SHOPKEEPERS in Leyton say a council plan to boost businesses by offering 15 minutes of free parking in some streets does not go far enough.

The authority has said it wants to change the current system of buying vouchers for half-hour and one hour parking in the High Road area around Coronation Gardens in order to encourage motorists to shop locally.

But traders say 15 minutes is far too short a time.

Aruind Patel, owner of Coronation News in the High Road, is closing his convenience store this December after 23 years in business.

He said: "It is a good idea to offer free parking but 15 minutes is not enough. You need something like at least 30 minutes. It is difficult because people can go to ASDA and Tesco and park there for free.

"We're closing down because we just can't manage anymore with the high rents and rising business rates. We just don't get enough support from the authorities." Usman Bahar, of Carnival Cards and Gifts in the High Road, agreed.

He said: "I remember years ago there used to be free parking here, they should bring it back to how it was.

"Fifteen minutes is ridiculous. If you have children it takes at least that long to get them out of a car and get them ready.

"And if you came to our shop for the first time 15 minutes is not enough time to have a look around. I don't think it will help much at all."

Omowale Quow, of clothes, books and gifts shop Mama Africa, said: "It is not really sufficient. If the council are serious about doing something for local businesses they should allow free parking all the time.

"In other well-to-do areas you can park for free but not here."

But Waltham Forest Council says it has come up with the policy in association with the business community.

The authority also says it is responding to requests from traders and residents who want Controlled Parking Zones.

Waltham Forest Council's cabinet member for environment, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: "Providing free parking bays for short period will help boost our economy locally and encourage residents to visit their local shops.”

He added that the authority is looking at similar schemes in Chingford after traders requested a change in the parking system, with Station Road and Chingford Mount both being considered.

The council is currently waiting for the Department of Transport to agree on a format for the scheme's signs before it can go ahead.

The roads affected by the new scheme will be: High Road from Church Road to Ruckholt Road, Adelaide Road, Balmoral Road, Buckingham Road, Dunedin Road and Huxley Road.

They also affected include Lyttelton Road, Murchison Road, Osborne Road, St Mary's Road and Sedgewick Road, Sidmouth Road, Tyndall Road and Windsor Road.

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