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London mums forced to pay crippling fees to receive visitors

London Barnet CPZ Facts by Dino

How much should Grandma have to pay to come help out with your new baby? What percentage of your maternity pay could you afford to shell out just to be allowed visitors?

In one London borough, families with young children are threatened with having to pay crippling fees just to receive visitors. Barnet’s visitor parking vouchers are set to increase by 400%, rising to £4 per voucher – regardless of whether your visitor stays for 10 minutes or the whole day, whether it’s 11 am or 6 pm, or even a Saturday.

What does this mean for families?

  • Hosting an NCT Tea for new parents could cost mums in Barnet a third of that week’s maternity pay
  • A car-less family would have to pay £1040 every year to receive just one visitor (or plumber, or family member, or carer…) a day. That’s the equivalent of about 20% of statutory maternity pay.
  • Hosting a birthday party for your baby with 20 of your closest friends and family would cost £80 in parking vouchers. That’s right – it would be cheaper to hire a hall than to host a party at your own house.
  • Working mums needing at-home childcare will see a 650% increase in the cost of a temporary permit for their childcare provider.
  • A friend stopping in for twenty minutes with second-hand clothes for your new baby will cost you £4.
  • Many of the residents affected are single income families with young children, or pensioners.
  • Only 20% of residents will have to pay, but 100% of residents will benefit.
  • About 5% of residents (those who have no alternatives such as off-street parking) will be forced to pay the lion’s share.

UPDATE 15 FEB 2011

The proposed changes have sparked a legal challenge led by solicitor and local resident David Attfield, on the basis that they are discriminatory and disproportionate, not to mention based on incorrect information and mismanagement.

This statement from the residents’ legal challenge sums it up nicely: “This is a hugely disproportionate burden to place on a tiny minority of residents, who in effect will be subsidising roads across the whole borough“. The document goes on to describe abuse of power and violations of human rights. We imagine it makes for very uncomfortable reading for local government, and we’re not suprised the story has now spread across twitter, the blogosphere and London media:

* BBC London News, 16 Feb 2011 (tomorrow) – Breakfast / Lunchtime news *

Huge rise in parking fees sparks legal fight.
Evening Standard, 15 Feb 2011
A legal challenge is being planned by residents who are furious at suffering London’s highest parking charges. Read article…

“We never knowingly undercharge”, boasts Barnet council parking chief.
, 15 Feb 2011
A senior councillor in a London borough stunned motorists by telling them the council’s parking policy was to “never knowingly undercharge”.
Read the article…

Barnet Council Budget Meeting: Bunfight at the KO Coral
Barnet Eye, 14 Feb 2011
An excellent blog post about last night’s budget meeting discussing (among other issues) the CPZ rises.  Read full article…

Barnet, Parking and Brian Coleman – Get the Facts
Dino 2.0, 11 Feb 2011
Another excellent post, describing the history of the CPZ issues and discussing its crippling effect on our community. Feel free to grab Dino’s humourous but appalling infographic to use on your own website or promote on Twitter (we did – thanks Dino!).
Read the article…

East Finchley residents send letter to cabinet members threatening judicial review of parking charges.
Times Series, 10 Feb 2011
A GROUP of angry residents in East Finchley have written to Barnet councillors threatening an expensive legal battle if huge increases in parking charges are approved next week.
Read article…

On behalf of Barnet families, we’d also like to publicly thank Everything London (@LDN), guardian writer Jemima Kiss (@jemimakiss), “thinker/maker/doer” Katy Beale @katybeale), childcare experts (@childcareUK), Cybermummy founder Sian To (@mummytips) and LDS Tourism Services (@LDSTS) for helping us share this story with over 100,000 people on Twitter in just one day.

Got time to leave a comment? Tell us what you think…

Written by Janis P.


  1. Barnet council are meeting on Monday (14th) in Hendon to decide the fate of this plan (or just rubber-stamp it). Not sure the exact time but it’s in the evening, around 8pm. There’s a bunch of people heading over to show what we think of the plans. Feel free to come/send someone along if you’re in the area or affected.

    Great article though! Fingers crossed it makes a difference.

  2. You are right to highlight the impact on young families and the elderly. This really is a case of the few (i.e. residents in Barnet’s CPZs) paying for the many.

    IAlso its a tribute to the people affected that they are campaiging not only with determination but with good humour.

    If you care about the hike in charges, please attend Barnet’s Cabinet meeting on 14 Feb at Hendon Town Hall. Time is 7pm (not 8pm as stated in the previous post).

  3. I just went onine to order more vouchers and thought there was an error as they are now £4 each and minimum purchase is a book of 12 making it £48!!! I cannot believe that they are able to get away with this.

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