Brent charity condemns council’s move on scratchcard parking system

Kay Meredith is fighting for charity parking permits for Brent Samaritans

Kay Meredith is fighting for charity parking permits for Brent Samaritans - Credit: Archant

A charity fighting for parking restrictions to be lifted for its volunteers has spoken out against Brent Council’s decision to extend the validity of scratchcards for visitor permits.

The popular £1-a-day scratchcards were due to expire on October 31 but the council has today (Wednesday) granted a reprieve until August 31.

However, new scratchcards will not be sold due to the closure of the last ‘parking shop’ in Brent on May 31.

The scrapping of the scratchcards in favour of an online system meant volunteers at Brent Samaritans were facing a parking fee of £8 for one day shift after October 31 to park near the charity’s Leopold Road office in Harlesden.

But the charity has no stockpile of scratchcards to use to take advantage of the extension.

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Kay Meredith, who chairs Brent Samaritans, is appealing to Brent Council to issue the charity with charity permits which volunteers could use for unlimited hours.

She said: “Although we welcome this news for residents who may find it difficult to go online, unfortunately it doesn’t improve the situation for Brent Samaritans.

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“We have already used up all our scratchcards and are unable to pay for visitors’ permits online or by phone, since we are considered a business, rather than a residence.

“The best solution would be for Brent Council to introduce charity permits, like other boroughs have, which could be allocated to any of our volunteers.

“In the meantime, our unpaid volunteers will be forced to pay £8 each for one shift on the helpline or park far away from the centre, which is difficult for some people.”

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