East Barnet is a small local centre, at the heart of a community, with a selection of shops. They have a great dry cleaners who are incredibly friendly and helpful, newsagents, an electrical shop, an optician, a florist, a chemist and post office, cafes, etc. Behind the shops in Churchill Road is a small car park which has approximately 50 spaces. When I go to the dry cleaners or opticians I always use the car park because it is free and makes using the local shops easy.
The problems is Barnet Council have a focus on generating money and tough luck if it hurts people on the way. They want to introduce charges for this car park; £1.05 for 30 mins £2.10 for up to an hour and if you are staying more than 3 hours it will cost you £5.25. Now on the face of it some people would say that car parks should have a charge but most people are just popping in for one or two things; picking up your dry cleaning, nipping to the chemist. Up at Potters Bar the first hour is free. What it will do is either encourage some people to pull up on the bus stop or on double yellow lines. More likely is that they will drive elsewhere where they can park for free or get other shopping at the same time.
Will it generate that much money - no. Barnet council have identified that the revenue generated form charging in all the free car parks will generate about £6k a year of revenue. Speaking to a few of the shopkeepers today they are all pretty angry with Barnet saying that it will ruin business. Some of the shop staff park in the car park to keep the road free outside the shops for the passing trade but that will stop when the parking charges are introduced.
Now given that Boris has just ploughed over £400k into tarting up High Barnet, you would have thought that £6k per annum could have been found to keep these car parks free.
I hope that our three local councillors, Robert Rams, Joanna Tambourides and Barry Evangeli are ashamed of their actions and make a rapid u-turn. If they don't then they shouldn't be surprised when yet more business in East Barnet close down.