Stroud Green Councillor Laura Edge has criticised Haringey Parks Department for failing to consult on plans to introduce parking charges between 8am and 8pm in Finsbury Park.

Details of the plans first came to light last week and it was proposed that they should be implemented in the week beginning Monday 11th October. Park users were not consulted over the charges and details of the scheme only became known after Councillor Edge passed them on to the Friends of Finsbury Park.

The introduction of parking charges in Finsbury Park has been on the table since the award of Heritage Lottery Funding for the restoration of the Park. The terms of the grant required Haringey Council to commit to increase the annual maintenance budget for the Park and a resolution to raise part of this revenue from parking charges was agreed by the Executive in October 2002. However, there has been no effort since to consult with park users over the proposals, which many believe are excessive.

Cllr Edge says:

“The current plans are ludicrous; one of the supposed aims of the scheme is to prevent commuters from parking in the park following the introduction of Controlled Parking Zones in surrounding streets. However, it is proposed that the scheme operate from 8am to 8pm, which is longer than the hours of operation of the CPZs in those streets. If you want to deter commuter parking why not introduce charging for a shorter period in the middle of the day? It’s a classic case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut and will have the effect of penalising genuine park users.”

The Council has now admitted that it bungled the consultation process and has promised to revisit the plans and take on board the comments made by users in order to come up with a more acceptable scheme. Whilst welcoming the change in approach Cllr Edge says:

“Mistakes such as this understandably generate considerable mistrust among local residents and illustrate that Haringey Council simply does not take consultation with local residents seriously.

“The political will is needed to establish an efficient council-wide approach to community consultation involving the creation of a genuine, constructive dialogue with local people rather than the current top-down approach.”