Government minister accuses Brent Council of using drivers as cash cows

Conservative MP speaks out after town hall introduces new parking charges

A government minister has slammed Brent Council for introducing parking charges outside shops in Wembley.

It is feared parking meters in Preston Road and Bridge Road will drive trade out of the area forcing businesses to shut up shop.

Conservative politician Bob Neill MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government, has accused the Labour-run council of using residents as “cash cows” and called for more parking spaces to help smaller shops.

He said: “Too many families and local firms face a parking pain in the neck. Running a gauntlet of parking fines, soaring parking charges and a lack of parking spaces puts people off from shopping on the high street. Councils should not be using residents as cash cows.”

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSE) has also hit back this week accusing the council of showing a “lack of understanding” towards the traders.

Hannah Holdroyd, the federation’s London development manager, said: “Councils levying higher charges for parking is an increasing problem across London. We feel that as a revenue raising exercise it is something that needs to be controlled.

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“We would like to see a more uniform parking law around the country. It is a genuine lack of understanding.”

The charges will cost motorists 60p for 20 minutes, �1.50 for 40 minutes and �2.40 for an hour.

The maximum length of time drivers will be able to park in the street will be two hours at a cost of �6.

Ms Holdroyd added: “�6 for two hours is a lot of money. It will discourage people from parking there.

“Local councils are strapped for cash and they do need to generate money. Getting the balance is always going to be a challenge.

“The FSEis extremely disappointed that Brent Council has made this decision and not taken in consideration the needs of the traders. We hope that this does not cause them problems and lead to the death of the high street.”

The council said it introduced the plans to standardise short-term parking across the borough.

Campaigners are now considering taking legal action against the local authority.