One of our supporters has provided the following account of an election walkabout by Boris Johnson in Golders Green. Inevitably, the Mayor had to field complaints about parking. The visit has also proved controversial because of an allegation that Brian Coleman mis-used his Barnet Council free parking permit in order to avoid parking charges on Golders Green Road.
"Coleman factor spoils Boris's Golders Green walkabout
Shopkeepers in Golders Green complained forcefully about Brian Coleman's parking fiasco when Mayoral Candidate Boris Johnson visited on Sunday.
Boris's walkabout in Golders Green Road made slow progress with traders coming out of their shops to challenge him to disown Cllr Coleman's parking policy, which they say is killing local shops.
Warren Gold, owner of Gold's Menswear, said three or four of his customers were getting penalty tickets every day because the pay by phone system was not understood. He pointed out ten empty shop units to Mr Johnson.
As two more shopkeepers approached Mr Johnson he put his hands up and said: "Don't tell me - parking? "Traders are angry at the increase from £300 to £525 for a business parking permit and the removal of coin parking meters for shoppers parking.
The Mayor said he would hold a review of non-residential parking on TfL roads. But this is only 5 per cent of London's roads, and he ignored questions about residents' parking permits in Barnet which have gone up from £40 to £105."
The visit has also proved controversial because of an allegation that Brian Coleman mis-used his Barnet Council free parking permit in order to avoid parking charges on Golders Green Road
Our supporter who was there on the day had in fact already alerted us to the use by Councillor Coleman of his Barnet parking permit on this visit. We asked for Councillor Coleman's response three days ago. Sadly, our request for clarification has been ignored.
So what is Brian Coleman's explanation? Well, he has said to the local press that he was in the area visiting constituents under his role as a councillor. However, Councillor Coleman represents Totteridge but was parked on Golders Green Road. Video footage of Boris Johnson's visit also shows him being accompanied by Brian Coleman. We keep an open mind but think further explanation is required.
We understand that an investigation into this claim is underway, so hopefully the facts will soon be established.
You can read more about Boris's Golders Green walkabout on the Barnet Bugle website.
Hersh Gorman, who runs the Jerusalem the Golden religious artifacts shop, said:
"Brian Coleman is bad for business, he should be taken in chains to Siberia. Come here on a weekday and the shops are empty."
Mr Gorman told Boris Johnson: "Mr Coleman is trying to raise as much money as possible in revenue at the expense of shopkeepers. I thought it was about congestion, not revenue."
Perhaps unwisely, the London Mayor replied: "You're totally right, it's being used as a tax - yes, it's a tax."