The owners of a long-standing car service company say expensive parking permits are crippling their business and others across the area.
Stella and Spyros Spyrou have run Clichy Car Services in North Finchley for three decades, providing repairs, MOTs, and servicing to their customers.
Given the nature of their business, it is essential that they have three or four permits which can be used to park their customers’ cars directly outside the workshop.
Up until a few days ago, the Spyrous had a concession meaning they paid around £500 per “any reg” business permit. However the concession has now been revoked, with no explanation, meaning the price has soared to £840.
“It’s a huge amount of money per permit. We are not a big business – we are just trying to make a living. It’s a daily struggle. These costs are strangling the life out of our livelihood,” said Mrs Spyrou.
“We have to be able to accommodate our customers on the road – the permits are integral to what we do.
“The council doesn’t do anything to help small local businesses – they are destroying the area. Who knows what the future holds for us. Businesses here are folding every day.”
Unsurprisingly customers are reluctant to pay for parking on top of the cost of their vehicle service, meaning the extra expense will have to be absorbed entirely by the business.
Mrs Spyrou asked: “We would have to starting charging customers for parking - how can we put that on our bill?
“Our customers say parking in the area costs too much.”
As well as now facing a £2,400 a year bill just to park their customers’ vehicles outside their garage, the Spyrous have also been plagued by incorrectly issued parking tickets over the years, racking up fines totalling thousands of pounds.
Mrs Spyrou added: “We were literally getting about four fines a day for three years.”
Councillor Dean Cohen, chairman of the council's environment committee, said: “The rate for an ‘any registration’ business permit is £840 per year, this is the same for all businesses in Barnet.
“We will look into this and will be in touch with the business shortly.
“Any penalty notices issued in error can be appealed and if found to have been incorrectly issued these will be cancelled.”