A lot of people have been badly affected by the parking scheme the Council has imposed. For many, it has caused quiet desperation. Here are just a few of their stories.
Philippa Turner, who lives in Zone JJ, is one of those suffering.
She has a partner who lives in Folkestone. He comes to Shepherds Bush at weekends and sometimes during the week to be with her. But the new parking charges are suddenly making this difficult. “It has become very expensive to park here”, says Philippa. “He’s retired and like the rest of us, doesn’t have that much money. He got a parking ticket on the first weekend of the scheme. He doesn’t know what to do. It’s a real worry."
Helena Hutchinson lives at the top of Loftus Road in Zone J.
She has a young baby. "Parking has never been easy", she says, "but now its much worse." On occasions, since the new scheme was introduced, with her baby crying in the back seat and nowhere to park, she has had to ask neighbours if they could move their cars, to let her do so. "What the Council has done", she says, " is ridiculous."
Another woman, with two young children, is in even greater trouble.
She lives in Zone JJ but cannot be identified because she is fleeing an abusive partner. She came to Shepherds Bush to start a new life. With a good job in Westfield, she was succeeding. But now the Council has put all this at risk. She is dependent on help from her parents, who live just outside London. They have been coming, as often as they can, to help with her children after school and at weekends. But neither they, nor their daughter, can afford the new parking charges. “They're beginning to feel they cannot come here anymore", she says. "We're all very worried about it. We really don't know what we're going to do".
Many elderly people are also suffering.
Nobody knows this better than Margaret Carolan who lives in Abdale Road, part of Zone JJ. She lives just a few doors away from her parents, who moved to Shepherds Bush over 60 years ago and brought up six children here. Mary and Kevin Carolan are in their 80s and now both unwell. They need help and support from their children. While Margaret lives close by the others have all moved away – but they still look upon Shepherds Bush as home and have all been coming back to help care for their parents.
“Until the new parking scheme,” says Margaret, “it worked well. My parents got all the help they needed and saw a lot of their children and grandchildren particularly in the evenings and at weekends.” Now it is much more difficult. Family members are forced to watch the clock and limit their visits. "My mother is really upset about it”, says Margaret Carolan. “She is frightened at how much people are having to pay to visit her and worried about it.”
What has happened infuriates the Carolan family. “It is really sad and distressing”, says Margaret. "We all grew up here. This is our home and we want to care for our parents properly – but the Council has made it much more difficult for us.”
It is not just residents who have been hit.
Naomi Flynn is an assistant radiologist in the NHS. She and her mother Marjorie, a nurse, have been coming to the Church of God in Loftus Road for 20 years. Naomi gives her mother a lift to the Church on Sunday mornings. In January, it led to her getting a parking ticket. “It was a £65 fine for going to Church”, she says. Naomi often turns up on weekday evenings to help the Church’s youth work. But for how much longer? “The new parking rules are making it very hard”, she says. “None of us can afford to pay these new charges. If it goes on like this, we will just have to give up”. Her mother shares her concern. “We invited someone to the Church a few weeks ago”, she says, “and he got a parking fine. We’re now frightened to invite people here on Sunday mornings.”
(The Council says the new parking hours are necessary to protect residents from Westfield shoppers. Westfield is not open on a Sunday morning.)
Someone else in trouble is Ojesh Singh.
Known to everybody as OJ, he runs the popular Nepalese restaurant in the Uxbridge Road. The new scheme has hit him badly. Three of his staff, facing difficult journeys home after midnight, need to drive to work. “Our staff can’t afford to pay the new charges,” he says, “so the restaurant pays them. It is costing us hundreds of pounds.” Since the new charges were introduced, group bookings are down, as are the number of take away orders. “We’re a small business”, says OJ. “We don’t make a big profit. What is being done to us, is awful.”
Lisa Attridge, from Bloemfontein Avenue, is another of the many residents suffering because of the new scheme.
"Parking has become so much more difficult", she says. "It is increasingly difficult, sometimes impossible to park in my road. I feel so much worse off." She sees the new scheme as a 'money earner' for the council – not a benefit for residents. "It would be a complete shame if we get stuck with this current parking shambles", she says.
Mrs. MacDonald, of Godolphin Road, is yet another of those harmed by what has happened.
"I am horrified by the new parking restrictions", she says, my friends and my aging parents who want to visit me now have to pay a small fortune to do so. It is putting them off visiting me and my son. As a single mother I need their support".
These are just a handful of stories, out of many. The new scheme is causing real harm, to countless local people.
It makes the background story of what the Council did, before it introduced the new scheme, even more disturbing.