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Hundreds of private parking spaces on ‘car-free’ Haggerston West estate being sold to new buyers at £120 a month

PUBLISHED: 17:44 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:44 10 August 2017

The 'car free' zone is not car free in any way. Picture: Polly Hancock

The 'car free' zone is not car free in any way. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Families who were moved off their estate for eight years while it was rebuilt returned to find almost all the parking spaces had been sold off to private owners – who aren’t even meant to have cars.

Returning tenants have only 18 roadside parking spaces between them. Picture: Polly Hancock Returning tenants have only 18 roadside parking spaces between them. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Haggerston West development, which saw 480 homes knocked down and replaced with 761 new builds, was made into a “car-free zone” by Hackney Council as a condition of planning permission granted to housing association L&Q nine years ago.

That means private buyers of the new flats cannot get parking permits from the town hall to park on public roads, but anyone who already lived on the estate can.

But that environmentally-friendly initiative has been rendered almost pointless by the fact L&Q also built 250-plus private parking spaces and is flogging them to the hundreds of private buyers at £120 a month.

The town hall said these days it expects “car-free zones” to actually be car free, but acknowledged that in 2008 that was not the case.

That admission will come as little consolation to the 200 families in Haggerston West who were turfed out of their homes. They returned in December to discover they would have to battle it out for just 18 spaces on the private road, or cough up £10 a week for a private underground spot.

Driver Derec Hickman said: “It’s a disgrace. The offer document we were all given mentions we were going to get parking.

“L&Q said the parking strategy was agreed at a management meeting in 2012 but it’s not true. We are going back to LMQ and saying ‘give them back.’”

The parking strategy, seen by the Gazette, states parking will be “available to all users” – but neither that, nor the offer document, makes any mention of private buyers having spaces.

An L&Q spokeswomon said the parking strategy was agreed with the management board in 2012, and said underground parking was being offered to tenants at £10 a week, as well as free permits for the 18 private road spaces.

“There was no guarantee given to returning residents that they would be allocated a replacement parking space,” she added, insisting: “There is no question of spaces intended for returning residents being given to people purchasing properties.”

A Hackney spokesman said: “Planning permission for Haggerston West was granted over nine years ago, and at this time, car-free developments only restricted new residents from getting council parking permits, not from accessing parking built as part of the development.

“If planning permission were sought for an equivalent car-free development today we would expect it to have very little parking provision, other than mandatory accessible car parking for disabled residents.”

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