A HIGHLY-CONTROVERSIAL parking scheme could be going against council policy.

Discontent in Wanstead has been building since November when Redbridge Council’s plans to introduce pay and display parking in the high street and parking permits in most residential roads were revealed. 

The plans are being rolled out under an experimental traffic order, which means the council does not have to consult residents beforehand.

But campaigners desperate to get the scheme scrapped have unearthed sections of Redbridge’s own parking strategy that could mean it is unconstitutional.

The Redbridge Parking Strategy 2015-2020 claims to “provide a fair and consistent approach to the way we manage parking, while sustaining long term economic, social, and environmental well-being for everyone.”

The document states that if parking changes do not require statutory consultation, local councillors still need to be consulted before they go ahead.

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Snaresbrook Cllr Suzanne Nolan claims she and her colleagues were not given any opportunity to provide feedback on the scheme.

She said: “All we got was an email telling us about it in late November.

“As local councillors we should have been consulted, but instead this is going through the back door by stealth.

“I don’t care how they want to dress it up, this is about them making money – nothing else.”

A petition started by Art Trail Wanstead founder and long-standing resident Donna Mizzi was submitted with over 2,200 signatures on January 9, which means it will now be presented to all councillors at their meeting on January 19.

Ms Mizzi, who has lived in Rectory Crescent for 25 years, said: “What they are doing is contradicting their own parking strategy.

“They want to cover nearly all of Wanstead in parking permits and it’s for one reason, and one reason only – to catch people out and make money by fining them.

“Our high street is the beating heart of the area, and these damaging proposals are going to ruin that as well.”

Ms Mizzi and her fellow campaigners have also consulted a highways expert on the parking sign poles that were first spotted going up in Overton Drive in the first week of January.

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Photo: Maya Anaokar

He said: “To have access to such a large number of poles [800], the council must have ordered them many months ago, before ward councillors knew about the scheme.

“This means the claim they were consulted is untrue, and they have deliberately been kept in the dark so they didn’t voice any opposition.”

A Redbridge Council spokesman said it “had begun to erect poles so changes to parking could be introduced in the next few weeks”.

But they said: “However, we have temporarily stopped this work to enable us to consider further feedback about the scheme before its implementation.”

They also denied claims its actions are unconstitutional and said it has “followed all proper procedure throughout the process”. 

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Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer broke his silence on the controversy, imploring the council to let his constituents have their say.

He said: “I will continue to bring pressure to bear on the council on this issue.

“People should have a say when the council is looking at introducing such a profound change.”

Mr Cryer also confirmed he will not be attending Friday’s (January 13) public meeting on the scheme, but urged people to contact him with their views.

Cabinet member for environment and sustainability Cllr John Howard has said he will not attend over concerns it will be a “political meeting”.

It will take place at Wanstead Scout Hut in Hollybush Hill at 7pm.