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
“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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