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Traders slam 'ridiculous' £40,000 traffic measures in East Barnet
New plans for parking restrictions outside a parade of shops in East Barnet have been branded “ridiculous” by the village’s residents’ association and traders.
Barnet Council has begun consulting on proposals to spend £41,000 installing “pointless” concrete crossing points in Russell Lane and painting double yellow lines outside the parade of shops.
The authority drew up the detailed plans after a suggestion from one resident at a recent ward panel meeting, organised by the village’s policing team and attended by no more than 20 members of the public.
Russell Lane residents and shopkeepers have branded the plans a waste of money, pointing to six existing crossing points and claiming the yellow lines could turn customers away from the “valuable” parade of shops.
Rob White, chairman of the East Barnet Residents Association, said: “As the old adage goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. There has never been a problem or an accident here in anyone’s living memory.
“It is the same old East Barnet village story again - a valuable local parade of shops being put at risk.
“We can’t understand why what seems to be one person’s request is being immediately allocated £40,000 without identifying whether there is a need.
“We elect these councillors to contact the council we pay for but they seem to go off and do their own thing. It would be nice if they had consulted us first so we could have avoided the stress it is causing the shop keepers there – it seems a total shambles.”
Plans for the costly revamp come just weeks after plans to introduce charges to the borough’s free car parks to raise money it said was badly needed.
The authority recently scrapped those proposals following a hard-fought campaign by East Barnet traders who said the move would be the death of the village shops.
Ajit Shah, owner of the Shore Pharmacy and Russell Lane Post Office, is looking to gather a petition opposing the most recent plans.
He said: “A lot of very elderly people use this parade and many of them can’t walk here. If these lines are put in they won’t be able to park and use the shops.
“People just won’t use the parade anymore – it will kill it off. I have been here for over 20 years and have never had one person say anything about a problem with cars being parked there or crossing the road.
“We need to put some pressure on the council to listen to us and allow people to use the parade as they are. I will be speaking with the other traders to decide our next move.”
The current plans involve paving three concrete crossing points in the grass-covered island in the middle of Russell Lane, despite there already being six paved areas where people can cross the road.
Councillor Andreas Tambourides began the process of looking into the issue after it was brought up at the panel meeting but says no decision will be made until the consultation ends on its recently extended date of July 20.
The East Barnet representative said: “We’re listening to the request and taking it forward. As far as we are concerned as councillors, we are not supporting or opposing schemes, we are asking the residents what they think.
“You need to draw up plans before you can ask people what they want, otherwise it is not clear what you’re consulting on.
“There are a lot of people trying to capitalise on this and trying to make a big thing of the situation by politicising it.
“We have a great respect for the EBRA but it is unfortunate that they no longer send people to these ward panel meetings. We feel they should.
“People will have their say and whatever the residents want, that is what I will support.”
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