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Green campaigner who turned Hackney parking bays into mini-gardens wins over council chiefs who wanted them gone

PUBLISHED: 11:23 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:44 29 August 2017

The council has pinned notices to the parking bay ordering it to be moved. Picture: Brenda Puech

The council has pinned notices to the parking bay ordering it to be moved. Picture: Brenda Puech

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A green campaigner who transforms parking bays into mini-gardens seems to have won over town hall chiefs following a lengthy stand-off.

Two visitors books have been filled in weeks.Two visitors books have been filled in weeks.

The “people’s parking bay” went down a storm when it emerged in London Fields earlier this year. Creator Brenda Puech has got four full visitors’ books and a 700-strong petition to prove it.

But the council said it was a nuisance and in June, following complaints from drivers, chiefs told Brenda – a member of the Hackney Living Streets campaign – to clear it away.

Earlier this month it returned, in Glyn Road, Lower Clapton. Despite two more visitors’ books being filled with praise, the council slapped a removal notice on it for the same reason – but bosses changed their minds at the 11th hour on Friday.

The Gazette understands the town hall, which has already installed its own similar “parklets” in old parking bays across the borough, is set to meet Brenda this week to discuss a way forward.

Green London Assembly Member Caroline Russell opens the 'people's parking bay' in London Fields and chats to Adam, five. Picture: Tom HortonGreen London Assembly Member Caroline Russell opens the 'people's parking bay' in London Fields and chats to Adam, five. Picture: Tom Horton

And the campaigner hailed the move as “major progress”, though she said she will be taking down the current bay and moving it to Tower Hamlets anyway.

“It’s fantastic,” she told the Gazette. “Amazing – really positive. I’m now going to cooperate as much as I can.

“There was a lot of public pressure on the council because there was huge public support and I congratulate them for changing their minds.”

Brenda says her ultimate aim is to see the introduction of council “parklet permits”, which would be given out in the same way as car parking permits.

“I still feel if you don’t have a car you should be able to buy a permit and be allowed access to that space,” she said. “Two thirds of people in Hackney don’t have cars and we want some access to kerbside space. If drivers get it by asking for it why shouldn’t we?”

Environment chief Cllr Feryal Demirci said the town hall was committed to improving quality of life and keeping Hackney the most liveable and sustainable London borough.

She added: “We support the aims of the Living Streets campaign and have already removed hundreds of car parking spaces across the borough, as well as closing streets to through-traffic, installing 210 on-street cycle hangers and creating a new parklet in Shoreditch.”

She said people can already request parking bays be changed to cycle parking, and urged people to get in touch with other ideas.

The town hall is hosting a “pop-up parklet” event on September 22 for Car Free Day, for which people will be showcasing their ideas for parklets by temporarily transforming parking bays. Brenda’s parking bay will be one of the examples used by the town hall.

For more information, click here.

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