Hundreds of Harefield villagers have signed a petition, in a bid to halt the council from introducing car parking charges.
Over 250 people disagree with Hillingdon Council’s plans to put a price on using Harefield House car park, which serves High Street shoppers.
David Baddeley, an optometrist at Harefield Opticians, began the ‘Help save free parking in Harefield’ petition, as he feels it will directly affect his clients.
The petition states: “The currently free car park that serves the High Street in Harefield has always been free and a great asset to the village.
“Drivers will avoid the car park and hog the High Street instead, causing further congestion on such a busy road with safety implications.”
Mr Baddeley said: “Our customers park there. A person may come for an eye test and only put a little bit in the meter. Meanwhile during the test, if we find issues, requiring them have longer, they’re going to have to go back out to the meter and it’s going to get quite awkward.”
Hillingdon Council carried out a consultation between September 16 and October 7, which Mr Baddeley feels was “not enough”.
'Not consulted properly'
After seeing his petition gather 255 signatures in a week, he said: “Clearly other residents haven’t been consulted properly either. That’s the real issue, that even people directly affected never got a letter through the post when it impacts them negatively.
“Local residents really feel it wasn’t adequate just to post notices on lampposts and the Council need to go back to the drawing board and back to consultation.”
The local authority became responsible for Harefield House car park after it was granted a long lease to “retain the car park for shoppers in Harefield.”
It meant charges would be introduced, imposing a maximum stay of four hours, and fines could be issued if a ticket is not displayed in the vehicle window.
Mr Baddeley said: “One of the reasons people come from quite some distances is because of the ease of parking here.
“More people will park on the high street itself and will cause a certain amount of congestion if these charges are put in place, as the parking on the high street will still be free.
“It will cause parkers to park on nearby residential streets instead which will be annoying for the residents.
“We are not a robust enough commercial centre to have parking levied. Even Rickmansworth, a much bigger place, has two hours free with no need to put a ticket on the window.”
Hillingdon Council’s consultation is currently in the process of being reported to the Cabinet Member to consider.
A spokesperson at the council said: “There has been a consultation on introducing parking charges in Harefield House car park and objections will be considered.
“The online petition has not been submitted yet for formal consideration however we will take into account all concerns before making a final decision.”