Friday, 21 October 2011

St Marys Primary - Dollis Park - Soak the parents

The below article appeared in the excellent Hendon & Finchley Times. See the original here.

PARENTS are rallying together to oppose Barnet Council’s plans for an all day parking restriction near a school in Finchley.

The current controlled parking in Dollis Park is from 2pm-3pm, but the council proposes to extend the restrictions from Hendon Lane up to Clifton Avenue, Church Crescent and Victoria Avenue from 8.30am-6pm.

Mums and dads who have children at St Mary’s CE Primary School in Dollis Park argue it will increase congestion near the school.

Claire Sparksman, whose seven-year-old daughter Angelina attends St Mary’s, said: “Introducing these restrictions in this quiet area will put increased pressure on parking further down Dollis Park and surrounding area and so increase congestion around St Mary's at the start and end of the school day.

“The area in which the revision is proposed is a quiet residential area with large houses, wide streets, away from shops and transport, with no clear need for all day parking.”

Ms Sparksman has written to the council opposing the changes which she argues will detriment the school’s Sustainable Travel Plan.

The travel plan encourages children to walk or cycle to school safely and has recently received an award at outstanding level by Transport for London.

Ms Sparksman added:
“This proposal is clearly part of a borough-wide revenue raising strategy by Barnet Council which to introduce a stealth parking tax on local residents, costing us yet more money and more inconvenience.

If the plan goes ahead, many residents will pave over their gardens, remove trees and gardens and create their own off-street parking, resulting in a loss of green space in the area.”

I completely agree with Ms Sparksman. This is a venile attempt to extract more money from motorists. Now let us see how this might work. There won't be any parking meters that people can use as they are now, despite 53 years of valuable service in England, no longer acceptable in Barnet. 

So if you don't have a mobile phone what do you do? Well you find a space in the nearest bay to the school, which is 25m from the school gates. Then you take your 9 year old and walk back down Dollis Park, all the way up to Ballards Lane and then you turn right and go to the nearest Paypoint outlet which is at 2 Hendon Lane ( The Corner Supermarket ). To find your own nearest paypoint for any postcode go here.

You will then have walked 0.29miles = 466m and back again = 932m or almost a kilometre. This will have taken 15 minutes, maybe longer if there is a queue in the shop and your 9 year old will be tired at the start of the school day. And then you have to do the same again in the afternoon.

Whilst you are doing that the Civil Enforcement Officer who has been lurking nearby, ( remember that Barnet Council have been targeting schools according to a press release they sent out a month or two ago ) will have pounced and given you a ticket and then you will have to spend all your time writing to Barnet Council with an appeal, they take weeks to reply, or spend hours on the phone trying to get through to them, instead of helping your child with their homework.

I wonder how this cashless parking scheme ever got through the Equalities assessment. It must have been fudged.

If I was in charge of the school I think I would be looking to see how I could safely organise a dropping off point in the school entrance. From looking on google earth I can see that there is masses of tarmac. Send pedestrians and walkers right and cars left maybe ?

There must be a better way.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

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