Hackney protester to remove People’s Parking Bay after driver complains

A Hackney parking space which was transformed into a mini garden to allow passers-by to relax is to be removed after a driver complained.

The People Parking Bay in London Fields, which comes complete with plant pots, garden furniture and a fake lawn, has been huge hit among locals over the last month and is on its fourth visitor’s book.

It was created by Brenda Puech after Hackney Council told her she could only use a parking permit for a car.

The 54-year-old, who campaigns for walking charity Living Streets, said she felt that even if she didn’t have a car she should still be allowed access to a parking space.


The parking bay has been a huge hit in the last month (Brenda Puech)

She told the Standard: “Along with most Hackney residents I don’t have a car myself, and would like to see streets being used for more than just storage of private cars.

“When I make this point, people always say to me, but what on earth would you do with the space?

“So I decided to show what could potentially be done with the space and set up a People Parking Bay in a car parking bay outside my home with an invitation for everyone to use it to park themselves.”

The space, which was opened by GLA Assembly Member Caroline Russell, has even played host to a couple’s first date, with a pair writing in the visitor’s book: “This is the best first date spot in London”.

However last month Hackney Council gave Ms Puech a week to remove the items, saying it does not allocate parking spaces to individuals.


The future of the People Parking Bay is hanging in the balance (Brenda Puech)

The council served notice on June 16 for it to be removed by June 23 but the removal has been temporarily averted with the threat of legal action by Ms Puech.

In the meantime a petition calling for the parking bay to remain has attracted over 700 signatures.

Ms Puech added: “Of course I am saying that any non-car-use of a bay should be regulated by the council, and currently my request is for a pilot programme to have a People Parking Bay on every street that wants to apply for it.

“This should not cost the taxpayer any money, as people join up and pay for a bay and the mini-garden in it, and other than oversight the council does not need to put taxpayers money into it.”

“I feel if people had to do it themselves it would be better valued and maintained. As I always say – test it out in a few streets. If it does not work, at least it’s been tried.

“It’s been a huge success with the local community in London Fields.”


Hackney Council has called for the items in the parking bay to be removed, saying it doesn’t allocate parking spaces to individuals (Brenda Puech)

A Hackney Council spokesperson said: “While we support the aims of the Living Streets campaign, Hackney Council does not allocate parking spaces to individuals, with parking permits giving residents or their visitors the right to park in a space in a parking zone.

“Where there is oversupply of parking we will happily look to see if the is a better use for precious public space, but believe that it’s best to make sure that the views of all local residents and businesses are taken into account when deciding how to use our streets.”

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Source : http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/hackney-protester-to-remove-peoples-parking-bay-after-driver-complains-a3578721.html