Jubilee festival parking tickets lead to accusations of ‘mean spirited’ Barnet

Golders Hill Park’s Diamond Jubilee Festival was billed as the biggest free celebration in the area – but drivers were stung with hefty parking fines.

Thousands of people streamed into the park on Monday (June 4) to enjoy a day of classical music at Barnet Council’s “flagship” royal party.

But a passer-by spotted more than a dozen drivers being left with �80 fines for parking on a yellow line – despite many believing that the restrictions had been suspended because it was a Bank Holiday.

Derek Coltman, of North End Road, Golders Green, said: “It was very unpleasant. One man with his family returned to his car to find the ticket and began shouting at the parking warden. But the warden said he was only doing his job.

“The driver had been invited to the free event by Barnet Council and had had a nice time – but now was faced with this fine.

“It wasn’t what the day was supposed to be about and it left a sour taste.”

On its website, Barnet Council stated that “off street parking restrictions may be enforced unless street signs indicate otherwise” – prompting criticism that the town hall was giving residents vague and unhelpful guidance.

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Mr Coltman, who went to the festival with his wife Barbara, said he saw more than a dozen ticketed cars in Finchley Road alone.

“It really angered me,” he said. “I was really upset about the people going back to their cars only to discover this nasty shock.

“I would have thought that Barnet might have issued a dispensation saying that there were no charges because it was the Jubilee weekend. It seems very mean spirited.”

The council has faced repeated criticism over its parking policy, which many residents have complained about on the grounds that it unfairly penalises drivers.

The borough has scrapped all pay and display parking meters and replaced them with a pay-by-phone system. It has also introduced significant price hikes.

Earlier this month, Barnet Cllr Brian Coleman lost his seat on the London Assembly and was ditched as the borough’s parking chief by his Conservative colleagues after widespread anger at the policy.

Theresa Musgrove, who blogs about Barnet politics as Mrs Angry, said: “To penalise people who have come a long way to attend the only real Jubilee party in the borough is pretty petty.

“They should waive the fines. They are making money out of a celebration and I am sure the Queen wouldn’t approve.”

A spokesman for Barnet Council said the council only enforced some parking restrictions.

He said: “Around events we need to carry out light enforcement to keep traffic moving and make sure there is access for emergency vehicles.

‘‘Signs indicate when controls are in place and they will state if there are suspensions for a particular day, for example weekends and bank holidays.”