Residents say charges hitting local people on low incomes
Entrance to the Plough Lane stadium. Picture: Google Streetview
â€œNightmareâ€ parking restrictions on streets close to AFC Wimbledonâ€™s new stadium on Plough Lane will remain.
It costs up to Â£9.15 to park on match days. The parking restrictions were brought in to deter football fans from parking outside localsâ€™ homes but have faced backlash from residents claiming they are penalised instead.
Local Jo Lewis said the restrictions, at worst, cause anxiety and distress for some of the poorest and most vulnerable residents. She told Wandsworth Councilâ€™s transport committee on 3 November that grandparents on limited incomes have to fork out for visits that â€œshould be freeâ€ and called for the restrictions to be scrapped completely.
Ms Lewis said, â€œThey are not wanted, not needed and theyâ€™re making everyoneâ€™s lives a nightmare. Vulnerable people are finding their lives are made more complicated by these restrictions.
â€œLonely people are finding it harder to encourage people to come and visit them and people on low incomes either have to find the money they canâ€™t afford to have friends or family over or risk facing a fine, people with businesses in the local area are finding the parking issues are making it harder for their businesses to survive.â€
Ms Lewis read out a statement from a resident who claimed her in-laws were slapped with a ticket after dropping off food when she was ill and that there were â€œno clear signsâ€ telling them restrictions applied that day. Ms Lewis said most stadium-goers walk or take public transport anyway to go to matches, and added that itâ€™s hard to know when the restrictions apply if you donâ€™t follow football.
The restrictions have operated from 9.30am to 9.30pm whenever a home match has taken place at the stadium since October 2021. The stadium opened in November 2020.
It costs Â£9.15 for a scratchcard visitor permit or Â£8.60 for a paperless visitor permit. The prices are lower for residents aged 70 and over and Blue Badge holders â€“ at Â£4.85 for a scratch card and Â£4.30 for a paperless permit.
A consultation on the restrictions was carried out earlier this year, with 48 per cent of the 736 respondents calling for the restrictions to be limited and 24pc saying they should be removed.
Conservative councillor Angela Graham said the restrictions add to familiesâ€™ stress as they face the cost-of-living crisis. Conservative councillor Daniel Hamilton added, â€œI used to live fairly close to the site and it is extremely noticeable that there are many plumbers, thereâ€™s many electricians, thereâ€™s many logistics firms that are based in the area and I can well understand the frustrations that they must feel about a number of these parking restrictions.â€
The committee approved officersâ€™ recommendations to keep the restrictions but to investigate options to reduce them in the future, with four councillors voting in favour and three abstentions.
Charlotte Lillywhite - - Local Democracy Reporter
November 5, 2022