Campaigners win car parking concessions in Lee Valley

Back in January I was approached by a local resident who had raised concerns about the impact on disabled people of new car parking charges at Abbey Gardens and Gunpowder Park.

I wrote to Alex Ferris of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority who said he’d look into it.

Shortly afterwards a group of local campaigners set up a Facebook group and the Lee Valley Parking Action Group, which I was invited to join.

Following a mass campaign of emails to Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, local councillors and our MP the Park Authority’s Executive Committee met last week to discuss changes to the parking charges.

Now, instead of one free hour followed by £2.50 for the day, there will be:

  • a £50 annual permit
  • a £20 permit for anglers
  • free parking for blue badge holders.

A lot of people want the free parking to be completely reinstated but I think this is a reasonable compromise.

The Conservative government has cut funding to local authorities – up to an estimated 77% between 2015 and 2020 – which means councils have had to increase council tax to pay for essential services and reduce their funding to non-essential services, including facilities like the Lee Valley Regional Park.

As I’ve mentioned before 64% of Epping Forest voted Conservative in the 2017 general election so these cuts are the democratic choice of our district. However, that doesn’t mean we should stop fighting them!

Well done to everybody who was involved in the campaign.

You can watch the public speakers and Executive Committee at the meeting in these YouTube clips, taken from a live-stream of the event I arranged for the Lee Valley Transport Action Group.

Film of the meeting which agreed to provide a £50 annual permit, a £20 annual permit for anglers and free parking for blue badge holders.

This footage was taken from the live stream.
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  • Mike Law

    I am astounded that so many community minded people, at the meeting, should think a £50 per annum charge is a good buy.
    My wife and I rarely use the Abbey Gardens carpark more than once a month. Having recently seen that charges were introduced, with one free hour, we went elsewhere. One hour is a token but derisorily short. Not being as sprightly as we once were, we didn’t feel we could do what we needed in that time. Hence the need for an alternative arrangement.
    I fully appreciate the £50 per year puts the money in your pocket at day one and hence is a good cash flow.
    I however will not be participating.

    • Dave Plummer

      HI Mike,

      I agree that one hour isn’t enough but I think this is a good compromise.

      Central government funding cuts mean that money has to be found elsewhere and parking is one way Lee Valley is trying to find it.

      If you don’t use the parks regularly I don’t think £2.50 is much to pay and for those who do use them regularly £1 per week is very reasonable.

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