Drivers and local businesses have condemned Hackney Council after discovering temporary parking restrictions imposed because of the Olympics could become permanent.
However, Hackney Council has rejected claims that it was ‘sneakily’ attempting to change the regulations and has promised they will be lifted in September.
The special restrictions, known as Olympic Temporary Event Zones, came into force on June 21 in the Lower Clapton and Hackney Wick areas which had not previously been controlled. They are due to end on September 9.
The restrictions, requested by LOCOG – London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games – mean areas affected will be accessible to permit holders only between the hours of 8am to 9pm every day. Residents have been forced to apply for permits.
However, a statutory council notice published on June 18 said the temporary traffic order was “experimental” and could go on for a maximum of 18months trial period before a permanent order was considered. It then went on to invite residents to write in with objections and comments.
Local resident and driver Richard Cohen, 62, Lower Clapton, told ELL: “Why is Hackney Council sneakily changing the parking rules on the back of the Olympic CPZ? Quite frankly, I am appalled at the underhand way this has been introduced without any prior consultation or details about how the extension will operate.
”I am extremely upset that Hackney Council has put people in a state of limbo regarding residents and visitors parking within the areas concerned.”
Dylan Uddin, 30, director of Dimension Estates on Lower Clapton Road and who lives within the new zone, said: “Since the zone came into place, it’s been a lot easier for me to park.
“If these restrictions became permanent, it would help me and other local residents in the sense that there will always be parking available, but for the council to charge locals just to park is terrible.
“It’s hard enough paying tax and car insurance. We should be allowed to park without paying another access amount.”
Abdullah Solak has been the owner of Palm 2 Supermarket and café on Lower Clapton Road for the last 20 years. He said: “If parking permits become permanent, it will effect my business a lot.
“This has become an area where people can come and sit, relax and have a cup of coffee. Now they may think about going somewhere else.”
But a spokesperson for Hackney Council told ELL: “Enforcement of LOCOG’s Olympic virtual permit area will end after September 9 and the temporary signage will be removed from the streets. The Council isn’t keeping these restrictions and we would not introduce or extend a CPZ in Hackney without asking our residents about it first.
“We are committed to consult residents in some of the areas south of the borough about the affects of displacement parking, and this will commence after the Games finish.”
Displacement parking is where, in areas of high demand and limited parking capacity, vehicles can be displaced to nearby residential areas. This can prevent residents from parking near their homes and make access more difficult.
For more information about the parking restrictions, visit www.hackney.gov.uk/Parking-during-the-Games.htm.