Power to the people after Islington Labour Group’s CPZ rethink

Islington Council's CPZ proposals were met with over 10,000 petition signatures against the plans.

Islington Council's CPZ proposals were met with over 10,000 petition signatures against the plans. - Credit: Archant

Islington Chamber of Commerce said it was “people power” that forced the borough’s Labour Group to backtrack on its hated controlled parking zone (CPZ) plans.

Islington's CPZ areas. Picture: Islington Council

Islington's CPZ areas. Picture: Islington Council - Credit: Archant

Islington Council, of which Labour has almost 100 per cent control, had been planning for charged parking to be extended to seven days a week in the borough – and even 24 hours a day in some zones.

But the proposals, for which a two-month consultation took place this summer, were condemned by residents and businesses in most parts of Islington.

The Labour group – which makes up 47 of Islington’s 48 councillors – met on Thursday amid the public’s concerns.

And afterwards, a senior party source said the group is “minded” to not follow the proposals in three of the five parking zones – which make up the majority of the borough – where residents were overwhelmingly against the plans.

When the consultation ended last month, petitions with more than 10,000 signatures were handed to the town hall.

And Cllr Richard Watts’ leader’s question time event, held three days after, turned into an angry free-for-all as protesters’ frustrations spilled over.

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Hak Huseyin, chairman of Islington Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is phenomenal news.

“To the group’s credit, they listened and put it to bed when they realised it was such a bad idea.”

Islington Labour’s decision means the Angel area, Archway regeneration area and stadium control area of locations affected by on-street parking on Arsenal FC matchdays will not be affected.

But in the two other zones, the Finsbury Square and Farringdon Station area and Whittington Hospital area, the CPZ consultation indicated that a majority of residents were in favour of increased enforcement. The source said the group will therefore continue to pursue its plans in these zones.

The chamber was one of many groups, from Islington Liberal Democrats to The Polish Church of Our Lady of Czestochowa, who opposed the Angel, Archway and stadium enforcement zones.

And Mr Huseyin added: “This is absolutely an example of people power. It’s the most signatures the council has received on anything they have ever proposed.

“There are so many issues that would have arisen from this scheme. For the restaurants on Upper Street, for example, it would have been devastating for night-time trade. And with the feedback we got from individual residents, people just thought it seemed a way of raising more revenue.”

The council launched the consultation in July as it believed parking pressures had changed since the last CPZ review in 2007. With the increased measures, it wanted to make it easier for residents to park nearer their homes.

But Cllr Claudia Webbe, executive member for environment and transport, said: “What I have always said is that we will listen to what residents and businesses have to say.

“As a council, we have conducted one of the biggest consultations in its history, with well over 11,000 responses, and we are committed to listening to those.”

A formal vote is currently scheduled for a meeting of the council’s executive in January, and this could even be brought forward.

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