Frustrated residents packed into a school hall to hear the latest on Sutton’s controversial parking consultation.

Residents took their chance to grill the council on the plans in public question time on Monday night.

Interest in the meeting ran so high that 120 tickets were made available on a first come first served basis.

Last year, more than 5,000 people responded to consultation of the phase 1 area, which included St Helier, The Wrythe & Wandle Valley and Sutton Local areas, parts of Carshalton Central,

Sutton South and Belmont and Wallington North.

The consultation – centred on residents’ views on parking and congestion – has now moved on to residents in the south and southwest of Sutton, in Belmont, south Carshalton and Cheam.

How much is the council spending?

First up to quiz the council on the consultation at Monday night’s full council meeting was Fiona Lumsden.

She wanted to know how much would be spent on the project and where the money would go if the council did not follow through.

Chair of the environment and neighbourhood committee Councillor Manuel Abellan said that a capital budget of £2.2 million had been earmarked which covers consultation, officer resources and Traffic Management Orders – a legal document that requests feedback from the public on proposed local traffic rules.

But when pressed whether there would be any priority of how the money would be spent he had no answer, simply saying it would be brought back to the council and assigned in the way ‘we normally do it’.

But Councillor Neil Garrett, from the Conservative opposition, was concerned the council will feel it has to follow through.

He said: “If you’ve committed £2 million to this project, and I am sensing that the public isn’t in favour of it, could you feel that you have to follow through to justify what you’ve spent?”

But Cllr Abellan hit back insisting that the council is working with residents on the consultation.

“We don’t think that it is a waste of money. There are a lot of residents who have been asking for this for many years,” he said.

‘Are the statistics right?’

To applause from the packed public gallery resident Bill Plummer asked whether council stats can be trusted.

He wanted to know more about a statistic used by Sutton Council in the CPZ consultation, namely that Sutton has the fourth highest levels of car ownership in London.

Mr Plummer claims that the true statistic from Transport for London was for the amount of adults with access to cars.

He said: “In the TfL survey that you refer to, they put it as the percentage of adults with access to cars.

“The Department for Transport shows us in 13th place [for car ownership].

“The point I’m making is that you’ve been singing this song since the scheme was launched.

“It is misleading people and it makes us wonder whether data you’ve given us we can believe.”

But Cllr Abellan responded that he could not comment on a paper that he had not read but said he would read it and the council website would be corrected if the information was wrong.