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HomeHarrow CouncilLabour councillors petition against changes to free parking in Harrow and Wealdstone

Labour councillors petition against changes to free parking in Harrow and Wealdstone

Labour councillors have launched a petition in response to Harrow Council’s decision to modify the free parking arrangements in Harrow and Wealdstone Town Centres.

The petition, which seeks to maintain the current parking provisions, has already collected over 1,200 signatures.

For years, free parking at Greenhill Way & Davey House Car Parks in Harrow Town Centre and Palmerston Road Car Park in Wealdstone has been considered vital for supporting local businesses and community groups.

The new policy by the Conservative-run council will introduce charges during certain times, a move that Labour councillors argue conflicts with the council’s commitments to support local businesses and prioritise residents’ needs.

The changes include removing free evening parking after 6:30 pm in Greenhill Way and Lyon Road Car Parks, removing free evening and Sunday parking in Palmerston Road Car Park, and reducing the maximum stay from 4 hours to 2 hours in several locations including Canons Park Parade and West Harrow.

Councillor David Perry, Leader of the Harrow Labour Group, criticised the council’s approach. “I and all the Labour Councillors oppose these measures to remove elements of free parking in key areas of economic activity in Harrow & Wealdstone town centres. We believe the consultation period was wholly inadequate and feel that this is needless penalisation of residents in Harrow. We hope that the petitions will urge the Conservative council to re-open the consultation period,” he stated.

Labour councillors petition against changes to free parking in Harrow and Wealdstone Harrow Online
Palmerston Road Car Park, Wealdstone. Image: Google.

A spokesperson for the council stated, “We continue to offer one hour’s free parking in our car parks and on street parking. We are one of only a handful of London boroughs that offer this.

“Our annual review showed inconsistencies with the charges in a number of our car parks. These proposals look to address this, making the charges fairer and consistent across the borough.

“Charges to park in our car parks help to fund our highway and transport improvements, but primarily help pay for upkeep of our car parks and enforcement.

“We will review the responses before a final decision is made by the cabinet member.”

The petition states that the changes will harm the night-time economy and affect establishments that depend on evening customers, such as restaurants and cafes.

Councillor Paul Osborn, Leader of Harrow Council, defended the council’s approach, adding, “We are very proud to offer one-hour free parking in all our on street parking bays and council car parks, and are pleased that so many residents and businesses enjoy these benefits across the borough.”

He criticised Labour for their recent opposition to changes in free parking: “We find it a bit rich that Harrow Labour have suddenly started to care about free parking. They have consistently opposed and voted against free parking schemes in Harrow.”

Osborn pointed out several instances, “When Labour was in power, Conservative Councillors proposed budget amendments in both February 2021 and February 2022 to introduce one-hour free parking. Labour Councillors voted down our proposals both times.”

The council has confirmed that all changes were part of a statutory consultation process and were advertised through an official press notice in the ‘Harrow Times’ and within the car parks themselves.

The final decision on the new charges, set to start on Monday, 3rd June, will be made after reviewing all responses.