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North Finchley traders vent their frustrations to London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore
Traders in North Finchley were given the opportunity to vent their frustrations to a London Assembly member this morning.
Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, Andrew Dismore, visited the High Road to talk to business owners about the issues facing the high street.
Mr Dismore was shown around the High Road by Helen Michael, the owner of Cafe Buzz, who introduced him to a number of struggling business people.
All of the traders and shoppers that Mr Dismore spoke to complained about the parking situation in the area.
They told the former Hendon MP that high parking charges, and Pay-by-Phone parking, are killing their businesses.
Amar Shah, manager of Diamond Photos on the High Road, said: “The parking signs are being vandalised because people are not happy.
“My shop is not busy most days. Why would people pay £1.20 to park when all they want is 10p worth of photocopying?”
Carolina Perez, shop assistant at Teeny and Weeny, told Mr Dismore that the situation has got so bad that her shop is closing down.
She said: “The situation is terrible and business is very bad.
“My boss is closing the shop because no one is buying anything anymore.
“People don’t come here now because parking is too difficult.”
Mr Dismore’s trip to North Finchley was made as part of an investigation the London Assembly is doing into how best to help London’s 197 local high streets.
The findings will all be put into a report which will be published in January 2013.
This report will lay out the London Assembly’s suggestions as to how local councils can help their high streets.
Mr Dismore said: “There are different problems in every high street but we are trying to find common solutions.
“We will produce suggestions based on our research and hope that the councils will adopt them.”
One example Mr Dismore explained to North Finchley’s traders came from a visit he had undertaken to Richmond.
He told the business owners that in Richmond residents are given cards which they can insert into parking machines to get a free ticket for half an hour’s parking.
The Assembly Member explained that this scheme has been very successful and is, therefore, something that the London Assembly might suggest is rolled out across the capital.
Ms Michael said: “In principle I think this report is a lovely idea but I don’t think it will achieve anything.
“It will take too long and by the time anything happens we will have long gone out of business.
“We need a temporary solution – maybe a trial period to help us get by in the short term.”