A VICTORY was claimed by campaigners against controversial pay and display proposals last night (July 18) when the cabinet member for highways rejected the plans.

Around 350 residents cheered when cabinet member for highways, Cllr Michelle Dunn, and other Area One Committee councillors unanimously rejected the plans for High Street, Wanstead, at a meeting at Wanstead Church School, in Church Path.

The decision came after lengthy and heated debates on the issue, which was proposed by Cllr Dunn’s department.

The proposals would replace the road’s 9.30am to 10.30am parking restriction with 7am to 7pm parking charges enforced seven days a week, and a cabinet decision is due on their introduction in autumn.

Residents and traders fear the proposals would kill off high street business by pushing shoppers to supermarkets with free parking and the new Westfields shopping centre being built in Stratford.

Michael Powis, 70, of Grosvenor Road, who organised the campaigns against the restrictions, said: “It’s a brilliant result. What came out of there was people power and the sense of community that Wanstead has.”

The meeting revealed the results of a shopkeeper consultation on pay and display. Although only 37 per cent of questionnaires were returned, 68 were against the plans compared to just five in favour.

People spoke of the need to preserve Wanstead’s history and accused the council of being motivated by the financial benefits pay and display would bring, though the council says it will prevent Olympics traffic from clogging up the streets.

The expansion of parking charges borough-wide is estimated to bring £500,000 in 2012/13, when it would become fully in-place, and £1.25m over a full year.

Jonathan Sheryl, of Spratt Hall Road, said: ”What will they use the money for? They will use that money for employing more wardens and more schemes in other areas.”

Cllr Peter Goody added: “The proposal was overwhelmingly opposed. The solution is quite simple: kill it, kill it now.”

Cllr Dunn promised to protect High Street from the proposals at the autumn cabinet meeting and said: “I have fought quite a few battles behind closed doors and I will certainly make sure that I win this one.”

Click here to follow the Wanstead and Woodford Guardian on Twitter