Pounds handed out in protest of parking fee hike

SHOPPERS got an extra Christmas present when they drove into an Upton Park car park on Saturday.

Traders from Queen’s Market donned Santa hats and flagged down the first 25 motorists entering the car park on Selsdon Road and gave them a one pound coin each. A couple of shoppers even drove off believing the offer was too good to be true!

This generous gift, however, was to make up for the rise in fees introduced by the council last month that saw the price of parking double from �1 to �2. Prices also increased at other car parks around Newham and the cost of resident and business parking permits also went up.

Fruit and veg stall holder Neil Stockwell, who played Father Christmas on the day, said: “It’s a little Christmas gift to help towards the car park charges which doubled in November. As traders we don’t agree with these car parking increases.”

The protest was also backed by Friends of Queens Market. Co-ordinator Saif Osmani said: “This is the poorest borough in London where people have cars because they need them, not for fun. We call on Newham Council to show some goodwill and rescind these increases.”

A Newham Council spokesman said: “Changes to off-street and pay and display parking charges came in last month. Previously, they had remained at the same price since January 2007. We have worked hard to keep parking affordable for those who live, visit and work in Newham. Parking is still cheaper in Newham than in many other neighbouring boroughs.”