‘Islington Traffic wardens are like the Kray twins’

Furious:� Mr �Bhatt �cant �find� a �space �despite �paying �more �than ��1,000 �a �year �in �parkin

Furious:� Mr �Bhatt �cant �find� a �space �despite �paying �more �than ��1,000 �a �year �in �parking �fees - Credit: Archant

A popular newsagent who has served the community for a quarter of a century says he is being run ragged by traffic wardens.

Haren Bhatt, who has run Universal News, outside Highbury and Islington Tube station for the last 26 years, says he is fed up with having nowhere to park – despite forking out £1,100 for a business permit.

On Arsenal match days traffic wardens “swarm” the area, making it impossible to run his shop – and the council are no help whatsoever, he claims.

He said: “When I go to open my shop at 6am, I come here and there are no spaces. I run back and try to put money in the meter but it’s impossible – I have a business to run.

“I pay all that money and there are only seven spots I can park in. If there is a lorry parked, that takes up half of them.

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“They should help people who have paid so much for a business. What am I paying for? It’s ridiculous.”

The permit allows Mr Bhatt to park on Compton Terrace, Highbury Place and Highbury Station Road. When he asked Islington Council what he was supposed to do when the spaces filled up, he was told to consider buying a universal permit – a snip at £3,670.

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“I don’t drive a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley. If you pay you should have space. The traffic awards swarm around here on match days.

“These traffic wardens are making my life a misery. It’s like the Kray twins are back in town.”

Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury, which covers Universal News at Highbury Corner, said: “The local independent businesses are the life-blood of Islington and we should give them every support that we can. I am more than happy to take up this issue for MR Bhatt and will be looking into it.”

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington Council’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “We’ve looked into this concern, and carried out street surveys that show business bay spaces generally seem to be available in streets nearby. Our parking team is happy to discuss this further with Mr Bhatt and see if we can help further.

“If any driver thinks they have been given a parking ticket unfairly, they should appeal.”

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