Controlled hours slashed after string of complaints from residents and businesses
Plough Lane Stadium entrance
March 7, 2023
Parking restrictions dubbed a 'nightmare' for residents and businesses near the AFC Wimbledon stadium have been slashed after a significant number of complaints. The restrictions mean visitors have to pay up to Â£9.15 to park on streets surrounding Plough Lane stadium during home football matches.
Wandsworth Councilâ€™s finance committee agreed to reduce the hours when the restrictions apply at a meeting on 1 March â€“ reducing the controls from 9.30am to 9.30pm, to 1pm to 8.30pm on the days that AFC Wimbledon holds home matches or events.
But Conservative councillor Peter Graham said the transport committee had previously expressed a desire for the restrictions to be dropped on Boxing Day last year and that did not happen.
Nick Oâ€™Donnell, assistant director of traffic and engineering at the council, said, 'It went under consideration with officers. There are quite a number of difficulties in making that change and, at the time, we wanted a bit more time to review the operation of the event zone and the intention is that we will look to bring that potentially into operation this time around, come this Christmas.'
Councillor Graham said it was 'slightly unfortunate for those that had to pay for their family to visit, or family that had to pay to visit others, this time around but at least it may be in place next time'.
Councillor Graham asked if more signs could be put up to warn drivers of the restrictions. He said, 'You only really need four to cover off all the main entry points to the zone and for businesses on Garratt Lane, in particular, theyâ€™ve got visitors there who want to come and use the shops, cafÃ©s and all the rest of it and itâ€™s actually putting off some of their customers because they donâ€™t know'.
Mr Oâ€™Donnell said the cost of the four signs would be 'relatively minimal' and officers could explore the idea. He added, 'The signage and information is a core part of what weâ€™ve picked up in the report and that has been a key point of feedback â€“ something we do want to continue to work on and improve.'
The restrictions were introduced in October 2021, after the football stadium was built, to prevent football fans overwhelming the area during matches. They limit parking to resident, business or visitor permit holders and non-permit holders can only stay for a maximum of one hour.
Residents must buy a permit for their visitors if they stay longer than the one hour allowed at the pay and display machines, which costs Â£9.15 for a scratchcard permit and Â£8.60 for a paperless permit. Discounted permits are available for residents aged 70 years or over and for Blue Badge holders.
Local resident Jo Lewis told the transport committee at a meeting last November the controls are 'not wanted, not needed and theyâ€™re making everyoneâ€™s lives a nightmare'.
She said, 'Vulnerable people are finding their lives are made more complicated by these restrictions. Lonely 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.'
A consultation earlier last year revealed that while 73% of respondents wanted to keep restrictions on match days, 48% wanted them to be reduced. Officers investigated options to cut the restrictions after the transport committee in November and the latest changes have now been approved by the finance committee.
The restrictions apply on days when AFC Wimbledonâ€™s 1st team has a home match, which is roughly 23 to 25 times during the football season.
Charlotte Lillywhite - Local Democracy Reporter
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