Highgate Hill restaurant bosses losing business due to parking charges slam council’s effort to help

Jenny Song of Sushi Wa, Fabrizio Tolomeo of Fabrizio and James Hutchinson of Popeseye outside the re

Jenny Song of Sushi Wa, Fabrizio Tolomeo of Fabrizio and James Hutchinson of Popeseye outside the restaurants in Highgate Hill. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

The town hall has reduced parking charges outside a row of restaurants in Highgate Hill after widespread outrage about the charges – but traders still say it’s a “p***take”.

Last year, 24-hour resident parking was introduced after drivers living near the Whittington Hospital complained visitors were nicking their spaces.

But the area it covers includes the bays outside Popeseye Steakhouse, Fabrizio pizzeria and Suhsi Wa, leaving diners who choose to drive facing an additional bill.

James Hutchison, owner of Popeseye, said business was down “40 or 50 per cent” as a result and has accused the council of ignoring its own policy to support small traders.

He and the group of owners have since threatened legal action.

As a response, the town hall has now reduced short-stay parking charges for a three-month trial period. Tariffs in the area did range from £4 to £5.40 but are now all £4.

But James said the move was nowhere near enough. “It’s a complete p***take,” he said. “Trade has suffered significantly since they brought in these ridiculous parking restrictions with thoughts only for moaning residents and none for the small businesses that are on our parade.”

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James has been collecting the thoughts of his diners to support his and fellow business owners’ campaign.

One woman was not only charged £8.40 for two hours’ parking outside Popeseye – she also got a ticket.

“I returned and the inspector said it hadn’t shown up,” she said. “It’s a complete pain in the arse.”

DBS Refrigerators, who came to fix a fridge at the restaurant, said: “We are emergency refrigerator engineers and paid £3.90 to park for 20 minutes. It’s outrageous and the most expensive place we’ve seen in London.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Following concerns from local businesses, we have reduced short stay parking tariffs on Highgate Hill and the surrounding streets for a three month trial period.

“Once we have collected the results of the trial, we will make a decision about future tariffs.

“Extra parking controls were initially introduced because high numbers of non-local people parking in the area were having a negative impact on residents.

“We will continue to work with both residents and local businesses.”

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