Concerned residents packed into a small meeting room as a Sutton Council committee chair was quizzed over a major, borough-wide parking consultation.

Officers were forced to control its capacity ahead of time by issuing free tickets while separate rooms were made available in case the public gallery became too full.

Cllr Manuel Abellan, chair of the council’s environment and neighbourhood committee, was fielded questions by fellow councillors at the scrutiny committee last night (February 6).

It comes as a borough-wide parking consultation, which has been criticised over its implementation since being launched, moves into the second of three phases.

Key issues

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Cllr Manuel Abellan

READ: Concerns raised over Sutton's major, borough-wide parking consultation

One of several key issues put to Cllr Abellan was the N1 ban, in which he was asked how he sees it working when the new strategy goes live.

The restriction was first enforced by the council in 2016, preventing drivers of certain vehicles to park inside certain controls if it’s not registered under their home address.

He said it “hasn’t been a big issue” in Sutton during the past few years, having denied 15 renewal permits, before adding: “I know there have been a lot of concerns in the St Helier area with this policy and we're looking closely at the impact that existing policy might have on residents there.

“I think it's just normal that, as you expand parking controls, you would look at the impact of certain policies and this is one we'll look at closely.”

Cllr Tom Drummond followed up by saying a resident, only know as Mike, told him he’d be forced to choose between his job and moving out of Sutton if the N1 was enforced where he lived.

Mr Abellan said: “He's not the only one that's raised concerns such as this one with me. Which is why we're taking this issue quite seriously and we're going too look at it in detail.

“That's one of the analyses we're going to make. If those are the consequences in some of the areas, potentially in the St Helier area, then of course we don't want people to lose their jobs or have to move out of Sutton.

“We need to look at the results of the consultation first, I think it'd be premature to take decisions before we look at the results.

“We need to see how many residents in consultation have raised that issue and we will be asking further questions to officers, and to residents, to analyse the impact and take the best decision.”

The environment and neighbourhood committee chair also insisted council officers will be using road-by-road street surveys as part of their analysis.

It’s hoped this will see the “percentage of spaces lost versus the way it is now and the way it will be potentially” when the strategy is launched.

He also insisted “common sense” will be used when implementing decisions over controlled parking zones (CPZs), particularly where responses are low.

READ: Second phase of Sutton's major parking consultation gets underway

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The packed meeting room at Sutton Council's civic offices

Finally, Cllr Sam Weatherlake asked as to whether residents could see a price hike in their parking permits.

Mr Abellan said: “The intention is to keep the permit charges as low as possible, as we have done for a number of years.

“We have one of the lowest fee charges in London and I think it's half of what our neighbours charge. We wouldn't want to hike up prices, I haven't had a single discussion with officers about moving into that territory.

He added that, if there is to be an increase “it’d be more in line with inflation” but the council “doesn’t intend to hit people with really expensive permits”.