Twenty minutes of free parking may not return yet
The re-introduction of 20 minutes of free parking in parts of Wimbledon may not happen until at least September, it has been revealed.
The reprieve for Wimbledon Village and Wimbledon Park's Arthur Road parade was agreed at the recent budget-setting meeting of Merton borough council.
The free parking limit in some parts of Merton has been cut from 20 minutes to 10 minutes, as part of cost-saving measures.
But it was agreed to return to 20 minutes of free parking in Wimbledon Village and the Arthur Road parade in order to support local businesses.
However, at a recent full council meeting, it was revealed that implementation is likely to be delayed until September or October.
Following a written question by Liberal Democrat leader Iain Dysart, it was stated that the council's legal officer says the necessary consultation process cannot happen during the election period.
There is also an Olympic-emposed embargo on any street works in the Wimbledon Village area from March 1 until September.
The council said this could prohibit the erection of notices for the consultation, changing the signs and even making changes to the machines. This might mean it could not be implemented until September or October.
However, the council is hoping to bring it forward, subject to discussion with LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games).
But Wimbledon Park Councillor Oonagh Moulton said: "The hypocrisy of Labour is unbelievable. They did not consult properly prior to their initial decision to reduce free parking in our Arthur Road shop parade.
"They have ignored the petitions and letters of residents, businesses and local councillors in their pleas to stop this damaging decision. Now, given the opportunity to reverse it, they have kicked it into touch.''
Linda Taylor, a local shopper and Conservative candidate for Wimbledon Park Ward, added: ''High Street businesses continue to struggle yet the council continues to delay reversing a policy that would help them and our residents - the provision of 20 minute free parking.''
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April 2, 2012