The chairman of Barnet Residents’ Association has expressed his disgust at Barnet Council’s willingness to allow people to turn their front gardens into parking spaces.
Gordon Massey of Carnarvon Road, Barnet, claims that between 2008 and 2010 the council allowed 850 front gardens to be concreted over.
This, he claims, can be compared to Brent Council allowing 43 in the same time period and Camden, just 28.
Mr Massey said: “It is absurd that the protection of our precious environment in London, including the fast disappearing Victorian and Edwardian streetscapes, should be a postcode lottery.”
Mr Massey gives a number of reasons for his objection to the removal of front gardens.
He said: “Very pretty streets can be made to look dreadful. You are ruining the streetscapes.”
He also argues that there is an environmental impact to replacing grass with impermeable surfaces as it increases water runoff making flooding more likely.
Mr Massey also believes that turning gardens into parking spaces does not even increase the overall amount of parking available.
He explained: “Allowing a pavement crossover for one car achieves nothing and it makes parking harder for everyone else.
“The reason for this is that in creating off-street parking for one car you lose one car’s worth of on-street parking.”
This is because the pavement has to be lowered to create an entrance to the new parking space and no one can park in that entrance.
Finally, Mr Massey believes that allowing cars to drive across the pavements to reach their off-street parking spaces is hazardous for pedestrians.
He said: “Pavements are supposed to be for people not for cars. Pedestrians are becoming second class citizens.”
According to Mr Massey Barnet Council promotes the conversion of gardens into parking spaces.
He said: “Not only have they maintained a policy of allowing them, they have actually made it easier to turn your front garden into a parking space.
“Councils such as Brent and Camden have policies to discourage this because it makes parking worse and impacts upon the environment.”
Councillor Dean Cohen, cabinet member for environment at Barnet Council, said: "Providing vehicle crossovers on pavements is a balance between the impact on the street and the rights of the home
“It is also influenced by the mix of properties in a borough.
“Every council has to make similar decisions and may draw the line in different places.”