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Campaigners say parking problems need to be addressed alongside Cricklewood town centre regeneration
As architects prepare to give Cricklewood town centre a £1.6million facelift, people living in the area say parking must be made more accessible to make the plans worthwhile.
The money has been allocated from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund following a bid made by the Cricklewood Improvement Programme (CIP).
CIP is made up of a group of residents, traders and charities who want to redevelop Cricklewood which straddles the border of Barnet, Brent and Camden boroughs.
The group is happy with the plans which include changing pavements to granite, enlarging the pavement in Cricklewood Lane so that it can be used for a weekend market and installing a pedestrian crossing at the junction between Cricklewood Lane and Cricklewood Broadway.
But CIP, as well as people living in the area, say all three councils need to work together to combat the town centre’s “unsuitable” parking facilities in order to make the most of the redevelopment.
Sixty-year-old Ulla Thiessen, who lives in Mapesbury Estate, said: “I think the plans are great – any improvement is very welcome but something must be done about parking.
“It’s all residents parking or parking for one hour which isn’t long enough to do anything like going for dinner.
“My husband is 76 and he can’t walk into Cricklewood so we need to drive but because of the parking, we can’t. It’s essential to have better parking so people can enjoy the town centre.”
Danny Maher, chairman of CIP, agrees parking is a “major issue” which must be sorted by all three councils.
He said: “We’re delighted with the plans – the Broadway needs a bit of tender loving care and these plans will at least begin this process. But parking is a problem, absolutely.
“We want to bring shoppers in and make sure they can stay for a while but because of parking it’s quite a challenge.
“Barnet, Brent and Camden councils also have different conditions which makes it even more difficult. It’s also expensive, there’s no two ways about it.
“If the councils are serious about increasing the economic activity in Cricklewood then they have to look at parking seriously. If people want to come in for a few hours, they want to come in confidence and not have to worry about getting a ticket or having their car towed away.”
Councillor Dean Cohen, Barnet’s Cabinet member for environment, said: “As part of our ongoing consultation into town centre parking we have listened to local businesses and are extending our dual use bays on Cricklewood Lane to Saturdays and introducing a new 15 minute tariff.
“As champion of the Cricklewood Improvement Plan I’m very keen to work with traders and other relevant advisers in the area to see where we can add further parking spaces to stimulate and dramatically improve Cricklewood town centre. If that involves working with the two other authorities, I will do that.”
A spokeswoman for Brent Council said: "As neighbouring boroughs, both Brent and Camden are working closely with Barnet on a number of plans to improve the public realm along Cricklewood Broadway and the immediate environs.
“These proposals do not include any amendments to parking arrangements in the local area, any future proposals would be discussed by the adjoining boroughs."
The Times Series is waiting for a response from Camden Council.
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