Leytonstone News

Leytonstone estate tenants decry lack of parking spaces

Contractors blocked off 18 parking spaces earlier this month for cladding removal works. The lack of parking has caused tenants to double park and risk fines by parking on surrounding streets, reports Marco Marcelline

Inset image: Tenants have been forced to double park due to overcrowded parking spaces at the estate. Credit: Hibo Gorod

Tenants at a Leytonstone estate beset by long-running construction work have staged protests against contractors who have blocked off a residential car park.

As the Local Democracy Reporting Service previously reported, in February the council wrote to Montague Road Estate residents to announce that cladding will be removed from the estate due to “fire safety” concerns. 

On 7th March, council contractors Aston gave notice of their plan to start erecting scaffolding to remove the cladding. Work then promptly began on Monday 11th March. The notice period was criticised by the tenants and residents association (TRA) for being less than the two weeks promised.

According to the TRA, Aston proceeded to fence off 18 parking spaces in the central car park that sits between the Fred Wigg and John Walsh towers in the estate.

Residents say that the lack of car parking space has forced them to risk big fines by parking in nearby streets, which are in controlled parking zones.

Hibo Gorod, a Fred Wigg tower tenant since 2015, says the lack of parking space has routinely made her late for the school run and to work.

“I’m a care support worker and I must drive door to door for my clients. One day I couldn’t get my car out because [another car] was blocking mine. It meant I lost wages. I couldn’t go to work at all.”

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Hibo adds that she was trying to get to a doctor’s appointment for her asthmatic daughter when she had to wait two hours before an obstructing car was moved. 

Between Monday to Friday there is no car parking space at all, she says, as contractors fill up spaces that are meant for tenants. 

Shift workers have been particularly inconvenienced by the lack of parking, Hibo says, as they often find their cars blocked and cannot call their neighbours to move cars.

Aston contractors have blocked off a central car park in order to complete their cladding removal efforts. Credit: Hibo Gorod

The situation has caused tenants to stage a protest against contractors.

The intention of the protest, residents say, was to make it “awkward” for the workers’ trucks to come in the car park, with no direct obstruction involved, they stress.

The protests took place twice and on both occasions, contractors called the police on residents. 

Meanwhile, the council’s decision to take down cladding has been strongly criticised by the TRA.

At a council committee meeting in February, Sonia McKenzie, who chairs the TRA, accused the council of being “misleading” when it claimed a London Fire Brigade (LFB) order requires the council to immediately remove flammable external cladding.

The LFB enforcement notice, which was handed in November, does not order the removal of cladding but instead says it should be considered in a risk assessment.

Aston was contacted for comment.

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