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Hackney Council accused of running parking "protection racket"

PUBLISHED: 09:42 27 November 2012

Hackney Council has been accused of running a "protection racket" after a second council parking scheme consultation in less than a year landed on residents' doorsteps.

Plans to introduce parking controls along Cassland Road in South Hackney and side roads to the north were rejected last December, but the new questionnaire comes as a result of popular demand, according to the council.

It said the consultation was directly requested by 98 residents, while others raised the issue with their ward councillors.

Under the plans, a resident’s parking permit would cost £109 annually for a car with a 1.2 – 2 litre engine.

Robert Ward, 57, of Cassland Road, says the idea of paying to park where he always has is ‘like a protection racket.’

He said: “The great thing about the South Hackney area is that it is completely free of parking controls, and rightly so.

“It’s such a pleasure to visit here for that reason. That’s obviously going to change because it seems Hackney Parking is not going to rest until parking controls and restrictions are introduced by stealth into practically every road in the area.

“They are creating parking problems where none existed, and then arguing that the controls are needed and that they will benefit residents and businesses.”

A council spokeswoman said the consultation process is fully transparent and allows everyone in the affected area to have a say about the possible introduction of parking controls.

“The consultation which has taken place in this area is currently being analysed and there is no guarantee that it will go ahead unless there is support for it,” she said.

Income generated from parking is tightly controlled under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and cannot be used to subsidise general expenditure, and is put back into maintaining parking services.

“This does not mean we should not manage parking efficiently, economically and effectively, a necessity given the economic downturn and a feature of many of the policies in this Parking Enforcement Plan,” added the spokeswoman.

Results of the consultation, which ended on November 9, will be made public in January next year.

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