Calls for parking “amnesty” as Temple Fortune shops face closure
Traders have backed calls for Barnet Council to suspend its “crippling” parking charges in the lead up to Christmas - as Temple Fortune shopkeepers teeter on the brink of closure.
Opposition Labour councillors have pleaded with the council to consider a parking charge “amnesty” during the crucial trading period for shopkeepers.
Homeware shop Top Value in Finchley Road has shut down and at least three other retailers along the shopping parade are believed to be considering closing for good.
Labour’s parking spokeswoman Cllr Kath McGuirk has called for free parking after 3pm in town centres across the borough as a bare minimum to prop up struggling traders.
She said: “It seems to be take, take, take at the moment and nothing is being given back.
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“It’s time to stop blaming market forces for shop closures and say the council has some power to intervene and do something to help, otherwise independent shops simply cannot survive.”
She said Golders Green and Temple Fortune town centres were suffering from a “pincer movement”, with the increase in parking charges and being positioned so close to Brent Cross.
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Loretta Paterson, who owns jewellery and gift shop Temptations in Temple Fortune, said parking charges are driving customers away from the area.
She said: “We know we’re in a recession, but the works at Henlys Corner and the parking charges have almost destroyed Temple Fortune. It’s not too late, but we need to do something now.
“A few shops I have spoken to have said they’re not going to survive. Watch this space – another year like this will kill us all.”
Barnet CPZ action group has also renewed calls for a judicial review of the parking charges.
David Attfield, a solicitor leading the campaign, said: “We remain confident legally and morally that we have a strong case.”
A High Court judge rejected a written application last month, but Mr Attfield’s legal team has applied for an oral hearing.
The council’s cabinet member for parking, Conservative Cllr Brian Coleman, was not available for comment.