Wednesday, 28 October 2015 15:58

Barnet Society wins parking review

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Getting on his high horse: Nick Jones, Barnet Society Chair, arguing for free parking on ITV’s Parking Wars Getting on his high horse: Nick Jones, Barnet Society Chair, arguing for free parking on ITV’s Parking Wars
Barnet Council has finally agreed to review its parking charges along Barnet High Street following a campaign by the Barnet Society on behalf of local residents, shoppers and traders.

For months on end the council has refused to take any notice of the Society’s plea for a short period of free parking – from 30 minutes to an hour – in order to help the High Street compete with nearby shopping centres where there are no parking restrictions. 

However, a review of parking charges has now been agreed by the council’s environment committee.

Previously the committee’s chairman, Councillor Dean Cohen, had insisted that the new charging system was working smoothly:

  • Motorists were happy to pay by phone or use credit cards in parking meters that once took cash.
  • Most of the High Street’s parking spaces were well used.
  • Therefore there was no justification for a short period of free parking.

High Barnet’s complaint that its town centre is being penalised by a repressive parking regime achieved national prominence in September in the latest series of ITV’s Parking Wars.

The programme followed the progress of the Society’s campaign to force the council to change its mind. A petition backed by 2,104 signatures was handed to the environment committee at its March meeting by the Society’s honorary secretary, Jonathan Supran.

Anna Slater, chief reporter of the Barnet Times, presented a second petition, backed by 5,000 signatures, that called for an hour’s free parking in high streets across the borough.

All told there are 63 parking spaces along the High Street between High Barnet tube station and Hadley Green, and the Society’s argument in support of a free period of parking is that there are often empty spaces away from the centre of the High Street.

At the March committee meeting Cllr Cohen claimed there was an 85 per cent usage of the High Street parking bays and the three council-owned car parks.

After this was disputed by the Society, Cllr Cohen promised to supply the Society with a breakdown of car-parking transactions within two weeks.

Seven months have elapsed, yet the council has failed to supply any further information, and there has been no sign of a detailed breakdown.

The Society hopes the promised review of parking in the High Street might finally demonstrate that better use could be made of the 63 spaces.

The review promised by the environment committee into parking charges has raised uncertainty about the status of a separate feasibility study by the highways committee into plans (backed by the Society) for a series of build-outs aimed at creating extra pavement space along the High Street and improving its appearance.

Progress with this review appears to have stalled, and could conflict with the charging review as council officials have suggested that pavement build-outs along the High Street might mean the loss of up to nine parking spaces and loading bays.

Watch Barnet Society members arguing the case for free parking in the High Street in ITV’s documentary Parking Wars:


Parking Wars ITV


  • Comment Link Thursday, 29 October 2015 16:17 posted by Charlie Parish

    Hooray, let's clog an already congested high street with free parking to make it more unattractive and unsafe to shoppers. Ridiculous.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 29 October 2015 16:19 posted by Lilly Amorally

    Free parking for up to an hour is a v good idea.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 29 October 2015 18:38 posted by Ben Basson

    Shame there isn't a review into why people in London boroughs can't just get off their arses and walk to the shops. We might be in zone 5, but that doesn't mean that driving around the corner is compulsory.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 01 November 2015 15:11 posted by Jeremy Parker

    Thoughts -
    1. does Potters Bar still have 1 hr free parking?
    2. if its easy to pay, I'm more likely to be willing to pay
    3. I don't usually carry my mobile phone
    4. That stupid notice is not designed for people with bifocals
    5. Normal people can usually remember a number up to about 5 digits long, not longer.
    6. Presumably 33 London boroughs have 33 systems, likely all different
    7. My bike looks a better solution every day

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 12 April 2016 01:41 posted by Carolyn Gyseman

    Sadly I and my friends have stopped parking in Barnet or Finchley to shop since the pay by phone was implemented. I refuse to stand in the street with a mobile phone and credit card for both security and inclement weather reasons. Now Brent X and retail parks get my custom because I can park there. Barnet council don't know what they're talking about as far as shoppers go.


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