Whilst the free 30 minutes ‘Stop and Shop’ parking (1 hour at South Street) has not been abandoned at London Road and Thornbury Road shopping parades, Hounslow Council has begun to remove the pay and display machines that dispense the paper stickers.
Traders at Osterley Village on Thornbury Road, north of Great West Road first brought this to Osterley and Spring Grove Ward councillors’ attention when the signs began to go up late May 2022. Residents and traders around London Road followed suit and OWGRA also received correspondence.
Shoppers are now asked to record their arrival on a previously downloaded mobile phone app, including the free parking period. For the technology savvy, this would not be hard to do but our Ward does have a larger proportion of older residents, often carers, using their cars to reach local pharmacies, the launderette, supermarkets, Osterley Bookshop for a greeting card or stamps, the paper shop, Memories of India for a takeaway for example.
To an extent, one of our (retired) residents does agree with the new approach and wrote, “for the avoidance of doubt, I believe that the digital solution being adopted by the council makes sense for all except those who have less ability to access or use digital tech.”
Clarity on the new policy was sought from Mr Jefferson Nwokeoma, the chief officer whose department runs parking and were advised that a cashless system provides savings in machine maintenance and repair costs and secures the income received. Conscious that, for some, the cashless system remains a challenge, councillors were advised that officers would provide information and communicate to enable residents to adapt to this change.
Osterley and Spring Grove Ward councillors are seeking an equitable solution which understands the demographic and some of the unique services available in our area. The matter has been raised and discussed with council’s cabinet member for parking, Councillor Salman Shaheen. He has asked officers to identify and work with one or two parades traders who would be able to provide an alternative free ticketing option and will get back to us.