Parking fines in Wembley street up by 161 per cent following the introduction of meters

Traders in Preston Road are unhappy with strict parking restrictions which have resulted in a huge i

Traders in Preston Road are unhappy with strict parking restrictions which have resulted in a huge increase of fines. - Credit: Archant

Motorists in Preston Road pay the cost for shopping locally

Cllr Jim Moher

Cllr Jim Moher - Credit: Archant

Parking fines at a shopping parade in Wembley have surged by 161 per cent since council chiefs controversially introduced pay and display meters last year.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Times has revealed that in Preston Road alone, the number of tickets issued has shot up from 499 in 2011/2012 to 1,305.

Shoppers are now forced to pay 60p for 20 minutes, £1.50 for 40 minutes, and £2.40 for an hour, more than in affluent areas including St John’s Wood.

The charges were also introduced in Bridge Road and East Lane, where traders have since claimed that shoppers were being driven away by the costs.

In addition, Brent Council has also been utilising a mobile CCTV car which is allowed to break the council’s own parking rules to snoop on drivers.

Robert Marklew, who works at All Seasons, a fruit and flowers stall in Preston Road, told the Times the street is the emptiest he has seen it for 40 years.

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Describing the parking charges as a council “cash cow” he said: “It breaks down a community. People don’t just want to shop. They like to stop and talk to each other – it’s a community they are destroying.”

All three shopping parades are minutes away from large supermarkets offering free parking.

The council also attempted to introduce an hour’s free parking in a nearby car park in Preston Road but conceded it had not worked.

Town hall bosses refused to disclose the exact revenue taken from parking tickets – but a standard fine is £65 if paid within 14 days, which then increases to £130 – meaning well in excess of £100,000 could have been collected.

Steven Dennison, chairman of the Wembley Park Traders Association, which covers Bridge Road, where 73 parking fines were issued, said: “We don’t want our area to become derelict as a result of mismanagement, but the council doesn’t seem to have any time for traders.”

Cllr Jim Moher, lead member for highways and transportation at the council, said: “Preston and Bridge Roads parking arrangements are exceptional.

“Previously, they had a free first hour with no return before two hours and so it required intensive warden monitoring.

“The 1,305 figure since January 2012 is therefore not a doubling of the penalties arising from that very different arrangement.

“It is the same as all other busy shopping areas of the borough since January 2012.

“We are mindful of the traders’ concerns due to the recession and unfair supermarket competition.

“We have now completed our review and are exploring the best way to address such parking issues as may affect shopper’s behaviour.”