Council defends decision to ban street parking in residential area, reports Victoria Munro, Local Democracy Reporter
Residents in eight Walthamstow housing blocks are furious after on-street parking outside their homes was removed, with some warning they may be forced to quit their jobs.
A letter from Waltham Forest Council, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, gave a two-week warning residents living along The Drive that parking would be suspended, on 15th February.
The letter, from the council’s housing operations director Jane Martin, explained this was being done because the road needs “to be kept clear at all times” for emergency vehicles.
Angry residents, some of whom refused to move their cars and had them towed away, claim there was no problem with access and that the council must provide alternative spaces.
The council provided a video of a bin lorry attempting to navigate The Drive, which is driving partly on the pavement to get past a row of parked cars.
Desi Zrancheva, who lives in Walton House, warned that the change could force her to quit her job or even sell the family home. She explained that her night shifts for Transport for London finish at 4am and that it is impossible for her to take public transport because of the heavy equipment her job requires.
Desi told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “At the moment, I feel that I should quit my job because what else can I do? My husband is in a similar situation. He works at the Iceland Depot and when he starts there is no bus or tube service.
“We are dependent on our cars so, for my family, it’s going to be a nightmare. The nearest car park is in Chingford and you have to pay £20 in the morning.”
Daniel Zawadzki, of Walton House, questioned the council’s statement that the new restrictions were needed for emergency access and said residents had not been given proof of this.
He claimed he had seen fire engines and bin lorries navigate the road with “no problem” in the past and that the change would leave “over 100 cars with no chance to park”.
He added: “This is not a car-free development. They are just coming in, painting whatever, and they do not care.”
Michael Stanbury, residents’ association chair for Attlee Terrace, said some residents already struggled to find parking, even before it was suspended on The Drive.
He said: “It’s going to be first come, first serve, which will mean more disputes and more money in the kitty for the council.
“They know the surrounding streets are chock-a-block with cars, there’s no other option.”
He noted that there had once been plans to knock down run-down sheds in the estate’s courtyard, which would provide parking for residents, but that this was abandoned.
Louise Mitchell, cabinet member for housing, said the council decided to introduce parking controls in its housing estates in 2019 “to tackle problems with emergency and other essential vehicle access”.
She said: “This work does not involve removing any legitimate parking spaces – all estates maintain their existing designated parking capacity, including at The Drive.
“Letters have been sent to residents to inform them that this work is taking place, along with an explanation of why it is important, and on-street notices have also been placed around the area.
“Vehicles parked on yellow lines anywhere in Waltham Forest risk receiving a PCN [penalty charge notice] or removal.”