Traders say fines given out around AFC Wimbledon's stadium are losing them customers
Tina Henderson from Lark on Garratt Lane
Frustrated traders near Plough Lane are facing hefty fines and fear losing customers over controversial parking restrictions for a new football stadium next door.
Between 9.30am to 9.30pm on match days, visitors must pay to park on streets surrounding AFC Wimbledonâ€™s stadium. Drivers slapped with parking tickets face fines of up to Â£110 â€“ slashed to Â£55 if paid in 14 days.
The restrictions aim to stop football fans overwhelming the area, but Earlsfield locals say most stadium-goers use public transport and that theyâ€™re bearing the brunt of the restrictions instead.
Businesses on Garratt Lane feel â€œpunishedâ€ and told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the rules are confusing but heavily enforced, leaving unwitting customers with fines.
Mr Sherwani, who owns Quality Cleaners on Garratt Lane and did not wish to give his first name, makes deliveries to prevent customers being fined and not returning. The 65-year-old explained he canâ€™t afford a business permit and is forking out Â£55 after being fined for briefly parking outside his business without a ticket last week.
He said, â€œSometimes I deliver to [customers], I offer them services â€“ what can I do? I have to run a businessâ€¦ if they get a Â£55 ticket, whatâ€™s the point of spending Â£20, Â£30 with me?â€ He added, â€œThey will probably stop coming in.â€
Mr Sherwani from Quality Cleaner on Garratt Lane
He continued, â€œOn event days itâ€™s getting really hard for a lot of people you see, itâ€™s difficult, sometimes you donâ€™t know itâ€™s an event day.â€
Chloe Garvey, 22, said she has been fined up to roughly Â£400 since starting at charity Fara on Garratt Lane in February â€“ largely due to confusion about when the restrictions apply. She said the paper signs â€œfly off and people will park and not realiseâ€.
Ms Garvey, from Mitcham, said: â€œEspecially people that donâ€™t live round here who donâ€™t know the area at all, theyâ€™re just passing through. I think it is a bit ridiculous, mainly for us people who work here and donâ€™t have business permits.â€
She added, â€œPeople get tickets outside from just coming in here for five minutes, talking to us and dropping off their donationsâ€¦ theyâ€™ll say to us next time they come in and quickly drop off [donations], â€˜Iâ€™m really sorry but last time I got a ticket.'â€
Local Tina Henderson, who manages Lark on Garratt Lane, said the restrictions had left a â€œbitter tasteâ€ for residents and businesses who rely on street parking as thereâ€™s no nearby car park. She said customers get parking tickets on match days so â€œthey get burnt fingers and they wonâ€™t come backâ€, adding that â€œresidents are just really fed up with itâ€.
Ms Henderson said, â€œWe want to create local business because thatâ€™s what people want, but then on the other hand the council are going: â€˜No you canâ€™t do that, you canâ€™t park there, you canâ€™t do this.â€™ They really are punishing us and I think the only reason is because itâ€™s a really good money-spinner, the income.â€
She added: â€œMost of the signs that have been put up have been ripped down anyway so thereâ€™s no real permanent information and yet thereâ€™s no thought, thereâ€™s no process, which is a shame.â€
Traffic on Garratt Lane on 7 November
A consultation earlier this year revealed 48per cent of 736 respondents wanted the restrictions to be limited â€“ 24pc said they should be removed.
Resident Jo Lewis told the councilâ€™s transport committee on November 3 parking on match days â€œbecomes a nightmareâ€. She said: â€œCustomers find it less attractive to visit the wide array of shops on offer on Garratt Lane when matches are on because it becomes impossible to park, house visits between friends becomes a headache, childrenâ€™s tea parties after school impossible.â€
The committee voted to keep the restrictions but to investigate options to limit them in future.
A Wandsworth Council spokesperson said: â€œThese controls were introduced in October 2021 following consultation with all residents and businesses in the area and are designed to protect local peopleâ€™s and businessesâ€™ parking spaces from an influx of football fans on match days.
â€œThe controls are in place only when AFC Wimbledon play at home and to assist residents and businesses. The council has created a specific webpage with details of all their home fixtures along with a link to a digital calendar website which allows this information to be downloaded to mobile devices and tablets.
â€œFollowing a fresh round of public consultation, we are now considering options to reduce the hours of operation on match days and will come forward with some recommendations in the new year.â€
Charlotte Lillywhite - - Local Democracy Reporter
November 15, 2022