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People's Parking Bay campaigner Brenda Puech praises 'radical' Hackney Council for rolling out 'parklets' scheme

PUBLISHED: 17:52 30 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:57 30 July 2018

Brenda Puech (right) welcoming visitors to her

Brenda Puech (right) welcoming visitors to her "people's parking bay" - or "parklet" as they are now known

Brenda Puech

A delighted campaigner who came up with the idea to turn parking bays into mini-parks has praised "radical" Hackney Council for rolling out her scheme.

“People’s Parking Bay” brainchild Brenda Puech was invited by the council to set up her “parklet” - complete with bench, flowers, umbrella and bicycle - stand at a roadshow in Broadway Market on Wednesday, to show what can be done.

Ironically the council evicted her mini-park from a parking bay last year, after Brenda set it up despite being refused permission.

In a u-turn, the council is now inviting idea submissions for more of the mini-parks, in a trial to “reclaim the roads from cars”.

“Parklets” will replace individual parking bays on streets, and 15 of them will be in place for up to six months.

“Obviously I’d like it to be much more ambitious but it’s a perfect first step,” said Brenda, 55, the co-ordinator for Hackney Living Streets and the London Cycling Campaign.

“The council is radical to be doing this. It’s the first in the UK to put a parklet on a residential street.”

Submissions can include planters, benches, games, notice boards and anything else - within reason. The 15 successful applicants will be able to access grants of up to £150 to set them up and they can also apply to make them permanent.

The reception at London Fields was warm.

“I’d say 95pc of people thought it was a great idea,” said Brenda. “They remembered it from last year. The others were worried about where they were going to park. They shouldn’t be seen as threatening because the programme is to have just 15 and Hackney has over 1,000 streets.

“I’m curious to see what happens and whether people will apply,” added Brenda who can’t apply herself because she lives on a council estate.

The scheme is in line with the council’s ambition to make sure that by 2025, Hackney has the most “liveable” and sustainable neighbourhoods and streets in London.

Deputy Mayor of Hackney Cllr Feryal Demirci said: “Our parklets scheme will help reclaim our streets from the car and open up spaces to the whole community.”

Find out more at hackney.gov.uk/parklets. Applications close on August 26.

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