TRADERS will learn this week whether their year-long campaign for a stop and shop scheme in Northwood Hills has been successful.
The scheme has been planned for Joel Street, between Tolcarne Drive and Pinner Road, giving shoppers half an hour of free parking.
Shopkeepers say the area is suffering in the recession and small businesses are in desperate need of the scheme, to increase trade.
They are unhappy that, as parking in Joel Street is free aside from 11am to noon, when it is not permitted, people can leave their cars there all day, causing a loss of business as customers have nowhere to park.
Hillingdon Council has been looking into the feasibility of installing the stop and shop since February last year, when an informal consultation was carried out. From the 30 businesses that responded, 22 were in favour of the scheme.
Councillor Keith Burrows, cabinet member for planning and transportation, is due to make his decision on the scheme tomorrow - March 10.
The scheme, which will cost about £40,000 to implement, has been back by Northwood Hills' three ward councillors and its chamber of commerce, who believe it will revitalise the area and help many independent shops.
Treasurer of the chamber of commerce, Mrs O'Connor, who owns Hearts and Flowers in Joel Street, said she hoped the scheme would boost business by up to 30 per cent.
"It means people can come and go into shops as they please, which will certainly help during the recession.
"People often park their cars here at 12noon and go off into town, leaving their car there all day and sometimes all night, which costs traders a lot of custom.
"I visit Eastcote regularly and the stop and shop scheme seems to have worked really well there, so it would be good to see it here."
Every 30 minutes after the half-hour period will cost HillingdonFirst card holders 20 pence, and non-residents 40 pence.
But a handful of residents have voiced their opposition to the scheme, fearing it will create parking problems in side roads.
In response to a petition with 465 signatures, the council consulted on a residents' parking scheme in February 2008 – but this was not implemented due to insufficient support.
Andrew Shearman, of Ryefield Crescent: "Residents of the flats which face Joel Street and those in Ryefield Crescent will have nowhere to park, and that will spill into residential roads.
"Had residents known the current proposal was in the offing, the outcome (of the residents parking scheme) might have been different."
Visit the website from tomorrow (10) onwards for a report on Councillor Burrows' decision.
How do you feel about the stop and shop plans? Email reporter Siba Matti at firstname.lastname@example.org