Shopping centre’s doubled parking fees spark outrage from Dalston residents
- Credit: Archant
Shoppers are being urged to boycott the car park of a popular retail mall this weekend after parking charges doubled overnight.
More than 300 residents have signed a petition protesting against the price hike at Kingsland Shopping Centre in Dalston and campaigners are proposing a “no parking day” on Saturday to express their anger.
Pauline Campbell, 35 of Upper Clapton Road, started the petition after returning from holiday in August to find the fee for a one-hour stay had risen from £2 to £4 and parking for more than an hour had shot up to £10.
Ms Campbell said: “I hadn’t seen anything prior – nothing to inform us and no consultation session for residents. I don’t know the reason for the increase because there is no customer service there and no overheads.”
The centre is owned by asset management firm Criterion, which has previously proposed redeveloping the Kingsland Road site into a retail and residential complex.
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Ms Campbell said: “I wrote to them and [their] response was that people don’t have to park there. That isn’t good enough when you are dealing with the public, especially one of the poorest boroughs in London.”
She said the rise in charges also threatened the survival of Ridley Road Market, a warned echoed by traders.
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Pitch holder Robert Adams, of Boleyn Road, said: “The trade has tapered off in the last six or seven weeks. The parking affects the market and it affects the whole of Dalston.”
Wells Street resident Mariana, of the African Food Store, in Ridley Road, added: “There aren’t as many people because, when people do come by car, they say they can’t stay long because of the price – sometimes they come late when the market is shutting.”
And Ali Kapesi, of Ridley Road Greengrocers, said there was a need to improve parking provision.
He said: “It definitely affects our trade; the market is completely empty. Most of the parking is taken up by permit holders here and there are not enough places.”
Ms Campbell added: “It is an essential cultural market for local people. It has been there longer than they [Criterion] have and these prices are killing off trade.
“I am Hackney born and bred and I have been going to the market since my mum pushed me in the pushchair, to me, now, driving her around in her car.
“As far as I am concerned it is a heritage site and it shouldn’t be spoilt in any way.”
She urged people to campaign to their MP and added: “As the people of Hackney, we can have a bit of clout.
“I resent the fact this company has come from out of town and started ruining the life of the market. We need to say something.”
Criterion said neither it nor the owner of the shopping centre wished to comment.