Protesters threaten court action over East End parking charges up 658pc
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 March 2016
Angry protesters are planning to take their social landlords to court over parking charges being whacked up by 658 per cent on housing estates in London's deprived East End.
They handed a petition with 3,000 names to Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs during a noisy demonstration outside the Town Hall condemning Poplar Harca housing organisation which manages 5,000 properties.
The Mayor came out of the building to meet the demonstrators and accept the petition minutes before the council itself debated a resolution attacking Poplar Harca on Wednesday night.
It was the second of two days of protests, the first when they besieged Harca’s board meeting 24 hours before, over the charges shooting up from £2 a week to £7 for tenants and £15 for leaseholders.
School-teacher Liz Maitland from Poplar’s Teviot Estate, one of hundreds of residents who turned up to the Town Hall demo, said: “We pay £110 a year just for a space outside our home—now they want £784.
“We didn’t have to pay to park in the street When I moved in my house in 1995.
“But the council transferred our street to Poplar Harca when it handed over the estates. Now I can’t afford to park outside my house.”
The petition urges the Mayor to intervene. He was cheered when he told the demonstrators he would challenge the housing organisation over its “lack of transparency and consultation”.
Mayor Biggs plans to hold talks with Poplar Harca in a bid to stop the hike.
But the families are also taking legal action if he fails.
Campaign organiser Doros Ulla told the East London Advertiser: “I hope the Mayor can pull it off—but we are seeking legal action.
“We’ll take Poplar Harca to the High Court over these unlawful charges.
“It’s based on case law when tenants sued Brent Council in 2013 when it tried hiking charges in parking zones—judges ruled under 1984 Traffic Regulations that they couldn’t raise money for parking to fund other things and forced them to repay motorists.”
The mayor accused Poplar Harca of using car owners to fill a gap in reduced government housing subsidy.
He is planning talks with the housing organisation in a bid to halt the parking fee increases after accepting the protesters’ petition.