By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter
Residents and shop owners fear new parking restrictions in their area will have “catastrophic” effects and “cripple” local businesses.
Greenwich council plans to expand an area of parking restrictions, known as a controlled parking zone, forcing drivers to pay for parking unless they have a permit.
The changes come after draft plans for the council to introduce parking restrictions on every street, according to a transport strategy released in August.
The new controlled parking zone in North Eltham would operate between 9am and 5.30pm from Monday to Saturday.
The council said that the changes could help prevent long term parking on streets, and improve access to the area.
Patrick O’Sullivan, centre director of St Mary’s Eltham Community Centres, said that the new restrictions will impact their staff running community groups at Progress Hall in Admiral Seymour Road.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The groups have voiced that this would totally disrupt them. When people are meant to be brought together, it’s pushing them apart. Some can’t afford to pay for the parking permits.”
Mr O’Sullivan said that there is no problem with parking on the road, and is worried that the change will stop people coming to the community groups in the hall. The groups that use Progress Hall include a lace-making class, girl guides group and dancing class.
In documents regarding the charge, the council said that paying for parking could help discourage car use in the area. The change is in line with the council’s ambitions to reach net zero carbon emissions in Greenwich by 2030.
Energie Fitness, a gym that opened in Eltham last year, would also be hit by the changes. In an objection from council documents, a spokesperson from the gym said the new restrictions would have a “catastrophic effect” on the business, to the point that staying open would “no longer be viable”.
The spokesperson said that 75 per cent of their customers drive to the gym, and that closing the business would lead to 15 staff members losing their jobs. They said: “It is extremely disappointing to hear that [Greenwich Council] are looking to introduce a parking charge which would cripple all businesses along this high street.”
The decision to add parking restrictions to New Eltham will be paused until a scrutiny committee has considered the objections to the plans.
Greenwich council was approached for comment.
Pictured top: Progress Hall in Admiral Seymour Road (Picture: Google Street View)