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Highgate locals urge rethink on CPZ proposals at public meeting over controversial changes

PUBLISHED: 11:36 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:37 30 January 2019

Sian Berry explains a point to a member of the audience at the meeting in the Gatehouse pub, on the proposed new CPZ for Highgate.

Sian Berry explains a point to a member of the audience at the meeting in the Gatehouse pub, on the proposed new CPZ for Highgate.

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A spirited public meeting unanimously rejected Camden Council’s new controlled parking zone (CPZ) for Highgate Village, over concerns it will “kill” the village and its high street.

A unanimous vote against a new CPZ in Highgate at a meeting in the Gatehouse pub. Picture: Harry TaylorA unanimous vote against a new CPZ in Highgate at a meeting in the Gatehouse pub. Picture: Harry Taylor

There was standing room only last night as more than 160 residents and traders packed into the Gatehouse Theatre in Highgate Village. Highgate councillors from both boroughs fielded questions.

Brexit parallels featured throughout, with reference to the wafer thin majority for no change, and one resident saying he regretted voting in favour of the unpopular plan. A “people’s vote” at the end of the meeting on Monday night found the room largely united in opposition.

The meeting heard the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution could close if the plans go ahead.

Isabel Raphael, former head at Channing School and now a tutor at the HLSI, told the Ham&High “We don’t get any funding and only get income from our classes and membership. You can’t teach a class if everyone has to go off and move their car.”

Empty shops on Highgate High Street. Picture: Polly HancockEmpty shops on Highgate High Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Sian Berry (Green, Camden) gave hope to the audience when she said Camden Council’s purported failure to take the Highgate Neighbourhood Plan into account “could be significant” in stopping the CPZ.

Ricky Green, who runs Greens greengrocer’s in the high street, said: “It’s already a dying high street and this will make things worse. We pay a hell of a lot for our rates. What do we get for it?”

The proposed restrictions, reported in last week’s Ham&High, are planned to run from 8.30am to 6pm on weekdays.

The meeting was feisty, with one woman calling the situation “Kafkaesque”. Chairing it, the Highgate Society’s Andrew Sulston said the plans had been agreed due to the inconclusive result of the consultation and Camden’s transport targets.

Cllr Liz Morris (Lib Dem, Haringey), who lives in Southwood Lane, recalled chaos when a CPZ came in on the Camden side in 2003. “I had a toddler, and couldn’t park my car anywhere,” she said.

“It even got towed away once or twice. I worry if the changes go through, it will result in a parking stress on the Haringey side.”

According to the results in the proposal by Camden Council, only 723 people consulted in Highgate responded to the questionnaire – 12.9pc of those asked.

There was criticism from Channing’s parents and teachers that schools were not considered. Music teacher Marissa Pepper said she understood concerns about parking during the school run, but argued it benefited businesses: “Without the schools and 4,000 children, there wouldn’t be a high street. Parents will drop their children off then come into the village. That could be lost.”

The Traffic Management Order (TMO) will be published on February 7, giving the public three weeks to have a further say.

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