7:30am Thursday 10th February 2011
By Alex Hayes
A GROUP of angry residents in East Finchley have written to Barnet councillors threatening an expensive legal battle if huge increases in parking charges are approved next week.
Twenty four people in a controlled parking zone (CPZ) near East Finchley Tube Station have warned they will launch a judicial review if a 150 per cent increase in permits is approved at a cabinet meeting on Monday.
They are incensed by plans to increase annual permits from £42 to £100, and a 650 per cent hike in three-month permits from £37 to £240.
Visitors vouchers will rise from £1 to £4 each, which residents warn will leave isolated many elderly people who depend on visitors and live in parking zones.
However, the cost of second and third permits has been dropped considerably from those published in a draft document, following vociferous complaints across the borough.
In a meeting in January, Councillor Brian Coleman insisted the increases were necessary to top up the parking revenue account which is likely to come in £3m short of predicted profits.
Solicitor David Attfield, who lives in Summerlee Avenue, said the plans would place the majority of the £1.4m they are expected to raise on people like himself living in CPZs with long hours.
He said: “The proposed increases will saddle residents in tiny pockets of the borough with huge extra costs, while most of the borough will carry on parking for free.
“The minority is being made to subsidise the majority."
Cash from the parking account is used to repair roads and pavements, with increased pressures expected because of potholes which have appeared after recent cold weather.
The increase in visitors' vouchers also concerns Mr Attfield, who said people most reliant on them often do not have a car and rely on people visiting them.
In documents council officers had pointed to the increase as “small” in cash terms and a fraction of the cost of running a car.
Mr Attfield added: “This is bizarre, it's as though the people putting forward this policy don't even know what a visitor voucher is.
“If anything, if you don't have a car, you are likely to be more dependent on visitors coming to your home. For residents in certain pockets of the borough, that will now cost £4 a time."
Barnet Council confirmed they received the letter on Tuesday morning and are “giving consideration to the points that have been raised”.
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