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Wembley shoppers driven away by increased parking charges and over zealous ticketing

PUBLISHED: 15:11 26 February 2012 | UPDATED: 15:18 26 February 2012

Preston Road on a Saturday afternoon

Preston Road on a Saturday afternoon

Archant

Brent Council accused of bringing misery to traders and drivers

This could be the future of the borough’s shopping parades as businesses struggle to survive against increased parking charges and over-zealous ticketing.

Over the past two years Brent Council has been accused of bringing misery to traders and drivers by introducing pay and display across all shopping areas.

It has also increased residential parking permits by up to 300 per cent in some cases in Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) depending on the size of the car’s engine.

But now the Times can reveal that the income from parking fees will be £1.3million less than expected as drivers avoid the highger charges.

However, at the same time the local authority is expected to make an extra £2million than it first budgeted for from parking fines.

Pay and display was installed in Preston Road, Bridge Road and East Lane, all in Wembley, in January despite protests from traders.

Visitors are now forced to pay 60p for 20 minutes, £1.50 for 40 minutes, £2.40 for an hour and £6 for two hours.

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

Mother-of-two Samantha Warrington sent this photo of Preston Road to the Times last week showing the devastating effect the new fees have had on the street.

She said: “Saturday mornings used to be peak shopping time in Preston Road. Now it is deserted. Soon there will be no shops left either.” Income from parking permits is down £500,000, parking meters is down £400,000 and car parks down £445,000.

Cllr Paul Lorber, Brent Liberal Democrat leader, said: “The rip-off parking charges have put off people from using shopping centres in Brent forcing shop closures and reduced trade.

“We have a lose-lose situation. Less business for local shops and less income for Brent Council.

“Labour should re-think its damaging policy and support local people and shopkeepers by cutting parking charges now.”

But a council spokesman said: “The expected revenue figures were based on projections which the council has to make at the start of every financial year, taking a number of factors into consideration.

“The figures themselves are not set in stone and in some areas the projected figures were overestimates and in others underestimates. “This is the budget-setting process.”

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