High Barnet.”
“The high cost and inconvenience of parking in Barnet is the major cause of the town’s decline.”
“The mobile phone system is rubbish, it always cuts me off.”
“The pay-by-phone is a disaster for local shops and I will not use it.”
“Not accepting cash has added to the woes of Barnet residents.”
“Barnet is nearly a ghost town.”
“I used to visit frequently, now I’d rather drive to St Albans or Enfield.”
“It’s such a shame to see High Barnet High Street slip away.”
“Good luck with your petition.”
“An hour’s free parking would be a massive boost to the High Street.”
“It’s a depressing thing visiting the High Street ... please do this before people give up altogether.”
“Something as radical as this is definitely needed.”
“Free parking for an hour is done in Edgware, so why not High Barnet?”
“Please, please Barnet Council, listen to us, we want you to help our dying High Street.”

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  • Comment Link Wednesday, 19 November 2014 23:39 posted by Amir Kapadia

    1 hour free parking in the adjoining streets too would help as there are not enough parking spaces in the High Street if we are to encourage visitors.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 19 November 2014 23:42 posted by Jo Hayward

    One hour's free parking would encourage extra trade and help small shop owners. I no longer 'pop' to Barnet, East Finchley and Finchley Central because of the parking problem. The few times I've tried to pay by phone, it hasn't worked and I've had to drive away without visiting the shops

  • Comment Link Monday, 18 May 2015 13:56 posted by Amanda Phillips

    I am deaf, own a car but do not own a mobile phone. I no longer visit Barnet given the choice. If I ever have a need to visit Barnet and cannot pay to park my car ( I have no objection to paying) as they do not appear to let you pay if you do not have a phone or accept cash any more, I will take them to court for discrimination under the disability act. It is obvious to me that the elected councillors are not listening to those who elected them. Most councils around the country give motorists a choice of paying by cash or mobile phone (They must have lawyers who have read the disability act). Also what happens to other motorists who have a phone but it does not work due to network problems, battery failure or the emergency services cutting off all communications for whatever reason like they did during the 7/7 atrocities.


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