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Council backflips on East Sydney parking meters

Parking meters are planned for East Sydney

Parking meters will be installed in East Sydney, local residents and business owners have been advised via a City of Sydney Council letterbox drop.

In an August 16 letter, locals were told parking meters would be introduced throughout the neighbourhood in response to community feedback.

“The City of Sydney received requests to review parking in your area, and last year presented you with a new parking proposal to review,” wrote Gary Flockton from City Operations.

“As a result of your feedback, the City of Sydney is recommending pay parking in some sections of East Sydney, with the exception of the Stanley St commercial strip.”

The area involved is bounded by College, William, Bourke and Oxford Streets, the letter said.

But local business figures say the plan will adversely affect trade, and contradicts a previous commitment by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Lawrence Gibbons, President the 2010 Darlinghurst/Surry Hills Business Partnership, said Ms Moore told locals just months ago that pay parking would not expand in East Sydney.

“On Saturday April 13, Lord Mayor Clover Moore told a community forum at Heffron Hall that parking meters were not on the agenda for East Sydney,” said Mr Gibbons, who is also publisher of this newspaper.

“According to Clover, some people thought parking meters were a fait accompli for the area, but she stressed that this was not true. Clover stated the City had listened to local businesses who did not want parking meters.”

Mr Gibbons said that in May, when the City’s draft parking policy was put on exhibition, local businesses were relieved to see parking meters were not included in the draft.

“In August, when we received letters saying parking meters were going to be rolled out throughout East Sydney on the basis that no one had objected when the [draft] was put on exhibition, we felt shocked and betrayed.

“How could we object to something we were told was not going to happen?” asked Mr Gibbons.

Local resident Sue Cameron, owner of East Sydney’s Lord Roberts Hotel, said she believed local businesses would suffer.

“Businesses are already doing it tough. If this goes ahead, people who pop into the area for a drink or a coffee or a meal will be discouraged from doing so,” said Ms Cameron.

She added that Council was overstating parking pressures in the area.

“And the parking pressures that do exist have been caused by Council ripping parking out for cycleways, bike parking and GoGet car sharing.”

Sue Ritchie, Vice-President of the 2010 Darlinghurst/Surry Hills Business Partnership, and co-owner of the nearby Beauchamp Hotel, agreed that parking meters would have an adverse commercial affect.

“The area is already suffering from having two Westfields at either end of Oxford St,” she said. “Westfield Bondi Junction has free parking for the first two hours … local businesses can’t compete.”

But a City of Sydney spokesperson insisted: “The changes respond to residents’ concerns as well as the needs of local businesses.

“Pay parking increases the turnover of spaces in areas of high demand, giving residents a better chance of finding a park … while ensuring new customers can reach local businesses.”

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