Monday, 6 February 2012

What's the buzz? Barnet traders' parking charges protest

Sometimes when my blogging job takes me to new parts of the borough, I get lost. That happened this morning on my way to the North Finchley traders' demo against Barnet council's disastrous new parking charges and cashless parking policy.

Don't trust Google maps! Or, at least, don't rely solely on them to get you places. I wiffled around for a good 40 minutes down near Pinkham Way in the slush before I thought to phone a fellow blogger to check where the demo was! It wasn't where I was. However, had I not got lost, I would never have seen Leisure Way, Finchley. What a hideous development! To think, people go there for a night out! Anyway, on to North Finchley...

When I got to Cafe Buzz, owned by Helen Michael, the instigator of this morning's protest, the main event was over! I still got some nice photos (see the picture of Helen Michael at the top), though, and had a good breakfast in Helen's cafe. (It's very good value!)

You can see a report and pictures of the demonstration on Mrs Angry's Broken Barnet blog and Barnet Eye Roger Tichborne has taken some good footage which he has kindly shared - see below.

In a recession, when shopkeepers who rely on customers having money to spend are already struggling, the last thing they need is a kick in the guts from the local council. But that is what the local Tories have delivered with their incompetent parking policy, which has driven many would-be shoppers away from Barnet's high streets.

The new charges are just one of the ways Barnet council plans to 'optimise' its 'revenue income' in the next few years. Others are the cruel increase in charges for adult social care services. Expect to see more... The overall context for these is the cuts to local government funding from central government. Many are now feeling the squeeze, including some who might never have expected to.

The Labour group on the council has posted an e-petition calling for reversal of the new parking charges. If the petition garners enough signatures, there could be a full council debate on the policy. Please sign if you have not already done so.

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