Highgate CPZ: Campaigners hand over 400 objections against parking changes to Camden Council

Bee Kwan and Nicola Caisley with their leafets about proposed changes to Highgate's CPZ, outside th

Bee Kwan and Nicola Caisley with their leafets about proposed changes to Highgate's CPZ, outside their information point in Highgate Village. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of Highgate locals have urged Camden Council to rethink controversial new parking restrictions in the village.

Highgate High Street looking south. Picture: Polly Hancock

Highgate High Street looking south. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Mum-of-two Nicola Caisley handed over a list of more than 400 names to council staff on Wednesday, after she asked residents what they thought of the CPZ proposals. Along with Lavender on the Hill owner Bee Kwan, she has been collecting opinions on the scheme over the last month.

Her concerns about the scheme are driven by the effect it could have on the village’s High Street.

She said: “Highgate’s got that village atmosphere and a lot of people like to come because it’s got the independent shops that somewhere like Hampstead hasn’t.

“It’s quite unique in London, and that’s one of the things that Camden hasn’t taken into consideration.”

Around 410 people objected to the plans, she said. In comparison, only three people she spoke to, had backed the scheme. Comments were also submitted online.

In its own consultation in January, Camden only received 65 replies in total.

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Nicola, who lives in Southwood Lawn Road, got involved after going to the fractious meeting about the CPZ in late-January.

“I just went along to the meeting and offered my help. It’s the unfairness of it all that has got me. A majority vote should be a majority,” she said.

In Camden’s initial consultation, a wafer-thin majority of one person voted to keep the current hours. Camden said this wasn’t a significant enough margin, and made changes in line with its transport strategy.

Nicola and Ms Kwan put up posters in the windows of the empty units on the corner of Highgate High Street and Highgate West Hill, and used the space to leaflet the public on weekends.

“My daughter told me I was jumping out at people ‘like it’s Halloween.’ A lot of people didn’t know about the changes when we spoke to them,” she said.

Under the proposals, drivers won’t be able to park outside shops in the village between 9am and 5.30pm without buying a ticket. Currently the restrictions are only in place between 10am and midday, on weekdays.

Business owners, members of the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institute, and the Highgate Society have raised their concerns. The Highgate Society has called for Camden to meet with them, to “look holistically at Highgate.”

A Camden Council spokesperson said: “We recognise the issues faced by communities which straddle two boroughs and will always try to mitigate the impact of this.

“Consultation responses to proposed changes are one of a number of factors that are given consideration when reaching a decision on whether those proposed changes should be implemented. Other factors that are also considered are the council’s agreed strategies, policies and objectives and the council’s duties and responsibilities.”